Base miles – be sure your base is SOLID before adding in the intensity!

I am a cycling coach and massage therapist based in Portland Oregon. As a coach, physician
I have worked with many individuals at all levels, from people just getting into the sport or training for fun and fitness, people just getting into racing, and up to elite level riders attending national level races such as Elite Road Nationals or Cyclocross Nationals.

As a massage therapist, I happily work on anyone looking to improve their wellness by including massage. I specialize in deep tissue and structural integration which also include influences of other modalities I have trained in such as Swedish, thai, trigger points and myofascial release. I enjoy working to help people get back to their normal life routine after injuries or big training events as well as just helping get people back to feeling great after a stressful day at work.

In addition to these primary roles, I assume many other roles for event management, providing clinics, setting up training camps and providing public out reach for cycling and wellness.

 

chrisswan3
My goal with this site is to give people a little more insight into who I am and highlight a little more about what I do as an endurance coach and massage therapist, this web
as well as offer articles and race reports in a place where friends and clients can easily learn something new to help them in their own pursuits of good health and athletic excellence, while getting to know me better as a coach and massage therapist at the same time

I first discovered my love for two wheels, probably as soon as I was allowed to stray, I still remember that shiny red tricycle!  From there the obsession only got worse, and before long, I was on my bike every day from a young age.  But wait, there are more things that have led to my experiences as a bike racer than life on a tricycle.  My real age as a bike racer was started when I was highly involved with music. The bassoon, to be specific. I have had music in my genes as far back as I know. My musical background took me from my home state of Oregon to the California Bay Area to attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

While I was attending the Conservatory, I started commuting to and from on my bike daily. From there, my time spent on two wheels would grow and grow. I started studying up on all the info I could find on training, riding, and as I started to get into group rides, racing. Once I got the bug for racing, there was no turning back. I decided to devote myself to becoming as fast as I could.

After my time at the Conservatory, I moved back to Oregon to attend school at the University of Oregon. Here I earned a degree in Economics.  I also spent a large part of my time devoted to keeping up on the latest information on training and physiology to supplement my goals as a cyclist.  But a degree in Economics paid out enormously well as a cycling coach as well – all that statistical work in Econometrics provides a number of excellent tools in assessing the information gathered from power and heart rate files, since most of the tools associated with reading data from workouts is directly out of statistical work .  Most of time spent coaching is comprised of comparing actual values with past values, expected values and working to forecast future values based on what I am seeing.  Using this info I work to assigning appropriate values to work with in the present that should support a given trajectory of improvement based on scientific data that has been proven to create great success in ones development.  Phrased like that, its hard to decipher whether the topic is relating to econ or sports performance.  Luckily, my love of and experience in training and racing when paired with these tools have proven to be great tools to work with while coaching people of all ages and abilities.

In addition to school, I started working with friends and new riders, helping them get into the sport and began to coach riders coming into the sport. Getting a coach is about having a pro balance training to fit into your lifestyle to help you get the most improvement possible.  My job is about looking at your goals, and helping to fit training to meet your goals with the time and resources you have available to train.  A lot of people think being a coach means I am only working with professional athletes, but the truth of the matter is that most of the individuals I work with are full time business professionals, with familys, kids, and a busy work life.  They may only have 6-10 hours a week to train, its my job to set up their training to make those hours count and get as much improvement as we can with limited time and resources to devote to training.

After I began coaching full time, I decided I wanted to be able to provide more support to those I am working with and went back to school to become a Licensed Massage Therapist.  With massage therapy, I am able to help athletes recover from injuries, improve their sports performance and well being.

In addition to coaching and massage, I have worked to help coordinate many events, race promotion, clinics and other behind the scenes work. Its important to help keep great opportunities in place for people to participate in, or learn more about the art of training, well being or racing, and I often find myself in position to contribute support in putting these together.

I am a coach and massage therapist at Upper Echelon Fitness, where I am a part of a team of experienced professionals with the common goal of supporting individuals of all levels in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.  I race and help manage a phenomenal elite team at Team Oregon, and we have created a team that has become a top development team in the northwest. In addition to developing riders from new racers to category 1 elite riders, Team Oregon is maintaining one of the best elite teams on the west coast.

