In the various training articles that I will be writing, I will basically speak of techniques that work for most people. Understand that each of us is unique, hence WE ARE EACH AN EXPERIMENT OF ONE. What might work quite effectively for me might need a bit of “tweaking” to work for you.
To improve one’s performance in an aerobic sport requires a training effort that challenges the body, adequate recovery/rest time from the training, and the subsequent adaptation process that improves performance. When the body is challenged through proper training, it adapts to the effort by becoming stronger and more efficient. In an aerobic sport, the body’s ability to consume oxygen (VO2max) is increased as is its ability to deal with lactic acid leading to an increase in Lactic Threshold (LT). For the purpose of this article, I am not going to get too technical so let me say that when you reach your LT the body starts having difficulty dissipating the build up of lactic acid and it begins to hurt. Obviously, if you can increase your body’s ability to deal with lactic acid, you can go faster longer. Although an athlete can typically attain her VO2max in as little as a year, the exciting news is that it takes many years of training to attain one’s optimal Lactic Threshold, hence one can expect to see years of improvement from training.
The biggest mistake that I observe cyclists make is doing the same thing all the time. For example, here in the St. Petersburg, FL area, there are clubs rides every weekday morning at 8:30 AM. The rides typically follow the same route at the same speeds, and often have the same participants. Many wonder why they have no improvement and in some cases actually experience degradation in performance. The reason of course is that the body simply adapts to the same routine and has no reason to improve.
In future articles, I will deal with many specifics of training including equipment, planning, periodization, recovery, peaking & tapering for competition. I will also discuss types of competition (mostly cycling related) and techniques to use in competition. I will give you my favorite interval workouts and teach you how to time trial effectively.
As always, I solicit any comments/questions.