Guidelines For Over-Achievers: Defining What ‘Extra Credit’ Looks Like For A Training Cyclist
Cycling, and Endurance Sport as a whole, is filled with “over-achievers”.
Although this may not come as a surprise, it might never have occurred to you that by reading training articles from professional coaches or scouring the internet for updates on products in an effort to ride faster, stronger, or longer might make YOU an over-achiever.
But what does “over-achieving” mean for the busy Athlete trying to balance family, work, and all the other things that fill our fast-paced lives?
Does it simply mean doing more or going harder on every ride?
In one word, NO, but let us elaborate.
f you have ever been so exhausted you could hardly pedal, that makes you an over-achiever in our book!Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com
At Wikipedia they characterize “overachievers” like this:
“Individuals who perform better or achieve more success than expected.”
The website goes further to state,
“The implicit presumption is that an "overachiever" is achieving superior results through excessive effort.”
To explore this idea of “extra effort” and help make this training investment as purposeful as possible, we compiled the following guidelines for cycling’s over-achievers to help you perform better in all aspects of your riding.
Over-Achieving On An Interval Workout
With training methodology shifting to encompass more and more High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) protocols, the over-achiever could be forgiven for thinking that if some intervals are good, more must be better!
In fact, a greater quantity of intervals is not usually better.
Most high-performing cyclists are better served by adding more effort, be it wattage or heart-rate to their diet of intensity work.
That is to say that if 8min. Climbing Repeats are prescribed, doing them at a higher wattage target is more appropriate and beneficial than adding an extra interval or making them 2min. longer.
For High-Intensity efforts (anything above threshold) think of more power, not more duration being the right way to score some extra credit.
However, once power diminishes and you can’t sustain the required output for the prescribed effort, it’s time to “pull the plug” and end the workout.
Also, it should be said that this wisdom applies almost entirely to threshold and harder efforts.
When performing sub-threshold work, “over-achieving” takes on a different look. See the next topic…
Overachieving on an endurance ride is best done by adding duration, not intensity to the workout, just as the rider above did. Note: Read the last line of the workout description!
Over-Achieving On An Endurance Workout
As stated above, “over-achieving” on an endurance workout or sub-threshold day should not look the same as doing so on an interval day.
If you have the ‘legs’ and the drive to over-achieve on an endurance ride, don’t ride harder. Instead, ride longer within the parameters prescribed.
This is because there are specific physical adaptations that endurance workouts target. And these aerobic and neuro-muscular developments require disciplined-pacing and restraint to acquire.
Basically, riding harder on an endurance day in the name of ‘over-achieving” is counter-productive.
By riding longer and maintaining the narrow pacing-targets of a proper endurance ride your body will reward you with a greater training adaptation than simply training ‘harder’.
This is an example of a well executed Recovery Ride, this Athlete hit nearly every workout target perfectly, but most importantly, they kept the effort ridiculously light!
Over-Achieving On A Recovery Day
Active Recovery or ‘easy spins’ are arguably the most misunderstood workout for Endurance Athletes.
Although it can seem that anything lighter than a HIIT routine can be termed ‘recovery’, that is not the case.
Being the best Endurance Athlete requires development of a full-range of skills, tools, and elements of fitness, one of which is performing restorative ‘workouts’ such as an easy-spin.
To appropriately “over-achieve” on a Recovery Ride, we emphasize doing the least amount of work necessary to remove built-up lactic acid and fatigue from your legs.
That is to say that “over-achieving” on a recovery day is doing less.
More than just less, we suggest doing the absolute minimum.
The caveat here is that when output is reduced sufficiently, duration can remain intact or even increase.
By that we mean a 60-90min. Recovery Ride, sometimes even 2hrs., is possible but only if the intensity is absolutely minimal.
We recommend using the TrainingPeaks metric, Intensity Factor, as your guide for knowing how much work is too much.
By keep this value well below 0.50 you can rest assured you are performing a proper Recovery Ride.
