The Markets are Getting in the Way

October 9, 2008

The past month has not been very easy.  In fact it has been the most incredibly intense month of my career; I am an analyst at an investment management firm.  I don’t make healthy choices when I’m under stress, and a 20% decline in a couple weeks is definitely stress inducing. 

So how am I doing on my short term goals for October, which are my first step towards Flanders next April?

1)Master the Breathing Techniques set forth in Cyclo-Secrets.  I am progressing well here.  I actually work on many of the breathing techniques in my car on my commute to the office in the morning.  I have to work on other breathing techniques when I look at my quote screen!

2)Concentrate on nutrition by focusing on meal planning.  Not happening.  Not good.  My weight is negatively correlated with the markets: when they go down, it seems my weight goes the other direction!

3) Increase upper body and back strength  I haven’t done as much as I has hoped.  I was hoping to hit the gym a few times a week to work on my upper body and back.  I think I have gotten there two times to work on strength training.

4) don’t neglect my core!  I have been doing my core workouts: short and intense.  I have been able to fit them in around everything else.  hurray.

I did have a chance to do a yoga workout last night, and that felt great.  I am glad Graeme taught me the benefits of yoga, I have really come to enjoy doing it!!

Also on a positive note, I am going away for the weekend with my cycling buddies.  We have rented a house in central PA and are looking forward to doing some low-key autumn riding on unfamiliar roads!

The ‘Easy’ Group Ride

October 4, 2008

It’s not easy to Transition.  I am into my second week of the Transition Training Plan, and religiously doing my breathing exercises and working on my core strength.  But what’s not easy, is the “Easy Ride” Coach Lyman prescribes.  I went on a group ride today.  I love group rides; I love my riding buddies.  But we road a little harder than ‘easy.’  I got in some easy riding too, but I would have to say that more than 10% of the ride was above zone 2.  In fact much of the ride was above zone two.  Well, I have been doing well otherwise, so I won’t let it bother me. 

The ride was beautiful, it was so gorgeous today in south-eastern PA.  I ended up riding 86 miles in about 4:45.  After the ride I completed a core workout and the myofascial release program.  Wow it’s great!  My left hip is so much tighter than my right, so I spend extra time on my left side.  And it hurts!  But that just means I need to work on it more.  I really do enjoy completing the myofascial release.

Tomorrow I plan on running a charity-5k with my wife, then off to fulfill family obligations.  So I will be off my bike.

GO PHILLIES!!

Change of Plans – Make Do Best You Can

October 2, 2008

I wrote yesterday about how much I loved riding my fixie.  And I couldn’t wait to ride it tonight, but alas, that didn’t happen.  Between work and the sketchy weather though, I didn’t have a chance to get in my planned ride.  I’m dissapointed, but I made do and got in some workouts targeted at meeting my goals.  

Today I worked on my breathing techniques, myofascial release (dang my left hip flexor is tight!!), a core workout, and spent 30 minutes on the elliptical machine.  So despite the change in plans due to mother nature and still think I had a very productive day in working towards my goals.

I did stumble on my nutrition with dinner though!  We met a friend at “On the Border” restaurant, I LOVE MEXICAN, and I ate way to many chips!!

Long Term Goal: Just a Bunch of Short Term Goals

October 2, 2008

There is a quick tip in Cyclo-Club this week dedicated to setting short term goals.  “Short-term goals complete your long term goal.”  You all know that my long-term goal: be in the best shape of my life for the Ronde van Vlaanderen sportiff and specifically increase my explosive power.”  

My goal is about six months away, so I will only get there by focusing on many short-term goals.  Last month, my unstated short term goal: get back into core training after a summer of neglect.  Well, I focused on it and quickly made meaningful strides in my core fitness.  In fact, see my earlier post on the plank

One of my short-term goals for the month of October: Master the Breathing Techniques set forth in Cyclo-Secrets. 

Second short-term goal for October: Concentrate on nutrition by focusing on meal planning.

Third short-term goal for October: Increase upper body and back strength

And last but not least, don’t neglect my core!

Fixed Gear: Steady as She Goes

October 1, 2008
 

Part of the Cycle-Core Transition Plan I am following requires doing several “easy to steady” rides per week.  It’s hard to do an “easy to steady” ride!!  I want to go fast every time I get on my bike.  But that is not the way to improve!  You have to take time to let your body relax and recoup.  

One way I am accomplishing this goal is to take my fix gear bike on the beautiful autumn nights.  No gears, no cycle-computer, no problem.  I am just there to have fun.   Riding a fix gear is a completely different experience from your road bike and a great way to change up your routine, keep things fresh, and reach your goals!

After writing this I can’t wait to ride my fixie tomorrow night after work.  See you out there

 The Specialized Langster Fixed Gear

The Specialized Langster Fixed Gear

!

Plank… Next Stop 2:30

September 30, 2008

Currently I am in the Transition phase of my training plan… Taking some time to get the body ready for the hard work that is going to come this winter.  I have been working on breathing techniques from “Secrets” and I will talk more about that later. 

But tonight I just wanted to say that the core training I have been doing is paying off.  For the first time tonight, after doing the Cyclo-Core Ab workout, I held the plank position for a little over 2 minutes.  Now that I have held it this long, there is no where to go but a little over 2 and a half minutes!