Keep checking the site for articles to help improve your racing, training and fitness and better understand your body and benefits of specific massage work!

chrisswan3
Usually once December rolls around, pharmacy
I have a lot of people starting to talk to me about weight training and how it best plays into their training. There is some debate as to the benefits from weights and cycling, pancreatitis
but overall it seems to be a greater benefit than hinderance to most athletes. Some of the benefits for cyclists include: increased power, improved joint stability, opportunity to improve muscle imbalances, weight bearing activity for bone density. For some people its just a good way to mix up their training as well and allow a bit of a break from being on the bike all the time, which many riders may find important to maintaining long run focus in training.

Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind as you look at what you want to include in a weight program. I think these are the key fundamentals in seeing just why strength fits into the season of an endurance athlete, and helps maintain your focus on the correct ideas when training.

Weight lifting is not our primary sport, it exists to support our primary sport. We want to use it in our training to achieve highly effective time spent for getting results in our primary sport. It is important to use strength training as a means for improving muscular power – this is the obvious thing most of us think of – but here are the other key components a good strength program is going to focus on:

  • Range of motion – it is very important to have healthy ranges of motion while lifting, so be sure you are flexible enough to safely lift properly. Most lifts out there take you through a full range of motion of whatever joint (or joints) are being focused on, but its good to keep in mind that achieving full range of motion while lifting is a major goal of most lifts. Ensure you are doing the full range of motion of the lifts, and not shortening the range.
  • Supporting muscle groups – you want to improve strength in primary movers for cycling, but it is very important to also focus on lifts that strengthen weak muscles underused in cycling.
  • Balance, stability, coordination – On the bike, we are so limited to a single plane of motion, with all of our motions being trapped into the pedal stroke. Including lifts that take you outside of this small area of movement is key for joint health and overall good health. Isolating lifts or lifts that require a bit of balance are especially helpful for cyclists and ensuring we are engaging multiple muscle groups.
  • Lift for better overall health and injury prevention – the goal with strength should not just to be in producing more power on the bike. Thats great and all, but its pretty hard to produce power if you have to take a month off in peak season to recover from a knee injury caused by weak glute activation. Get an evaluation from a personal trainer, coach or physical therapist to find out where your weak areas are. Take care of imbalances now, before something small and probably unnoticeable turns into an injury.
  • Ease into the lifts. The first few weeks should be focused on making sure you have correct form, and can safely do the range of motion for each lift. If you have issues, focus on stretching. This is called the Anatomical Adaptation phase, the point where your body is adapting to the new movements and stimulus. Even just getting one personal training session in during this phase to be sure you are on track with your form is going to be well worth the session.
  • Use caution while increasing weights. Cyclists frequently can quickly add weight to lower body lifts since leg muscles are already strong, but be sure you are not out running weight levels that are safe for the rest of your body to support. Your leg muscles may be ready to up the weight on your squat, but your back may not be ready to support adding more weight to the bar. Focusing on isolation here can help – doing one legged squats instead of standard both legs for example – will help keep weight manageable by not overloading your back, but keeping good challenge to the routine. while also adding the stability and balance.Keep your focus on maintaining balance and good form, rather than overloading yourself with weight. Poor form can allow you to cheat yourself from a proper workout, while also allowing you to add more weight at the same time – so you greatly induce risk of injury. Put your ego aside, lift manageable weight amounts, and always seek professional guidance when possible to ensure you are lifting safely.

These are some basic principles important for all cyclists and endurance athletes to keep in mind when including weights. There is a much larger discussion to be had here as well – different weight routines, repetitions, etc. The number of lifts you can choose from are endless, whether you have a few free weights, TRX, kettlebells, or fully stocked gym. Whatever your options, be sure your lifting follows these basic ideas to help keep your lifting on track with a routine that will help your cycling.