In order to have an incredible event, an Athlete must be well-trained, but also well rested. Thus they should apply their over-achieving tendencies differently to influence their performance in the most positive way. Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com
Over-Achieving Ahead Of A Big Event
Knowing how to “over-achieve” is critical for the Athlete looking to perform their best on event day.
As the saying goes, “it is better to be 5% under-prepared than 1% over-trained”.
If you are an over-achiever, reading that wisdom and considering leaving 5% fitness ‘on the table’ can seem like blasphemy.
But rest assured, the sage wisdom referenced above is backed by generations of “over-achievers” pushing hard trying to squeeze every ounce of fitness out of their training time, right up to the start of their goal event.
Regardless if your event is off-road or on, long or short, intense or steady-state, being adequately prepared for a big goal requires a build-up of energy reserves.
That means an important perspective change must take place in the Athletes’ mind. They must shift from applying the, “if some is good, more must be better” attitude that can serve an Athlete well during training to a “less is more” perspective ahead a race.
Leading into an important event every Athlete should focus their “over-achieving” efforts on doing the minimum workout intensity necessary to prepare their bodies for the goal event.
After plenty of heavy training, an Athletes’ body will respond to this lighter work-load by building-up its strength and adding to it’s energy stores.
Both of these reactions are natural occurrences for our bodies and will translate to more power on-hand for your big event, which can give you the ‘extra gear’ needed to perform beyond your expectations!
We hope this article has shown that “over-achieving” is not all always about going harder or “excessive effort” as Wikipedia refers to it.
More often than not doing extra requires an Athlete to strike a balance between the “if some is good, more must be better” approach and the reality that in many cases “less can be more”.
It is with that in mind that we encourage your recovery rides to be ridiculously easy, your endurance days to be as long as your busy schedule allows, and interval workouts include higher intensity instead of being watered down with more workload than your current fitness can handle.
By understanding these guidelines and folding them into the individualized training plan your coach outlines, your overachieving tendencies will serve you well and pilot you to your very best performances!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
Skinny-Tire Training For Fat-Tire Dominance: Embracing The Road For Maximum MTB Fitness
Training and racing on a mountain-bike is no easy task as rough trail, tight turns, and steep climbs demand a sharp mind be coupled with a strong body.
These trail conditions and the highly variable nature of MTB riding can make it difficult to harness the benefits of a structured training program to gain maximum fitness.
That is why even the most hardcore MTB racers and off-road purists are shedding their baggy-shorts in favor of tight-fitting lycra to perform some high-quality training on the open road.
These riders, and MTB-enthusiasts of all skill-levels and abilities can (and should) use road cycling as a way to supplement their trail-centric workouts to enhance fitness and race-day preparation.
Road cycling, as in riding a road-bike or an MTB with suitable tires on the road, can benefit mountain-bikers in many ways, not the least of which is developing greater aerobic fitness.
Training on the road can also be used to develop a quicker/smoother cadence and pedal stroke, perform evenly-paced steady-state efforts, take it easy for a proper recovery ride, and even narrow the distractions to complete maximally-paced anaerobic intervals.
It is these benefits, and more, that will enhance your training and help you maximize every hour of preparation you have to dedicate to your goal event.
MTB bike-handling skills have to be practiced and honed, but there is something to be said for riding on the road and how it develops the human engine that powers our bicycles! Photo Credit: Brian McCulloch
Aerobic Economy & Volume:
There is a lot of value to developing a deep base of aerobic fitness for any Endurance Athlete. Base fitness equates to high-volume training miles with moderate/minimal intensity.
This is where the intense nature of mountain-biking can complicate an MTB Athletes quest for base fitness. That is because ‘volume’ and ‘intensity’, from a training perspective, exist in an opposing world.
This means that for training ‘volume’ to increase ‘intensity’ needs to decrease.
