by Stephen Gallagher, Dig Deep Coaching Head Coach
Vacation, kids off for the summer, demands in work or perhaps reduced motivation for the bike, all can play their part at this time of the year. This is where the importance of CONSISTENCY comes into play even more so.
So you have been committing to getting out on the bike each week. Your feeling great on the bike, climbs seem not as tough as before, your now taking turns at the front in the fast group of your local club or perhaps you completed your first sportive and now have got the bug. We all understand that priorities must be given to lifestyle factors like family and a well deserved holiday, but momentum must still be there to get on two wheels and maintain your development as an athlete (yip you are one!). Those hard earned gains made over the winter and spring months can be lost in 6 weeks of inactivity during the summer. Furthermore it will put you back further when focussing on your 2014 goals and getting to work on them. It doesn’t stop. Consistency and year round development. As vital to think like this as it is to stay hydrated when on a bike.
Competitive: Midweek club races or local criterium’s can be a perfect way to maintain intensity developed. Focusing on Vo2 and anaerobic efforts are intensities which play a vital role in the ability to sprint over the top of a hill, attack the bunch or go for the win in a sprint finish. Maintaining this is key to your ability to perform to your full potential at any upcoming event. The mid-week races or perhaps the local chain gang ride can provide some of these intensities which can be an easier way to perform these efforts. A focused training session in these areas are not enjoyable, which I think we would all agree, but none the less essential, so by maintaining this intensity via other forms other than a structured training session is a great way to build and maintain fitness. For those of you who do not have the availability to ride local mid-week races or chain gangs you can find some sessions and information at this article Are you Training to be Race Ready?
Non-Competitive: Maintain your aerobic base by completing regular training rides. even at a lower volume is important. Focused rides of 1-2hrs will keep muscle memory and maintain a metabolism that will help you plateau your fitness before another build phase towards an upcoming event or sportive that you have in your sights. Allowing your body to ‘tick over’ with short rides will allow you to keep a solid fitness base so when you what to raise your game again that platform is there to start from.
We also have to contend with very changeable weather which is a real influence in our ability to ride and also on our immune system. With different temperatures and weather systems that hit the UK and Ireland we are very susceptible to illness and allergies such as hay fever. Cycling and triathlon are sports that cannot be performed indoors for the majority so we are always battling the elements. The eagerness to come back quickly from illness can be more of a hindrance than assistance at times with re-lapses of illness are a prolonging to full recovery, all of which we want to avoid. A great guide can be found at ‘Get Back to Training From Illness’. It can be very frustrating watching the sun shining from behind a window dreaming of a bike ride or run on your favourite roads or trails. Don’t let this over eagerness hinder you from making the right decisions to get back to full health and fitness the quickest and best way possible.
The summer months can be a pivotal point in not only your development in the short term but also for longer term goals, don’t let this opportunity slip past you.
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Stephen Gallagher, the Dig Deep Coaching Head Coach, is an Irish professional cyclist, who last rode for the British continental cycling team Sigma Sport-Specialized. He previously rode for the An Post-M.Donnelly-Grant Thornton-Sean Kelly Team team. His most notable wins include the FBD Rás Tour of Ireland in 2008, Tour of Taiwan and he has represented his country at the Commonwealth Games as part of the Road World Championship winning team.
Dig Deep Coaching (formerly Forme Coaching) provides unrivalled complete coaching solutions from specific coaching packages to an array of sports professional services. includes sports massage, sports nutrition, performance testing, powermeter rental, professional RETUL bike fit and more!
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