The details of a weight routine are typically going to vary from rider to rider depending on specific goals, if you have specific questions about weight training and how it may benefit you and your plan, please contact me and I am happy to help out! In my next post, I will cover some basic lifts to include that fit these criteria, but I wanted to start with the framework of what goes into a good plan for cyclists.
Usually once December rolls around, advice
I have a lot of people starting to talk to me about weight training and how it best plays into their training. There is some debate as to the benefits from weights and cycling, hospital
but overall it seems to be a greater benefit than hinderance to most athletes. Some of the benefits for cyclists include: increased power, improved joint stability, opportunity to improve muscle imbalances, weight bearing activity for bone density. For some people its just a good way to mix up their training as well and allow a bit of a break from being on the bike all the time, which many riders may find important to maintaining long run focus in training.

Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind as you look at what you want to include in a weight program. I think these are the key fundamentals in seeing just why strength fits into the season of an endurance athlete, and helps maintain your focus on the correct ideas when training.

Weight lifting is not our primary sport, it exists to support our primary sport. We want to use it in our training to achieve highly effective time spent for getting results in our primary sport. It is important to use strength training as a means for improving muscular power – this is the obvious thing most of us think of – but here are the other key components a good strength program is going to focus on:

  • Range of motion – it is very important to have healthy ranges of motion while lifting, so be sure you are flexible enough to safely lift properly. Most lifts out there take you through a full range of motion of whatever joint (or joints) are being focused on, but its good to keep in mind that achieving full range of motion while lifting is a major goal of most lifts. Ensure you are doing the full range of motion of the lifts, and not shortening the range.
  • Supporting muscle groups – you want to improve strength in primary movers for cycling, but it is very important to also focus on lifts that strengthen weak muscles underused in cycling.
  • Balance, stability, coordination – On the bike, we are so limited to a single plane of motion, with all of our motions being trapped into the pedal stroke. Including lifts that take you outside of this small area of movement is key for joint health and overall good health. Isolating lifts or lifts that require a bit of balance are especially helpful for cyclists and ensuring we are engaging multiple muscle groups.
  • Lift for better overall health and injury prevention – the goal with strength should not just to be in producing more power on the bike. Thats great and all, but its pretty hard to produce power if you have to take a month off in peak season to recover from a knee injury caused by weak glute activation. Get an evaluation from a personal trainer, coach or physical therapist to find out where your weak areas are. Take care of imbalances now, before something small and probably unnoticeable turns into an injury.
  • Ease into the lifts. The first few weeks should be focused on making sure you have correct form, and can safely do the range of motion for each lift. If you have issues, focus on stretching. This is called the Anatomical Adaptation phase, the point where your body is adapting to the new movements and stimulus. Even just getting one personal training session in during this phase to be sure you are on track with your form is going to be well worth the session.
  • Use caution while increasing weights. Cyclists frequently can quickly add weight to lower body lifts since leg muscles are already strong, but be sure you are not out running weight levels that are safe for the rest of your body to support. Your leg muscles may be ready to up the weight on your squat, but your back may not be ready to support adding more weight to the bar. Focusing on isolation here can help – doing one legged squats instead of standard both legs for example – will help keep weight manageable by not overloading your back, but keeping good challenge to the routine. This also adds stability and balance. Keep your focus on maintaining balance and good form, rather than overloading yourself with weight. Poor form can allow you to cheat yourself from a proper workout, while also allowing you to add more weight at the same time – so you greatly induce risk of injury. Put your ego aside, lift manageable weight amounts, and always seek professional guidance when possible to ensure you are lifting safely.

These are some basic principles important for all cyclists and endurance athletes to keep in mind when including weights. There is a much larger discussion to be had here as well – different weight routines, repetitions, etc. The number of lifts you can choose from are endless, whether you have a few free weights, TRX, kettlebells, or fully stocked gym. Whatever your options, be sure your lifting follows these basic ideas to help keep your lifting on track with a routine that will help your cycling.

The details of a weight routine are typically going to vary from rider to rider depending on specific goals, if you have specific questions about weight training and how it may benefit you and your plan, please contact me and I am happy to help out! In my next post, I will cover some basic lifts to include that fit these criteria, but I wanted to start with the framework of what goes into a good plan for cyclists.
Usually once December rolls around, check
I have a lot of people starting to talk to me about weight training and how it best plays into their training. There is some debate as to the benefits from weights and cycling, pilule but overall it seems to be a greater benefit than hinderance to most athletes. Some of the benefits for cyclists include: increased power, shop improved joint stability, opportunity to improve muscle imbalances, weight bearing activity for bone density. For some people its just a good way to mix up their training as well and allow a bit of a break from being on the bike all the time, which many riders may find important to maintaining long run focus in training.

Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind as you look at what you want to include in a weight program. I think these are the key fundamentals in seeing just why strength fits into the season of an endurance athlete, and helps maintain your focus on the correct ideas when training.

Weight lifting is not our primary sport, it exists to support our primary sport. We want to use it in our training to achieve highly effective time spent for getting results in our primary sport. It is important to use strength training as a means for improving muscular power – this is the obvious thing most of us think of – but here are the other key components a good strength program is going to focus on:

  • Range of motion – it is very important to have healthy ranges of motion while lifting, so be sure you are flexible enough to safely lift properly. Most lifts out there take you through a full range of motion of whatever joint (or joints) are being focused on, but its good to keep in mind that achieving full range of motion while lifting is a major goal of most lifts. Ensure you are doing the full range of motion of the lifts, and not shortening the range.
  • Supporting muscle groups – you want to improve strength in primary movers for cycling, but it is very important to also focus on lifts that strengthen weak muscles underused in cycling.
  • Balance, stability, coordination – On the bike, we are so limited to a single plane of motion, with all of our motions being trapped into the pedal stroke. Including lifts that take you outside of this small area of movement is key for joint health and overall good health. Isolating lifts or lifts that require a bit of balance are especially helpful for cyclists and ensuring we are engaging multiple muscle groups.
  • Lift for better overall health and injury prevention – the goal with strength should not just to be in producing more power on the bike. Thats great and all, but its pretty hard to produce power if you have to take a month off in peak season to recover from a knee injury caused by weak glute activation. Get an evaluation from a personal trainer, coach or physical therapist to find out where your weak areas are. Take care of imbalances now, before something small and probably unnoticeable turns into an injury.
  • Ease into the lifts. The first few weeks should be focused on making sure you have correct form, and can safely do the range of motion for each lift. If you have issues, focus on stretching. This is called the Anatomical Adaptation phase, the point where your body is adapting to the new movements and stimulus. Even just getting one personal training session in during this phase to be sure you are on track with your form is going to be well worth the session.
  • Use caution while increasing weights. Cyclists frequently can quickly add weight to lower body lifts since leg muscles are already strong, but be sure you are not out running weight levels that are safe for the rest of your body to support. Your leg muscles may be ready to up the weight on your squat, but your back may not be ready to support adding more weight to the bar. Focusing on isolation here can help – doing one legged squats instead of standard both legs for example – will help keep weight manageable by not overloading your back, but keeping good challenge to the routine. This also adds stability and balance. Keep your focus on maintaining balance and good form, rather than overloading yourself with weight. Poor form can allow you to cheat yourself from a proper workout, while also allowing you to add more weight at the same time – so you greatly induce risk of injury. Put your ego aside, lift manageable weight amounts, and always seek professional guidance when possible to ensure you are lifting safely.

These are some basic principles important for all cyclists and endurance athletes to keep in mind when including weights. There is a much larger discussion to be had here as well – different weight routines, repetitions, etc. The number of lifts you can choose from are endless, whether you have a few free weights, TRX, kettlebells, or fully stocked gym. Whatever your options, be sure your lifting follows these basic ideas to help keep your lifting on track with a routine that will help your cycling.

The details of a weight routine are typically going to vary from rider to rider depending on specific goals, if you have specific questions about weight training and how it may benefit you and your plan, please contact me and I am happy to help out! In my next post, I will cover some basic lifts to include that fit these criteria, but I wanted to start with the framework of what goes into a good plan for cyclists.
Usually once December rolls around, Breast
I have a lot of people starting to talk to me about weight training and how it best plays into their training. There is some debate as to the benefits from weights and cycling, medic
but overall it seems to be a greater benefit than hinderance to most athletes. Some of the benefits for cyclists include: increased power, improved joint stability, opportunity to improve muscle imbalances, weight bearing activity for bone density. For some people its just a good way to mix up their training as well and allow a bit of a break from being on the bike all the time, which many riders may find important to maintaining long run focus in training.

Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind as you look at what you want to include in a weight program. I think these are the key fundamentals in seeing just why strength fits into the season of an endurance athlete, and helps maintain your focus on the correct ideas when training.

Weight lifting is not our primary sport, it exists to support our primary sport. We want to use it in our training to achieve highly effective time spent for getting results in our primary sport. It is important to use strength training as a means for improving muscular power – this is the obvious thing most of us think of – but here are the other key components a good strength program is going to focus on:

  • Range of motion – it is very important to have healthy ranges of motion while lifting, so be sure you are flexible enough to safely lift properly. Most lifts out there take you through a full range of motion of whatever joint (or joints) are being focused on, but its good to keep in mind that achieving full range of motion while lifting is a major goal of most lifts. Ensure you are doing the full range of motion of the lifts, and not shortening the range.
  • Supporting muscle groups – you want to improve strength in primary movers for cycling, but it is very important to also focus on lifts that strengthen weak muscles underused in cycling.
  • Balance, stability, coordination – On the bike, we are so limited to a single plane of motion, with all of our motions being trapped into the pedal stroke. Including lifts that take you outside of this small area of movement is key for joint health and overall good health. Isolating lifts or lifts that require a bit of balance are especially helpful for cyclists and ensuring we are engaging multiple muscle groups.
  • Lift for better overall health and injury prevention – the goal with strength should not just to be in producing more power on the bike. Thats great and all, but its pretty hard to produce power if you have to take a month off in peak season to recover from a knee injury caused by weak glute activation. Get an evaluation from a personal trainer, coach or physical therapist to find out where your weak areas are. Take care of imbalances now, before something small and probably unnoticeable turns into an injury.
  • Ease into the lifts. The first few weeks should be focused on making sure you have correct form, and can safely do the range of motion for each lift. If you have issues, focus on stretching. This is called the Anatomical Adaptation phase, the poing where your body is adapting to the new movements and stimulus. Even just getting one personal training session in during this phase to be sure you are on track with your form is going to be well worth the session.
  • Use caution while increasing weights. Cyclists frequently can quickly add weight to lower body lifts feeling like its easy, but be sure you are not out running weight levels that are safe for the rest of your body to support. Your leg muscles may be ready to up the weight on your squat, but your back may not be up to strength to support adding more weight to the bar. Focusing on isolation here can help – doing one legged squats instead of standard both legs for example – will help keep weight manageable by not overloading your back but keeping good challenge to the routine, while also adding the stability and balance.Keep your focus on maintaining balance and good form, rather than overloading yourself with weight. Poor form can allow you to cheat yourself from a proper workout, while also allowing you to add more weight at the same time – so you greatly induce risk of injury. Put your ego aside, lift manageable weight amounts, and always seek professional guidance when possible to ensure you are lifting safely.

These are some basic principles important for all cyclists and endurance athletes to keep in mind when including weights. There is a much larger discussion to be had here as well – different weight routines, repetitions, etc. The number of lifts you can choose from are endless, whether you have a few free weights, TRX, kettlebells, or fully stocked gym. Whatever your options, be sure your lifting follows these basic ideas to help keep your lifting on track with a routine that will help your cycling.

The details of a weight routine are typically going to vary from rider to rider depending on specific goals, if you have specific questions about weight training and how it may benefit you and your plan, please contact me and I am happy to help out! In my next post, I will cover some basic lifts to include that fit these criteria, but I wanted to start with the framework of what goes into a good plan for cyclists.
Usually once December rolls around, erectile
I have a lot of people starting to talk to me about weight training and how it best plays into their training. There is some debate as to the benefits from weights and cycling, pancreatitis
but overall it seems to be a greater benefit than hinderance to most athletes. Some of the benefits for cyclists include: increased power, improved joint stability, opportunity to improve muscle imbalances, weight bearing activity for bone density. For some people its just a good way to mix up their training as well and allow a bit of a break from being on the bike all the time, which many riders may find important to maintaining long run focus in training.