Failing on Nutrition… Try, Try, Again.

September 26, 2008

 

My largest stumbling block to becoming a better cyclist is my nutrition.  No matter how hard I try, I can’t stay dedicated to eating healthy.  My sweet tooth always seems to win out in the war of wills.  I have always had the hardest time eating well during the in-season.  When I am riding lots, it is easy for me to justify poor eating decisions.  And when I start riding less it is easier for me to watch my diet and nutrition.  I know, I am mental.
 
Now that I am in the Transition Phase of my training and riding much less, I need to focus more diligently on my intake.  Historically, I will do well for a couple days in a row, and then fail miserably and go a week piling empty calories into my system before I get back on track.
 
I am trying as best I can to follow the precepts set forward in “Fuel.”  I am shopping the outside of the grocery store and loading up on fruits and veggies and trying to shun white breads and processed foods. 
 
I always feel better after following a healthy diet for a few days.  Now only if I could string it together for more than a few days in a row!

A consultation with Graeme Street: Investing in my fitness

September 24, 2008

I just got done speaking with Graeme Street from Cyclo-Club.  I wanted to give him a call and ask his advice on training towards my goal of riding in Flanders.  I had very quick and easy access to Graeme through the “platinum consults” benefit I receive by being a platinum member of Cyclo-Club. 
 
It was a very positive experience!  He said much of what I expected him to say, which is a testament to his consistent message over the past several years I have been following his advice.  Here is his advice in a nutshell:

  • Riding miles for miles sake will do nothing to help me reach my goals.  (Duh, but I need to hear that!!  I love riding so much that sometimes I do ride just for the sake of riding.)  Over the winter months it is much easier to focus in on specific training meant to meet your goals.  So this will be easier to accomplish over the next 6 months before Flanders.
  • There is no need to introduce explosive/power exercises into my routine now.  These workouts only need to be introduced within the last 6-10 weeks of my goal date. 
  • I need to invest in my fitness now by doing the 6 week transition plan.  I am going to use the “Secrets” program in order to develop better breathing techniques etc.  This should be very beneficial to me as I move on to high intensity training.
  • I need to focus on developing rock solid core strength and back flexibility.  I enjoy doing these workouts and often mix things up by randomly picking core workouts from different series to do each time.  Although I often fail towards the end of some of these workouts, I love them.  When I first started, I had trouble holding the plank position even after the easiest of workouts.  But my core has gotten incredibly stronger doing these workouts and I look forward to further improvement.
  • Layer on the Fitness:  After the transition plan I am going to embark on the Advanced 12 wk off-season plan.  The plan as of now will be to introduce the “cyclo impossible” workouts once a month during this phase of my training.

Graeme suggested that reconvene on my training progress sometime in late November.  At this time I will be beginning the off-season plan and together we can make sure I am on target and meeting my goals. 
 
Here is how my training schedule looks to be shaping up based on my consult with Graeme:

  • 26-21 weeks to go: 6 Week Transition Plan – Enjoy the fall rides I have scheduled and begin sprinkling in some core workouts in addition to the planned workouts.  Focus on improved breathing efficiency.  Also do more Yoga and some upper-body strength training.
  • 20-9 weeks to go: Advanced Off-Season Season Training Plan.  Once a month try to complete Cyclo-Impossible.  Consult with Graeme during this period again.
  • 8-2 weeks to go: Build Using Advanced In-Season Training Plan and doing exercised focused on explosive power. 
  • 1 week to go: Peak
  • Target – the Tour of Flanders!

The Beginning of the Every Day Cyclist Challenge: Setting a Goal

September 20, 2008

September 20, 2008

In about six months I plan on riding the Ronde Van Vlaanderen voor wielertoeristen (The Tour of Flanders Cyclosportif)!!  It takes place the day before the pro race, on Saturday April 4th. 

My long-term goal for the Everday Cyclist Challenge is to be in the best shape of my life for this very difficult ride.   Since I have never ridden the Rondebefore, I don’t have a benchmark to use or a specific time that I want to surpass.  I do want to be at my best, and over the winter improve on some of my weaknesses. For this type of ride, which has many steep climbs, many withcobbled sections, I really need to increase my explosive power.  As Paul Sherwin would describe it, I am the type of rider with a big diesel engine (although not very big at all).  I do not have the explosive kick I would like, or what I will need to make it up and over the bergs of Flander.  And of course I will work on bringing down my weight.  My goal weight is 172lbs and I have about 10 to lose.  Additionally, one of my weaknesses (as withmany cyclists) is upper body strength, I only have upper body weakness.  Aside from rounding out my overall fitness, increasing my upper body strength will definitely help me with the short punchy climbs.

In the coming weeks I will work on specific plan to reach my goals.  I have plenty of time to reach my goals, which means I have lots of time to really gain a lot of fitness.  But I do want to finish out the end of this season and a relax a little before I get deep into a specific training regimen.  As a start, since I will not be riding during the week much anymore, I will start to rebuild my core fitness and functional strength by spending a couple nights a week doing Core/Zen/Speed workouts. 

I am so excited to be able to head over to Flanders next year.  And I hope that this blog and the Everyday Cyclist Challenge will keep me motivated to be at my best next April!!