Conversely, an increase in training ‘intensity’ predicates a reduction in training ‘volume’.
Enter training on the road…
Road-centric training provides the opportunity to increase training ‘volume’ while keeping ‘intensity’ at a manageable level.
By adding in a road-focused volume workout to their training regimen, an MTB Athlete can grow their aerobic-base fitness without adding unnecessary intensity that can compromise training quality.
This means a bigger engine to hit the trails with the next time you take out your shred-sled!
Any BWC Athlete, MTB or not, will attest to the importance of developing a smooth and quick pedal stroke; it’s something we hammer home with all of our Athletes.
With that said, MTB Athletes, generally speaking, are notorious for having a slow ‘preferred’ cadence.
Although it can be said that this is the result of the climb-heavy nature of most off-road riding, any MTB rider can benefit from road-focused ‘cadence development’ workouts.
Developing a quicker preferred cadence benefits more than just your fitness, it can ease the pain of one of the most common ailments that afflicts any off-road rider…cramping.
Despite the various studies arguing for a particular cause of cramping and how to avoid it, one thing is clear: reducing the workload on leg muscles by using a quicker cadence increases muscular endurance and reduces the instance of cramps.
This simple change shifts the training load from leg-muscles to the aerobic system, an important consideration for any discipline of cycling!
Evenly-Paced Steady-State Efforts:
Mountain-bike races and time-trials feature similar physical outputs in that they are ‘all-out’, maximal efforts.
Where they differ is in the variability in those power outputs. Time-trials tend to be evenly-paced efforts with minimal variability, while MTB races generally see a large degree of variable with large power fluctuations.
Because training on the open-roads generally offers more consistent gradients and smooth roads, an MTB Athlete can use this terrain to perform evenly-paced, long duration steady-state efforts that even the most consistent trail cannot mimic.
Whether the sustained workout is of an Endurance, Tempo, or even Threshold output is immaterial.
What matters is that the smooth and consistent gradients of a paved surface allow the Athlete to add in consistent, sustained workload to their training program.
These sustained efforts can make a big difference when preparing for an MTB Gran Fondo or Endurance XC Race.
What’s more adding just one workout per week that includes steady-state intervals can enhance fitness significantly.
BWC Athlete Van Geslani loves all kinds of bikes, he rides road, dirt, and 'cross to keep his fitness sharp and skills honed. Photo Credit: Loma Linda PossAbilities
Proper Recovery Rides:
Although Recovery Rides are not considered a ‘workout’, they absolutely are integral to any training regimen.
Recovery rides or ‘easy spins’ are best performed on flat or minimally rolling routes. This notion almost completely eliminates mountain-bike trails from being used to accomplish our active recovery goals.
Most mountain-bikers notice an immediate increase in their ability to recover from intense training when they embrace road-centric active recovery.
It should be said that recovery rides do not have to be long, just 60-minutes of easy spinning is enough time to achieve the desired effect.
Incorporating one, or even two, recovery rides a week on a road-bike can enhance any MTB athletes training regimen by preparing them for upcoming workouts.
As with any recovery ride, it is always important to maintain a quick cadence and light pressure on the pedals, while avoiding spikes in power or heart rate through out the ride.
Measurable & Repeatable Anaerobic Work:
It can be very useful for the MTB-focused rider to utilize a consistent stretch of road, and a power-meter, to perform focused anaerobic-capacity intervals.
By getting off the trail and away from the rocks, twists, and undulations that characterize off-road workouts, an Athlete can focus their effort on putting-out maximum power and getting everything out of their bodies during these high-output efforts.
Although they won’t have this luxury on race-day and will have to account for roots, rocks, and other obstacles, training on an open road is the best way to isolate the physical element of training and teach our bodies to go all-out!
Being able to repeat these hard efforts week-in and week-out can do more than build your fitness, it can build confidence in your ability to ‘go-deep’ ahead of a tough race!