 

Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind as you look at what you want to include in a weight program. I think these are the key fundamentals in seeing just why strength fits into the season of an endurance athlete, and helps maintain your focus on the correct ideas when training.

 

Weight lifting is not our primary sport, it exists to support our primary sport. We want to use it in our training to achieve highly effective time spent for getting results in our primary sport. It is important to use strength training as a means for improving muscular power – this is the obvious thing most of us think of – but here are the other key components a good strength program is going to focus on:

 

  • Range of motion – it is very important to have healthy ranges of motion while lifting, so be sure you are flexible enough to safely lift properly. Most lifts out there take you through a full range of motion of whatever joint (or joints) are being focused on, but its good to keep in mind that achieving full range of motion while lifting is a major goal of most lifts. Ensure you are doing the full range of motion of the lifts, and not shortening the range.

 

  • Supporting muscle groups – you want to improve strength in primary movers for cycling, but it is very important to also focus on lifts that strengthen weak muscles underused in cycling.

 

  • Balance, stability, coordination – On the bike, we are so limited to a single plane of motion, with all of our motions being trapped into the pedal stroke. Including lifts that take you outside of this small area of movement is key for joint health and overall good health. Isolating lifts or lifts that require a bit of balance are especially helpful for cyclists and ensuring we are engaging multiple muscle groups.

 

  • Lift for better overall health and injury prevention – the goal with strength should not just to be in producing more power on the bike. Thats great and all, but its pretty hard to produce power if you have to take a month off in peak season to recover from a knee injury caused by weak glute activation. Get an evaluation from a personal trainer, coach or physical therapist to find out where your weak areas are. Take care of imbalances now, before something small and probably unnoticeable turns into an injury.

 

  • Ease into the lifts. The first few weeks should be focused on making sure you have correct form, and can safely do the range of motion for each lift. If you have issues, focus on stretching. This is called the Anatomical Adaptation phase, the poing where your body is adapting to the new movements and stimulus. Even just getting one personal training session in during this phase to be sure you are on track with your form is going to be well worth the session.

 

  • Use caution while increasing weights. Cyclists frequently can quickly add weight to lower body lifts feeling like its easy, but be sure you are not out running weight levels that are safe for the rest of your body to support. Your leg muscles may be ready to up the weight on your squat, but your back may not be up to strength to support adding more weight to the bar. Focusing on isolation here can help – doing one legged squats instead of standard both legs for example – will help keep weight manageable by not overloading your back but keeping good challenge to the routine, while also adding the stability and balance.Keep your focus on maintaining balance and good form, rather than overloading yourself with weight. Poor form can allow you to cheat yourself from a proper workout, while also allowing you to add more weight at the same time – so you greatly induce risk of injury. Put your ego aside, lift manageable weight amounts, and always seek professional guidance when possible to ensure you are lifting safely.

 

These are some basic principles important for all cyclists and endurance athletes to keep in mind when including weights. There is a much larger discussion to be had here as well – different weight routines, repetitions, etc. The number of lifts you can choose from are endless, whether you have a few free weights, TRX, kettlebells, or fully stocked gym. Whatever your options, be sure your lifting follows these basic ideas to help keep your lifting on track with a routine that will help your cycling.

 

The details of a weight routine are typically going to vary from rider to rider depending on specific goals, if you have specific questions about weight training and how it may benefit you and your plan, please contact me and I am happy to help out! In my next post, I will cover some basic lifts to include that fit these criteria, but I wanted to start with the framework of what goes into a good plan for cyclists.
February is a time when people are usually starting get pretty comfortable on their road bikes. There has been a break for the cross racers to get some recovery after their season. Road racers have had a good long off season, site
and most people have been roped into the base mile bandwagon – whether they have big mile aspirations themselves, sick
or are just along for the ride with their teammates and friends for some January bike adventures. As we come into February, the urge to start adding in higher intensity and race miles becomes a constant temptation. But before you start really adding in intensity, there are a couple of things you should consider before moving on with higher intensity to be sure you are ready. Most people need a few more weeks of base and aerobic conditioning before they are really ready to add in intensity. Both for the time of year, and in general with where peoples self perceptions are. Hopefully these pointers will help give you some direction while allow you to check in with where you are at.

