Mistakes are much easier to spot when other people make them. Think about it, how often have you looked at someone else’s training, diet, work habits or parenting and spotted the mistakes they’re so obviously making? The message here is that it’s not spotting mistakes that’s difficult, it’s spotting your mistakes that’s difficult. That’s one of the reasons that having a coach is so effective, they can cut away the habit to focus on what you really need to do to improve.
Through coaching endurance athletes over the past 10 years one of the most common habits people fall into is holding onto a session or strategy that’s given you success for too long. Don’t get me wrong, looking back at your performances and training is crucial to spotting what works for you… but over the course of a year it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of the same old sessions and often breaking out into something new can really help an athlete find a breakthrough in their power or pace. This is never more true that the spring time, when the enthusiasm to get out and ride or race means the structure can get lost or the planning of sessions can get overlooked.
For those athletes that have been working hard on their functional threshold power (FTP) then this time of year is the perfect opportunity to try some efforts at intensities that are above this intensity. We use training zones designed around percentages of your FTP and the sessions I often recommend are those that fall into the 106 to 120% of FTP, sessions that fall into what’s termed Zone 5. It’s important to start these at an achievable point, and every athlete will have a different response to these type of efforts but I normally suggest starting with five intervals of 4 minutes at the bottom end of this range with 4 minutes recovery. This is a good starting point and you can build up from there. As you progress week on week you can increase the duration of these efforts towards 5 minutes and add spice to keep things interesting in the form of surges.
So, stop and ask yourself, ‘what mistakes am I making in my training?’. If you think that you’re missing this crucial Zone 5 work then Ady and I have put together a series of ten sessions specifically designed to help those riders who’ve built a solid threshold springboard onward and maintain power throughout the season.
I look forward to you joining Ady and myself on Tuesday 2nd May for our presentation on how to “Make This Season Your Best Season”