Sustained fire-road or double-track climbs offer great training, but for some portions of the training cycle, a road climb is preferable for interval training. Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch.
With the need for exceptional bike-handling skills plus a multitude of equipment considerations, MTB riding and racing is without question a specialized form of Endurance Sport.
However, despite those specialized needs, the human-performance side of the equation changes very little.
Whether you are pedaling a ‘cross bike, preparing for a TT, spending long days in the saddle on a road bike, or shredding the local trails on an MTB, a powerful human-engine is what you need to propel your two-wheeled adventures.
It is for this reason that it makes a lot of sense for ‘off-roaders’ to consider some road-centric training to enhance their fitness.
Taking the benefits that training on the road offers, and then adapting them to an MTB-focused training program can pay big-dividends for even the most staunch MTB ‘purist’.
And the best news is that these benefits can be had by adding only one or two road-based workouts per week to an MTB-focused training program.
That’s a fairly minor investment for a whole lot of performance benefit!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
A State Championship Performance One Year In the Making: 4-Questions With John Hatchitt
Time-trialing is a discipline of road cycling that is far more complex than it’s simple format suggests.
Most Athletes know the discipline by the cliche, “the race of truth”. And although it is definitely a lone effort, performing a masterfully-paced and powerful effort is far more complex than just pushing the pedals hard.
It is this complexity and attention to detail that has drawn John Hatchitt to the discipline of time-trialing for a long time.
Although there are not always a lot of TT events on the SoCal calendar, John wanted to ride his TT bike as a part of his weekly training from the very beginning of the season.
Mostly this was to prepare him for his stage-race goals, but in the back of his mind there was always the State Time-Trial Championships that could test his mettle.
Well…after a season of preparation and work on the TT-bike, John brought his very best to the 2018 SCNCA State TT Championships, and walked away a champion!
After his championship winning performance we caught up with John to talk about his preparation, love for time-trialing, and what lies ahead for him in 2018 for this weeks BWC Athlete Profile. Enjoy!
John Hatchitt made an appointment every week to ride his TT-bike...and the pay off was a state championship! Photo Credit: John Hatchitt
Primary Sport/Discipline: Road Cycling
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 10-14hrs.
Upcoming Goals: The Chuck Pontius Memorial Criterium & Sherman Pass Road Race
Question #1: Congratulations on winning the SCNCA State Individual Time Trial Championships, John! How do you feel about the result and what was your biggest highlight from the day?
John Hatchitt: By far the highlight of the day was calling my wife Lisa!
Being an ex-swimmer, she knows a thing or two about mental toughness and is always willing to help me “get out of my own way”, so to speak, when I am having self-doubt.
She always has a way of ‘cross examining’ my answers on how I think I will perform that helps build my confidence.
A close 2nd was texting Coach BMc and letting him know I had won!
After getting sick before the State Road Race championships and not getting the result I wanted, we changed gears to focus on the State Championship TT.
That meant a lot of work on Coach Brian’s end to build me up to where I could put out the effort needed to get the result I wanted.
Coaches Perspective/Coach Brian: I am so proud of John, not just for the result he earned, but for the years of hard work and sacrifice it has taken to get there.
Cycling is a very challenging sport, so it makes me proud beyond belief when an Athlete commits to the process of training and focused preparation then are rewarded with an incredible result!
In thinking about this race, it is important to understand how much of an under-dog John felt like before the race. He has always loved time-trialing, but never had the result he (or I for that matter) thought he was capable of.
That is why we focused so much on this race, at 40km in distance, it is a tough race to pace. There are so many factors that can change on race-day, such as course conditions and wind direction, not to mention the competition and their level of preparedness.
All in all, it was a great ride by John and an incredible result. Great job, buddy!
Standing on the podium wearing the state champions jersey was a result that was a year in the making for John Hatchitt. Photo Credit: John Hatchitt
Question #2: Perfect pacing is critical to success in a Time Trial, and you have been training on your TT-bike consistently throughout the year. What is one piece of advice you would offer those Athletes looking to improve their time-trialing?