The first thing to think about is going to be timing of your goal events. You need 8-12 weeks of intensity to develop some good top end that is race ready. Going more than that can be OK in some instances, but for most people, it is going to just add in additional fatigue. If you still have gains to be made at lower intensity training, moving into higher intensity training too soon is ultimately going to to limit your potential.

Secondly, you want to be sure you have maximized gains at a lower intensity before moving into higher intensity training whenever possible. If you can make good progress with lower intensity training, you are gaining lots of ground while avoiding unnecessary fatigue and training stress which could catch up to you later in the season leading to over training, early peaking or even injury.

When trying to assess whether or not you still have room to improve on base level aerobic fitness, here are a couple of benchmarks you can use to help assess where you are at, and should be sure to meet before moving onto higher intensity:

  • Completed 8-12 weeks of training focused on zone 2, zone 3 aerobic intervals. Steadily building on time through this period to ensure you can comfortably sustain steady high aerobic rides(High zone 2) with relatively few breaks or rests in pedaling through the ride.
  • Intensity – you should be able to sustain several blocks of high aerobic intervals(Commonly called Zone 3 or tempo by most coaches/training methods) Totaling up to 40min to 60min on a ride. Being able to physically achieve this at a relatively comfortable rate of perceived exertion is one key goal to ensure you hit.
  • If looking at power and heart rate on your training rides, do a power test. From there find your FTP and appropriate zones as set based on this effort. Look at the longest race you have for a season, you should be able to sustain the upper reaches of your zone 2 as based by power through the ride, without your heart rate extended/drifting up into zone 3 by the end of the ride in order to sustain this pacing by power. If you find your heart rate rising through the ride, so that while riding in zone 2 power, but heart rate is into zone 3 levels, you will likely benefit from continued training in base zones and aerobic intervals. Be aware, dehydration, food intake and overall stress can also affect this, so be sure you take care of yourself out there – both for adequate assessment, and ensuring you are properly supporting your rides to train to your potential.

This last principle is known as cardiac drift, or also decoupling – the separation of heart rate and power. Cardiac drift/decoupling are good indicators of fatigue building through the ride, as well as aerobic fitness. Also, strive to achieve high quality miles as much as you can through base. This is especially true if your training indicators are showing signs that continued work on base would be beneficial. I would define quality training base miles as meeting the following ideals:

  • Very few breaks in pedaling. This means not soft pedaling down backsides of hills, maintaining steady pacing up and over a hill – I frequently see people sprint up a short roller, doubling their power on the climb, to only coast or soft pedal down the backside. Over the course of a long ride, this is putting numerous breaks into the ride, and really breaks up the aerobic conditioning. Removing these small breaks – even with the preceding efforts – will make the ride much more quality and often times more challenging for most riders.
  • Maintain zone 2 pacing that is appropriate to YOU for a ride. This means skipping the group rides and ensuring you are putting in some long miles on your own, dedicated solely to the pacing needed to meet your personal zones. Constant training slightly outside of your ideal training zones is not meeting your potential.
  • A good goal to work for, is trying to see how high you can get your average power for a ride, without EVER allowing your power to raise above zone 2 for the ride. Be sure your power meter averages the zeros into your average or else you a cheating! This ensures that every little pause you have in your pedaling is going to affect your average power and help keep you on the gas providing consistent pedaling and good, steady consistent aerobic work. You will find that working towards this will really make an endurance ride that may have seemed easy previously due to time or route, may suddenly become very challenging. Just be sure you are doing this in a safe manor – watch descents, traffic signals and general safety of whats in the road, and not just staring at your power unyielding to risks. You will also find this may change what constitutes as a good route for base miles – stop signs, intersections, long descents, or insanely steep climbs can all negatively impact your training by causing breaks in the ride or forcing you into intensities that are too hard for the period.

When setting up your season, a quality base is going to ensure you reach your potential. Hopefully these pointers will help you in assessing where you are at, give you goals to focus on in training sessions and aid in your assessment of determining when you need to begin adding in additional intensity.