Sunday, 16 March 2014

3 and 5 Dams Challenge - Training Week #11

Welcome to Training Week #11.

This week, I wanted to cover some of the dangers of training at the level we have reached. Although it is unlikely that any of you will encounter any of these issues during this twelve week training program, you should certainly be aware of some of the risks that we as athletes may face when training at consistently high intensity and how to identify the signs that you may be doing too much. Two conditions that we may encounter are overreaching and overtraining. Both of these conditions can quickly ruin the hard work that we put in to conditioning ourselves for a specific event such as the Dams Challenge.

Before I get into the week's details, I wanted to say that since posting last week's training I've had a number of readers of this blog approach and thank me for sharing these training guides. Some have suggested they have done their own thing based on these sessions while others have followed these guides as best they can. Receiving such feedback is fantastic and if they have been useful to you, I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to leave any comments or feedback including anything you think I could have included or done better. If you have any questions, then please post in the comments and I will endeavour to answer as best I can.

Of the two conditions I raised in my introduction this week, overreaching is the least damaging to our fitness and form and usually lasts only a couple of days or possibly up to a week depending on the intensity of training you have kept up. Overreaching is the body's way of telling you that it is having trouble keeping up with the demands that you are putting on it and are unlikely taking enough recovery days. It is vital that you identify the signs of overreaching early and step back the intensity of your training efforts and allow the body to recover. The best way to achieve this is usually to take an unscheduled rest week which may include staying off the bike several days in a row. You will not lose fitness during this time and any form loss will be minimal by comparison to that lost if you continue to train hard.

Symptoms of overreaching may include irritability, difficulty sleeping, alterations to your HR levels (including resting HR), consistent thirst, lack of motivation and difficulty in maintaining high intensity training, among others. Performing a quick Google search on the topic will reveal more information and if you feel you may be suffering from a number of these, then consider taking a rest. You would be better served to take the time off than to continue and cause more serious damage.

The second and more severe condition you may encounter is overtraining. It is highly unlikely that you would encounter this condition during this training program as it usually entails prolonged periods of overreaching. An athlete suffering from overtraining can find themselves experiencing an amplified level of the symptoms of overreaching for much longer periods of time and may even require some months off the bike in order to properly recover. Overtraining is often attracted by prolonged periods of overreaching with a significantly out-of-balance work/recovery ratio.

Symptoms of overtraining are often similar to that of overreaching however are often far more pronounced or extreme. It is also possible that a person suffering from overtraining can have trouble with body movement and coordination but possibly one of the most obvious symptoms is the complete inability to perform during training exercises. Recovering from overtraining can possibly take months and a visit to a GP or Doctor would be highly recommended to help coordinate a return to training.

Again, a quick Google search on either of these two topics will provide plenty of information on the two conditions. It is important that you identify the symptoms of overreaching and address the condition immediately to prevent going into overtraining. If you feel you may be encountering a number of these symptoms, consult your coach or a GP/Doctor to help guide you through a recovery. If you have been following these training guides and sticking to the recovery periods but still feel a little fatigued, it is unlikely you are overreaching and are just feeling the usual effect of hard training.

This week, we are going to level off the increases in intensity and volume of our training to ensure that we don't attract any of the symptoms of overreaching. To this end, we will repeat the same sessions as last week (week #10). This is still at a significant intensity and you should complete the sessions to the same degree as you did last week which will help the body to properly adapt to these sessions. Next week, we will raise the intensity and volume one final time before we look at tapering our training in time for the event.

Once again, for some of the longer and harder rides during this training block, I'd advise you to pack some gels and/or a banana or two to help you get through and definitely two bidons of water or hydration mix to keep you well hydrated and to help stay off any cramping - not just for when you venture out into the hills for longer rides, but also for some of the mid-week sessions. Another good one to pack in your jersey pocket are Fruit Crash-ups or Power Pulps from SPC (you can find these pouches of energy at any IGA). These come with a twist-top cap so you don't have to consume the entire thing in one hit. Simply have half, re-cap it and put it back in your jersey pocket until feel you need it again. If you like them, Fry's Turkish Delights are a good source of sustained fuel that you can have before a ride and top up as you go.

Also, if you missed the first one, don't forget to come into Wembley Cycles on Tuesday, 18th March at 6pm for the 3 and 5 Dams Challenge Information Evening. This evening will give you a chance to pick up some vital, last minute information regarding the event, discover some tips on nutrition and hydration as well as bike setup and maintenance and a chance to meet some fellow riders.

As usual, for the 3 Dams riders, I have combined both experience levels into the same training program as whether you are a novice or you have ridden the 3 Dams event before, you should be working to the same level to be ready in time to complete the challenge on the day. For the 5 Dams riders, there are separate programs that largely incorporate the same efforts but with slightly longer and harder rides for experienced riders.

