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The Skinny Cyclist
After a huge variety of results over the last five years, it's time to get more serious and focused. I no longer have the time to do 17hr training weeks, as I've found that some things that are far more important in life.

I still want to be competative, and miss the days when I was fit and niggle-free. I'm determined to make the best use of my training time available, and on hear as well as being a place for me to record my training & results I want to offer my thoughts on making best use of training time.

Lusting after previous glories.

audiolessonoverby audiolessonoverSep 20th 2010
I've been a big fan of periodised training plans, I used one to great success when I was training ~17hrs a week whilst in Australia when I was 20/21, and achieved great results throughout the season. A periodised training plan with that sort of training volume entails 3x 4week blocks of Base preparation, followed by 2x4wk blocks of Build with Tempo work and introducing intervals - followed by periods of peaks and specialisation for events. I used to race track on Fridays, and road on Sundays without a problem, and got myself in awesome fitness.

I didn't know anyone outside of work and cycling, so all my free time was training, preparing for training and racing. I've never been a top cyclist, up there with the Elites, but during this time I made best use of the talents I had to be competative in my grade and in handicap events. In 6 months I earned just under £500 in prize money, bought home a few trophies and medals, and won a number of races:

1st Overall - North Queensland Cycling Classic
King of the Mountains NQCC
1st Stage 1 - NQCC - TT
1st Stage 2 - NQCC - Circuit Race
1st Stage 3 - NQCC - Mountain Stage
1st Overall - Townsville Team Triathlon
2nd Stage 4 - NQCC - Crit
2nd 3km IP - North Queensland Track Champs
2nd Kilo - North Queensland Track Champs
3rd Bike Leg - Townsville Team Triathlon
3rd RR
+ a couple of wins and some podiums in local road and track events.

Give me anything with a massive climb, and preferable not a technical descent, and I'd hold my own.

Since coming back to England, I haven't had anywhere near that level of success. In road racing, my light weight, lack of power and confidence on high-speed descents has meant that the best finishes in road races I've had over the last few years have been mid-pack results. The events I've done best in are Hill Climbs, with a number of top-5 results.

I've since switched the majority of my racing to MTBing, which I've enjoyed more than the road racing - it's a friendly crowd of people as well. I've placed top-15 in a Sport cat Gorrick races, but it's in the long-distance (12hr) races I've done well. The best result so far for me on the MTB was coming 25th at twentyfour12 this year... but I know I could've done better with proper preparation.

I've tried on a number of occasions to start a structured periodised training plan, with 14hr, then 12 and 10hr training volumes. Normally I manage to stick to the base preparation initially, but then I start missing sessions due to not being able to train as often as I need to, and then that impacts the next session, a few messed up weeks and I can feel I'm losing what training I have. I've also not got on well with using a turbo - I don't like the feel of it as much as other indoor trainers.

So, this season I'm going to try something different. Not committing to a training plan I know willl prove unmanagable when I start ramping up the training hours. Less volume, but more quality workouts in the week. Shorter, more intense sessions, more interval work, and focusing training around key events. Without a massive base I won't be able to be competative all season, but the testimony of a number of riders and coaches has shown that when you are pressured for time, focusing on quality, hard workouts (whilst acknowledging the limitations such training brings) is the best way to prepare.

So, changes for this pre-season:
- Shorter base period
- 2-3 12-week blocks of focused training followed by recovery targeted around key events
- Going to a specialist physio, to sort out right ankle/knee niggles that have not gone away for the past few seasons and hampered training.
- Proper bike fit, and ensuring consistency across all bikes
- Swapping turbo(s) for a spin-bike which is able to monitor power.
- Testing myself every few weeks with standardised power test to monitor fitness improvements
- Switching from a book to using an online training log to track training, chart progress and keep focus
- Intervals and power work a lot earlier in the season, as power is my main weakness.

Loose goals for the coming seasons at the moment:
- Finishing my first 24, and achieving a decent result.
- Get back into Road Racing, and move up a cat.
- Race more Sport cat. XC events, and get more top-15 placings.
- Beat 26min for 10mile TT, using a road bike & without focusing on TT training

Above all, it's easy to make plans and goals, it's achieving them which is difficult. I'll crystallise my goals in the next month or so.
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