Month: January 2015

Trainer Road update

trainerroadlogoI thought I should post and update on my use of Trainer Road and my progress since my first post on my beginning to use it.

Earlier this week I finished up my first 6 week training plan, the Sweet Spot Base – Mid Volume I, and have started on my second 6 week plan, the Sweet Spot Base – Mid Volume II. I have been fairly religious in my schedule and only had a few instances where I needed to shuffle days mostly due to holidays and other events.

To say that I have seen an improvement would be an understatement. Towards the end of the first 6 weeks I could feel things getting easier and sure enough when I took my second FTP test as the beginning of this week I made a 10% improvement in my power output over my first test! Of course now with an increased FTP the workouts just got that much harder and I’m definitely suffering more on the harder workouts but it’s worth it knowing it is making me stronger on the bike.

Now I can’t honestly say that all that 10% was done just on training alone since I may have left a little on the table during my first FTP test since it was my first time testing like that and really wasn’t sure what type of power I could put out consistently for 2×8 minutes or the fact that I have fine tuned my position on the bike ever so slightly – funny how 1-3hrs in the saddle will lead you to improvements. But the fact is that the majority of my gains came though¬†my hard work and time in the saddle.

Some of you may ask what has been the hardest part of the training so far… Isolated Leg Training or ILT’s as they are referred to. This is where you unclip one foot and just work on pedaling with one leg at a time. It’s hard, trust me. My left leg is the weakest so that one always burns sooner than the right but like my FTP gains I am able to pedal 15-20 seconds longer than I was at the beginning which is almost at the same duration as the right leg.

What is my favorite part of the training you ask? Either it’s Form Sprints where you produce a very high cadence for a short period of time (and it’s been at low power so far) and watch your form. You don’t want to pedal faster than you can without bouncing or knocking. Or my other favorite is the standing drills where you practice getting out of the saddle while keeping constant power. This requires a slowing of your cadence, changing of gears and smooth transitions out and back into the saddle. Depending on the workout sometimes they are 10 seconds or upwards of a minute. On the real long rides these are my favorite just because it provides me some saddle relief. ūüôā

So all in all even though I haven’t been able to get outside on the bike thanks to Mother Nature, I’m still getting in some quality saddle time thanks to Trainer Road. It has really transformed my off season riding.

I can touch my toes!

For my whole life I have never been able to touch my toes. I have often been told that it was because of tight hamstrings but I never really thought much of it as it really didn’t affect my daily exercise and activities. In my effort to become a better cyclist I have been stretching after my rides to stay flexible but even after months of stretching my hamstrings I was no closer to touching my toes than I was on day 1. ¬†I started to research the subject and as it turns out my issue isn’t with tight hamstrings after all it’s with not properly bending at my hips and instead trying to bend at my lower back. The “fix” is easy as a specific set of stretching exercises that had me¬†touching¬†my toes in a matter of minutes. Basically the progression is retraining your brain/body into accepting it can do this. This video explains the progression¬†very well:

 

In case you are a skeptic here is another video showing how it works on someone who could not touch their toes beforehand.

 

Now I still have some tight hamstrings but I can at least touch my toes now.  I still need to do the progressions after a day or so but that should subside once I retrain my body.

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