Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Summer Grind

            Welcome to the summer portion of the year. If you’re in the northern Maine area, enjoy it because we typically have about two weeks of actual summer.  The longer the days are the longer the training sessions are. There is not very much for news and that may be a good thing. Training has been going well. Each week has an objective to it; one that always ends with fatigue. It’s just a matter of how you get that point.
            The bulk of my training is just volume and distance. In some ways, these are the easiest sessions. This is only true until it’s the last hour of a five hour ride at the end of 23 hour week. The real trick to this sort of day is giving yourself a goal. In the spring the goal was to find moose antlers.  Despite not having any success it was enough to occupy me. The woods roads around here are endless as I have yet to chart the whole thing. At the rate of one flat bike tire week it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
At least he's not on the roller loop. 
            This week is a high intensity week. What that translates into is less overall training, but more training in the race zone effort. The goal is to cram as many hard efforts into a five or six day span that you can. The extra time compared to a volume that these weeks grant me is a fair trade off. The catch is that if I’m not on my hands and knees by the end of at least two training sessions it’s not considered a success. While this kind of training is not my favorite, if done correctly, it’s the most effective towards race season.
You don't need a world class range to have decent grouping.
            Last week was for recovery. The normal cycle is three weeks on and one week off. Without some time dedicated towards rest the effect of training is lost. Naturally this sort of thing varies per athlete. By the end of the three weeks I’m usually clinging to the railing when walking upstairs to offload the use of my legs. At that point, you can understand why a seven day stretch to relax physically and mental is needed.
You looking at some exercise nerd stuff from a hard day on the treadmill.
            That was just a small piece of some of the training ideas that biathletes use. You can spend a lot of time mulling over what a training plan should look like. This is important, and in my opinion, more of a limiting factor than natural talent. Nevertheless, talking about training doesn’t actually make you any faster. Doing the training, is what moves you up the result list. That’s why I did nine two by two minute running intervals this morning at max effort. It was good quality and the best part was when it was done. Aside from a bit windy and rainy the summer has been entertaining. I’m happy to be done with an online class. Lately it seems, there is never a dull weekend. While training is very plentiful and fatiguing it’s there is always a reason to stay motivated. 

Rhubarb! It's not just for stacking! 

No flat tires that day! What a convenience. 
The wind is down! There is no rain! Quickly everyone go outside!

Good old range flag. Always there to soak up 20 seconds for the first one to show up to morning training.