JH: What finally sunk-in for me after so much work was the notion of Cadence-Cadence-Cadence.
Being a rider that loves to climb, 95+rpm is where I’m happiest & most comfortable.
That type of cadence on flat TT courses like the state championship route was just to high. I wasn’t getting all the power out of my legs because I was spinning to much.
So, each training session I worked on lowering my cadence, just a little bit, to make sure I was both powerful and using a quick cadence.
It is such a hard task to change your preferred cadence because you feel like your riding in mud when you try to slow things down.
That is where you whole heartedly have to believe in your coach, know that he or she is giving you the best advice possible, and have the confidence that what they are trying to explain to you is going to work.
The week before the state TT championships, I finally got it....
Coach Brian: Everyone who knows John, knows he loves to climb, and that he loves to spin. Normally I am a big fan of spinning, and I believe that most Athletes can benefit from an increase in their preferred cadence.
However in John’s case, we looked at his training data and could see that he needed to slow things down slightly.
He was spinning a quick cadence, but was losing-out on the power that he had worked so hard to develop through a year of consist training.
So, I asked him to slow his pedal rpm from a preferred cadence of 95+ to 90rpm. But I also asked him not to go lower.
The “not lower” part is important as I did not want him to get over-geared.
The beauty of working with John for so many years is that he understood my nuanced request and the fact that I was emphasizing this in training was of critical importance.
Over the course of his final weeks of preparation, this one change helped put the finishing touches on his TT prowess!
The season is not over yet! John Hatchitt has his sights set on the Sherman Pass Road Race in mid-July. Photo Credit: Brian Hodes
Question #3: Outside of the State TT Championships what is one of your biggest cycling objectives for the remainder of the season and what events are you most excited about?
JH: With our season here in SoCal winding down, there is one last target that I am really excited about: The Sherman Pass Road Race in mid-July.
This race is 56-miles of relentless uphill. It is a great climbing event!
After winning it in 2016, I went back last year to repeat my performance and it turned into a huge debacle…
I had changed my bike set-up the week prior to the race, which brought on some incredibly intense cramping during the event.
I had been so excited to buy a new bike, but that change cost me a great performance as I didn’t have the time to set it up properly before the race.
On race day, despite the cramps, I was riding well, but saw all expectations of a winning performance roll up the road when I got a flat tire.
That has been at the back of my mind for a while, so now that there is no longer a strong TT emphasis in my training, I am turning my attention to climbing and preparation for Sherman Pass!
I am already looking forward to July 21st!
Coach Brian: It was tough to de-brief with John following Sherman Pass last year as he had prepared so well for the event.
The race did not go his way and the equipment challenges made it so he was unable to give his very best.
Knowing John and how focused he is on training and preparation, I knew this would eat at him, so it is no surprise to me that he has “an axe to grind”, so to speak, with Sherman Pass.
Luckily there are no equipment changes in the foreseeable future and the next few weeks can be totally dedicated to the training process, even if the heat in SoCal is brutal!
John Hatchitt created the Cannondale/Capo presented by GQ-6 race team a few years ago and is always ready to help his teammates get a result! Photo Credit: John Hatchitt
Question #4: What is/are your favorite workout(s) in your training program? Also, please share a ‘knowledge-bomb’ you have learned while training with BWC.
JH:To say that any of the workouts are my favorite is probably not the best way to word it… but I feel like I get a lot out of the Attack & Bridge Intervals.
They are so hard!
After the first one, you think, “this is not so bad.” But trust me, if you are doing the workout to the numbers your coach prescribes, you will not think this way and are certain to be cussing them out after the second interval!
As for my “knowledge bomb” the biggest thing I have learned since training with Big Wheel Coaching is this:
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!
There are no if’s, and’s, or buts about it, anything is possible if you do the work that is necessary to achieve your goals.
