Why Sweet Spot?

A common thread in many of our early-season workouts is Sweet Spot training. There are many benefits to this type of work, but the primary reason we include it is because it offers most of the benefits of threshold training while allowing for faster recovery over threshold work. Read More

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How to Prepare for Any Race

One of the great things about endurance sports is there is a flavor for everyone. Do you like going long? No problem. Dirty Kanza, Ride Across Wisconsin and Ironman are probably right up your alley. Love slogging away for infinitesimal gains? Time trials and triathlons provide the outlet you’re looking for. Are you an anaerobic anomaly? Look no further than your local criterium or the velodrome. The wide range of endurance activities (all of these including the bike, of course) might make you think that everyone needs to train in vastly different ways. Read More

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Practice Makes You Perfect…or at Least Better

Endurance sports and competition require a lot of practice. The amount of time spent preparing for even a single event dwarfs the actual duration of the event. This huge volume of training is necessary, not only to develop the physical reserves to handle the demands of the event, but also to train the body in efficient movement patterns to maximize economy. When it comes to competition, it’s never quite the same as training. Read More

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There is No Normal

Math is great. Most of us probably take for granted how important it is in our daily lives. Behind all of our fancy cars, computers and mobile devices are complex equations designed to make our lives simpler. Read More

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How Much Should This Hurt?

Take your pick of cliché statements from motivational posters. In order to improve athletic performance, you have to exceed your previous limits to induce new change. But by how much do you need to exceed those limits? Put another way, how much should it hurt? The stimulus for growth can come from time, intensity or frequency of training. This is only the stimulus. Real growth occurs during recovery as the body responds to the stresses that were placed upon it in an attempt to gird itself against future assaults. If the stimulus imposed is too drastic, or rest is inadequate, you will overwhelm the body’s ability to respond and adapt. Read More

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Where Do We Use FTP?

Most have likely encountered the term “FTP” in training parlance. The acronym stands for Functional Threshold Power and refers to maximum effort you could produce over an effort of roughly one hour. In comparison to a laboratory blood lactate test, FTP is a representation of work you can actually do, rather than analysis of physiological markers that correspond to a certain level of performance. Read More

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VQ & You: Tony Lakier

I received an e-mail from Dave Noda, asking me and other VQers to share our VQ stories. My immediate reaction: why should I? I am out of action, I have a broken hip! (My son gave me the t-shirt I am wearing as a write this. Emblazed on the front is: “I broke my hip saving my bike from being damaged by black ice on the road.”) Read More

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Successfully Introducing Strength Training

The fall is a time for many things. It marks the end of the race season for many athletes, a transition to slightly less focus and a shift in workout emphasis. During the season, it’s important to work on limiters--areas that specifically detract from your ability to perform in your goal races. In the off-season, that focus should shift toward addressing weaknesses--areas that don’t necessarily limit your performance, but are out of balance with the rest of your fitness profile. You all know the adage about the weakest link. Addressing limiters helps to improve the areas in which you’re already strong by creating a stronger overall system. One area that is a common limiter is functional strength. Read More

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What Am I Looking At?

Technology has pervaded nearly every aspect of our lives. We constantly have our phones, tablets, computers and a variety of other accessories--and all the information they contain--right at our fingertips. As has been the case for the past several years, the same is true for athletics and more and more athletes, from beginning to experienced, are adopting technology as part of their training. Read More

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Creating Harmony in Your Group

By their very nature, most cycling group rides are an exercise in chaos, hopefully a controlled chaos, but chaos nonetheless. Riders of different goals, backgrounds and fitness levels come together and are probably all looking for something different out of the experience. Often, there is no clear-cut outline of “what” the ride actually is, which is why factions can sometimes form in these groups. Under dire circumstances, splinter groups move away in different directions and the original group dissolves from lack of attendance or interest. Read More

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