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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Commuting to train for the Karapoti Mountain Bike Race

Hi Gary
I am training to do the Karapoti race and have been reading your article that is on the PNP site. I commute as part of my training and looking at the training plans I am wondering if it is too far.

I live in Porirua and work at the bottom of the Wainui hill, 30kms each way. I have been doing base training so I try to average less than 130 BPM . I am also looking at doing some of the road events, K2 and Taupo cycle challenge (my 40th birthday resolution is to break 4hrs 20mins for Taupo.. PB is 4.22)

Karapoti is the event Im targeting, K2 is an epic training ride preparing for a fast lap of Taupo. Mondays I teach a Spin class at my local gym at 6am then commute to work so by the time I get home Monday night it gives me approx 3hrs all up of cycling. I only teach 1 spin class a week.

I have been cycling more seriously now for 5yrs and without knowing it have been using a form of the Lydiard method because it worked for me, im just wondering if my commute should incorporate my interval sessions and take the next day as recovery???

Any help you could give me would be great Thanks
Gary Moller comments:
Grant, thanks for asking. But I am not sure if I am going to answer your question directly.

When it comes to training I am a big fan of commuting. If you read any of the training advice of the Kennetts of Karapoti fame, you will realise that they are fans of commuting as well. Commuting is one of the best ways to get super fit and cycling is a great way to get super fit because cycling is easy on the legs and joints and recovery is usually as fast as it takes to replenish energy stores.

So, if one does it right, it is possible to cycle train every day; whereas, if one was doing running, then rest days become critical if injury is to be avoided. With cycling, rest days can be active days in the form of easy riding. Rest is relative.

Grant, I would use the commuting as your principal form of training. Modify your commuting to vary the training so that some days are easy "recovery" rides straight to and from work while other days might be the very long way home. Other days can be the hilly way home, a series of gut-wrenching intervals or a punishing grind into a strong head wind!

If you are going to structure your training in the classic Lydiard style, ensure that you have distinct blocks of training that build you to a peak of fitness for competition. Please have a good read of my course notes on "Train to Win". This is about the Lydiard Method and you will have to use your imagination to adapt the structures to cycling. Its easy to do; but must be applied with discipline.

Grant, the key to doing really well competitively, especially as you get older, is to ensure that you maintain optimum health so that you can do the big volumes and high intensity sessions and recover in between. Please listen carefully to Lorraine's advice in this video about recovery and adapt it to your cycling training and competition.

Athletes never retire - they just slowly grind to a halt

But this does not need to be the case. With that 40th birthday just around the corner, I would place as much attention to your nutritional status and the application of recovery strategies, such as stretching, massage and sleep as I would to your training (I am available for personal consultations about these matters).

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