I have never been told that an event is “out of my wheelhouse” or that I should expect a mediocre result when planning my season with Coach Brian.
The answer from BWC is ALWAYS “ok, that is awesome, this is what we are going to do to get you ready to smash it!”
Motivation is HUGE and there is never a lack of this invaluable resource coming from Big Wheel Coaching.
Coach Brian: Oh boy, maybe I should apologize for the torture that is the “attack and bridge” workout…
In all seriousness though, that is a great workout that accurately simulates a race effort and gets our Athletes to dig-deep, which is often hard to do when training solo.
As for John’s knowledge-bomb about self-belief, I can’t emphasize this enough. He is absolutely right!
Confidence for Athletes is something they EARN and when you have an Athlete that is willing to do the work, it is important for the Coach to draw attention to the little things they are doing that will build their confidence.
For example, John ratcheting down his preferred TT cadence, ever-so-slightly, had to be pointed-out so that it would build his confidence.
Doing the work to be better is how you earn confidence and develop self-belief.
Having the knowledge that you are doing the right things that will improve your chances of success in the most positive way is invaluable!
We hope you have enjoyed reading about John Hatchitt’s State Time-Trial Championship success as much as we have loved sharing it!
Time-trialing is a special discipline within cycling as it requires an Athlete to make themselves suffer to the highest degree and empty the tank fully.
European cyclists liken time-trial prowess to, “losing the love for yourself”.
Although there is truth in that statement, going deep in a time-trial is an incredibly rewarding experience as it requires a level of self-understanding and commitment to go as far as possible into the “pain-cave”.
No matter whether you are preparing for a 40KM TT or any other event, part of being a successful cyclist is learning to spend time in your own personal ‘pain-cave’.
And helping you get comfortable and confident in that cave is our passion!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
It is no secret that being a successful Endurance Athlete requires our bodies to be able to adapt to a multitude of weather conditions and endure long bouts of exposure to the ‘elements’.
One such extreme is the summer heat, and with scorching temperatures already becoming a regular occurrence in many regions of the country, coping with this swelter is an absolute necessity.
Being able to thrive in the summer sizzle is even more important as the calendars of so many Athletes are filled with big training rides and plenty of events they have been working toward all year.
So, what is there to do when we are confronted by scorching temperatures and the need to do a big training ride?
And what does it take to perform optimally in hot weather?
To answer these questions we must first understand the issue with achieving optimal performance in high-heat…
Athletic performance in warm weather is primarily limited by our bodies ability to regulate it’s core temperature and avoid overheating.
That is to say that completing a workout or having a great event-performance in the heat is heavily influenced by our bodies ability to remain cool.
That is why we suggest utilizing the following five-tips to help keep your core temperature low and power output high!
Exercising in the humidity amplifies an already hot day, making training and racing very difficult. Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com.
#1: Wear Clothing That Promotes Sweating.
When our bodies sweat they try to use every bit of surface area to cool themselves, but the caveat is that if our skin is moist, the body won’t sweat.
So if the clothes you are wearing don’t ‘wick’ the sweat away from your skin, a large portion of your body won’t sweat, and no cooling can take place.
This can lead to overheating and poor performance.
That is why it is important to wear high-quality sports clothing that ‘wicks’ sweat away from our skin.
This promotes sweating, and in turn cools our bodies, making it possible to perform well in the heat.
Although sweating may not be desirable in office situations or at family gatherings, it most certainly is a necessity when working-out in the heat, so bring on the sweat!
#2: Breath Out The Heat!
Another great way to reduce the effects of heat on your system is to take long, drawn-out exhales.
Much like a car has a fan to pull heat from within the engine compartment of the vehicle, full/long exhales can release heat from inside our bodies.
That is why we suggest taking deep breathes to help keep core temperatures cool.
Making exhales equal-to or twice as long in duration as inhales will help expel body-heat while also calming tense muscles.