Week #11 - 3 Dams (Novice & Experienced)
MonRE riding, no hills (1-2 hrs, easy riding)
TueIntervals. Complete 5x45s sprints up Forrest Drive in Kings Park (a bit further up the climb). Start just out of the corner leading into the climb. Go as hard as you can for the 45 seconds which should take you up around the first bend. 4 mins recovery between efforts.
WedEndurance. This session requires you to keep a significant power level for the duration of an hour. A good place to do this is between the roundabouts of Bruce St/Melvista Ave in Dalkeith and the one at the end of Victoria Ave in Claremont. Complete as many of these repeats (out and back) as you can in 1 hour of hard riding. This should help you complete the last ride up the freeway of the Dams Challenge when it's hard to maintain focus. 
Thu"The Coombe" (See map). Use the ride out to Mosmon Park to warm up (use a bit of effort). Complete 5 repeats of this climb riding up to Bay View Tce as quick as you can. Recover on the descent (slowly). When done, complete a vigorous ride home to finish off. If you can't get to The Coombe, complete 2 sets of 4 Mount Street climbs as described in Week #7. You will likely feel fatigued during this due to the previous day's effort.
FriRE riding, no hills and keep the session to about 1 hour only.
SatHills. This week, try to ride 100kms with as much time in the hills as your can. You should not be able to hold a conversation whilst on the bike as your breathing should be high enough to prevent it.
SunMore hills. We are looking for around 1000 metres of vertical climbing so you can either do this around the larger suburban hills (e.g., Kings Park, Reabold Hills or Mosman Park) or get out to the foothills up Welshpool Rd and into Kalamunda. Try for a circa 2.5 hours here.

Week #11 - 5 Dams (Novice)
MonRE riding, no hills (1-2 hrs, easy riding)
TueIntervals. Complete 7x45s sprints up Forrest Drive in Kings Park (a bit further up the climb). Start just out of the corner leading into the climb. Go as hard as you can for the 45 seconds which should take you up around the first bend. 4 mins recovery between efforts.
WedEndurance. This session requires you to keep a significant power level for the duration of an hour. A good place to do this is between the roundabouts of Bruce St/Melvista Ave in Dalkeith and the one at the end of Victoria Ave in Claremont. Complete as many of these repeats (out and back) as you can in 1 hour of hard riding. This should help you complete the last ride up the freeway of the Dams Challenge when it's hard to maintain focus. 
Thu"The Coombe" (See map). Use the ride out to Mosmon Park to warm up (use a bit of effort). Complete 6 repeats of this climb riding up to Bay View Tce as quick as you can. Recover on the descent (slowly). When done, complete a vigorous ride home to finish off. If you can't get to The Coombe, complete 3 sets of 3 Mount Street climbs as described in Week #7. You will likely feel fatigued during this due to the previous day's effort.
FriRE riding, no hills and keep the session to about 1 hour only.
SatHills. This week, try to ride 120kms with as much time in the hills as your can. You should not be able to hold a conversation whilst on the bike as your breathing should be high enough to prevent it.
SunMore hills. We are looking for around 1200 metres of vertical climbing so you should get out to the foothills up Welshpool Rd and into Kalamunda. Try for about 3 hours here.

Week #11 - 5 Dams (Experienced)
MonRE riding, no hills (1-2 hrs, easy riding)
TueIntervals. Complete 8x45s sprints up Forrest Drive in Kings Park (a bit further up the climb). Start just out of the corner leading into the climb. Go as hard as you can for the 45 seconds which should take you up around the first bend. 3mins recovery between efforts.
WedEndurance. This session requires you to keep a significant power level for the duration of an hour. A good place to do this is between the roundabouts of Bruce St/Melvista Ave in Dalkeith and the one at the end of Victoria Ave in Claremont. Complete as many of these repeats (out and back) as you can in 1 hour of hard riding. This should help you complete the last ride up the freeway of the Dams Challenge when it's hard to maintain focus. 
Thu"The Coombe" (See map). Use the ride out to Mosmon Park to warm up (use a bit of effort). Complete 7 repeats of this climb riding up to Bay View Tce as quick as you can. Recover on the descent (slowly). When done, complete a vigorous ride home to finish off. If you can't get to The Coombe, complete 3 sets of 4 Mount Street climbs as described in Week #7. You will likely feel fatigued during this due to the previous day's effort.
FriRE riding, no hills and keep the session to about 1 hour only.
SatHills. This week, try to ride 140kms with as much time in the hills as your can. You should not be able to hold a conversation whilst on the bike as your breathing should be high enough to prevent it.
SunMore hills. We are looking for more than 1300-1400 metres of vertical climbing so you should get out to the foothills up Welshpool Rd, Pickering Brook (Patterson Rd) and into Kalamunda. Try for at least 3 hours here.

This is a hard week and the subsequent weeks will continue with this. Be sure to take the recovery time between efforts seriously and you will need to take it easy on Monday and Friday. Make sure you are packing enough energy and hydration to help you through the efforts.

Be sure to perform some stretching before and after your rides to ensure muscles are appropriately warmed up prior to riding and relaxed afterwards. Take sufficient fluid with you on the bike for the expected duration of your rides. For example, longer rides may require two bidons while just one might suffice for shorter, less difficult rides.

Regards, Charlie.
Ride Ambassador

IMPORTANT: The above advice and guide ("the advice") is provided to you, the reader, free of restriction and encumbrances, in the hope that it will be useful but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. You are free to do with the advice as you so please, but understand that by reading and/or using the advice, you acknowledge that you RELEASE THE AUTHOR and any of his related parties, including, but not limited to, Bicycling Western Australia, the Unicorn-Specialized Cycing Team, and any of their previous and/or currently engaged sponsors and related third-parties, including, but not limited to, Hall Cycle Training, of ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, whether in an action of contract, tort or otherwise, arising from, out of or in connection with the advice or the use, inability to use, or other dealings in the advice.

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