For almost four years I've been training very seriously as an endurance cyclist. The effects have been amazing: I lost over 30 kg (70 lb), reduced previously sky-high blood pressure, lipid and blood sugar numbers to the low end of the normal range, and transformed the way I feel about myself. All great things.
But now I'm abandoning endurance training in favour of sprint cycling.
Today I want to talk about a very interesting article from Aussie coach Alan Couzens, who asks the question 'Are you a volume or intensity responder?' This is certainly something I've been longing to know the answer to. If you're in the same boat, read on!
A LOT OF CYCLISTS, myself included, find Strava a very worthwhile tool: with by far the highest number of active users, it's the only game in town for social features (and not just for cycling, but also lesser endurance activities like running and swimming!).
The social aspect enables what I find to be the most valuable part of the Strava experience: the motivation that comes from seeing improvement in my own rides, moving up the leaderboard on segments, and getting inspiration from other athletes' performances. A bit of (mostly) friendly competition I find to be a good thing.
But when it comes to serious training, many people turn up their noses at Strava. And it's true that the analytics that Strava offers, especially on the free tier, are quite limited compared to the competition.
Shortly after I got my power meter last June, I signed up with the online cycling training platform Xert.
The ideas behind it are interesting, and promising:
Firstly, a software-based adviser that recommends workouts based on your current training status. Tired or fresh? Building or peaking? The recommendations will vary based on your current situation. And if you're targeting a road race you'll get different advice than if you were peaking for a criterium. If you miss a couple of days training, it will seamlessly adapt its recommendations, as there is no 'plan' as such. If you're feeling fresh and energetic, you can increase your ramp rate to 'aggressive' and Xert will adjust. If you're tired, select 'taper' or 'maintenance' and it will slow down.
Interesting research from the cycling science literature
The 4000-m team pursuit cycling world record: theoretical and practical aspectsSchumacher and Mueller, 2002
This is an extremely interesting research article, not least because it gives a detailed description of the training practices of world-class athletes. Such information is generally hard to come by, so when I find some I give it my close attention!