Yes, deep breathing has a double benefit!
It should also be mentioned that significant water vapor is expelled through our breathing, thus it is important to increase water consumption as our breathing rates increase.
Strong and focused exhales can reduce your bodies internal core temperature and relax your body. Bonus! Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com
#3: Consume Adequate Electrolytes
If you are an Endurance Athlete, not doubt you have heard of the importance of consuming electrolytes, likely in the name of reducing the incidence of muscle cramps.
Although newer research is beginning to refute the connection between electrolyte consumption and cramping, consuming electrolytes remains extremely important to ensuring our bodies mineral content stays in balance.
In fact, these minerals help keep our bodies, specifically the cells, organs, and muscles, functioning properly.
Put simply, electrolytes help our muscles 'fire' normally.
When training in the heat, we suggest all liquid consumed include some form of electrolyte.
Luckily, there are many great products available to help us ingest these necessary electrolytes… and even some great home-centric methods too, that will ensure we get these critical minerals into our bodies.
What matters most is that your beverage of choice include these five electrolytes: sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
#4: Maintain High Fluid Levels
The human body is more than 50% water, and because water resides in all cells, low fluid levels can impair bodily functions.
It has been observed that a reduction in body weight, through fluid loss (sweat, respiration, etc.), impairs athletic performance.
Fluid losses as little as two-percent can effect performance in a measurable way, while losses of five-percent or more, can create major issues.
For an average American adult this means losing as little as 3.5lbs. of fluid over the course of training can cause performance diminishment, which is easy to do in hot and humid conditions.
The unfortunate reality is that our body’s, once depleted, cannot immediately replace this lost fluid by ingestion.
Typically it takes a significant amount of time for water and electrolytes to permeate our cells and rehydrate the body properly.
That is why the adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is most appropriate for training in the heat.
Getting behind on fluid consumption can spell disaster in a an endurance event, especially a highly intense one like a bike race.
This notion is why experts suggest pre-hydrating for 3-4 days ahead of strenuous exercise in the heat.
#5: Cool Yourself With Ice
Have you ever seen a professional athlete use an ice-vest?
Maybe not, but you likely already have a visual of what one looks like.
The concept is simple, by surrounding the body with ice, we can keep our core temperature from increasing, insulating the body from premature fatigue due to heat exposure.
But without access to an ice-vest, which is a fairly new technology, what can the rest of us do?
Here is a simple solution, consider bringing a knee-high stocking (panty-hose) with you on your summer workouts.
When you stop at a convenience store, fill it with ice, tie a knot in it, and drape the ice-sock around your neck.
Place the ice-sock high on your neck, high enough for the melting ice to drip on your chest and back. This simple technique can make a long workout in hot weather more bearable and increase your performance.
Hot weather does not have to be unbearable. With these techniques to cool your core, you can workout hard all summer long! Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com.
Summertime boasts long-days and warm temperatures, which makes it one of the most exciting times of the year to be an Endurance Athlete.
With many events and races scheduled this summer, along with a plethora of workout buddies to do them with, this is one of the best times of year to enjoy your favorite activities.
By embracing these five-techniques, you will be able to make the most of your workouts when temperatures soar.
Note: It must be mentioned that there are limits to training in the heat, and good common sense must be used in order to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion. Always listen to your body and don’t over-do it, as the heat can be very damaging if not respected.
Before training in high-heat ask yourself, “how is this workout going to help me achieve my goals?”
If a decrease in training volume or an alternate activity will get you the same result, we highly suggest doing it.
Although in most cases, a simple reduction in pace, intensity, or duration, coupled with the techniques above, make it possible to get in a quality training session despite high temperatures.
We hope these techniques will help you make the most of your summertime training and are confident that by keeping your core-temperature cool, the summer heat will be far less prohibitive, and possibly even enjoyable all summer long!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
Announcing The Sub-Six Club! BWC Partners With The Mammoth Gran Fondo For A One-Of-A-Kind Race-Day Experience
Mammoth Mountain California is one of the most picturesque and beautiful places on the west coast, with high-mountains, vast valleys and wide-open roads linking all the incredible scenery together.
Luckily, this small mountain town hosts The Mammoth Gran Fondo, which allows cyclists from all over the country to enjoy the incredible views of the Eastern Sierras via it’s 102-mile route.
For Big Wheel Coaching, and so many others, the Mammoth Gran Fondo has become an annual pilgrimage as a great ‘season ending’ event following a summer of cycling fun.
The mass-start roll-out of the Mammoth Gran Fondo is only the beginning of what is an amazing day on the roads of the Eastern Sierras! Photo Credit: Captivating Sports Photography
This year, we are proud to partner with the Mammoth Gran Fondo to create something new and exciting in the world of endurance cycling events….
It’s called the Sub-Six Club.
What exactly is The Mammoth Gran Fondo Sub-Six Club?
The Sub-Six Club is your chance to be a “yellow jersey” rider for a day, to be the rider that our team works to protect.
It’s an experience that will see a well-drilled team of domestiques working to help you have your best ride!
Our Sub-Six peloton will be lead by a handful of domestiques that will ‘pull’ the group along the 102-mile route to complete the course in under six-hours.
In addition to having a dedicated group of ‘sled-dogs’ to work for our peloton, the group will receive on-course assistance from a support car just as teams at the Tour de France do!
That’s right, mechanical support, food and water, and a place to shed bulky clothing will be with our peloton all day long!
Have you ever wondered what it is like to have a team of skilled riders working for you? The Sub-Six Club is your chance to receive the 'yellow jersey' treatment! Photo Credit: Above Four Media
The Sub-Six Club will be a race-day experience that is usually reserved for pro-cyclists at the biggest of races.
What’s more, all of this on-course and event-day support will be bolstered with a group coaching package and pre-ride training session from Big Wheel Coaching, not to mention a custom cycling kit from VR-7 Apparel!
We want to ensure every rider in our peloton is prepared to tackle the challenge of the Sub-Six experience successfully!
That's why we are using TrainingPeaks and Facebook as platforms to launch a Group Training Plan that will include daily workouts to help the Athletes of our Sub-Six Club develop their fitness to the highest possible level leading into the Mammoth Gran Fondo.
Along with daily workouts, our peloton will have access to a Facebook group, exclusive to Sub-Six riders, that will be filled with coaching advice and plenty of our best Gran Fondo preparation tips and tricks to ensure you have an edge on the competition come race-day!
Although spectacular, the views of the Mammoth Gran Fondo were not meant to be enjoyed alone. Joining the Sub-Six Club gives you a team to ride with! Photo Credit: Captivating Sports Photography
All of the fun, coaching, and support will begin on July 1st, just a few short weeks away.
And with only 50-spots available in our peloton, getting signed-up early is a must, because space is limited!
For complete details, including how to sign-up, and a list of the special offers that come along with the Mammoth Gran Fondo Sub-Six Club, check out this link:
For more fun, and to read what our friends at Gran Fondo Guide are saying about the Sub-Six Club, check out this article:
The beauty and cohesion of a peloton is something that must be experienced to be fully-appreciated. And the Sub-Six Club is your chance to be a part of our team! Photo Credit: Above Four Media
Much like how marathon-pacers lead their group of runners to a predetermined finishing time, our Sub-Six domestiques will shepherd our peloton through the days difficulties to an incredible experience.
But more than a standard marathon-pace group, the Sub-Six Club is a complete ‘pro-level’ experience before, during, and after the event. It’s something you won’t want to miss!
Stay tuned to BWC, Mammoth Gran Fondo, and VR-7 Apparel social media channels for more information about the Sub-Six Club or email us at BigWheelCoaching@gmail.comif you have questions.
We look forward to seeing you in Mammoth!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, And Have Fun!
Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
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