Friends of Science of Speed know that we take great pride in our expert bike fits. Last year, we launched Bike Fit Box to bring that expertise to cyclists through virtual, at-home fittings. Now, Bike Fit Box is introducing a brand new service that is changing the game once again.
Bike Saddle Box is a first-of-its-kind saddle demo experience that allows cyclists to try out multiple saddles at home, on their very own bike for fourteen days.
This unique way to shop for saddles is built for convenience, which is the foundation of all the services we offer at Bike Fit Box. Cyclists can test ride these saddles at home on their own bike for as many rides as they like. They keep what you love, send back what you don’t. It’s that simple – and should always be this simple – to make your next ride more comfortable.
The Bike Saddle Box demo experience comes at a flat-rate cost of $75. Cyclists who opt to keep one or more saddles from the demo are charged for those saddles at a discounted rate following the completion of the demo period. More than 40 models are available to try from top brands like ISM, Pro, Selle Italia, WTB, Prologo, Fiz’i:k, Origin 8 and Terry.
Athletes respond to training differently, have different tactics that suit them best, different responses to diet and different responses to stressors in life. Coach Brady provides a bit of insight and detail in to what he has found in working with athletes over the past 5 weeks and how Covid-19 has impacted athletes in varying ways.
Training in the times of COVID-19 – A Coach’s Perspective
I know what you are thinking… “Oh great, one more article about this virus!” Yep, we are all fed up with it and we are all tired of hearing all of the details, drama and the continuous political argument. With the amount of communication that I have with athletes (don’t freak out, it is via phone, social media and e-mail), it has been interesting to see how training impact has varied dependent upon the four mindsets or approaches individuals are taking. I hope that maybe this will help you either truly assess your stress level or help you to realize that you are not alone in where you fall on the spectrum.
I want to preface this with the fact that none of these approaches are wrong, in any way shape or form. We all process stress differently and remember that training is a stressor, so you need to factor in ALL of your life. Now, ON WITH THE SHOW!
THE FULL GAS – This person views the virus as an inconvenience but believes that with their spare time and lack of ability to go out and see things they are going to put the proverbial pedal to the metal and charge harder with training than what they were originally intending.
THE STEADY AS SHE GOES – This approach, I have found, is more common among the people who had events that were further out on the horizon or who are still able/must go to work. The
THE ¾ TEMPO – The individuals in this group can have children at home they are now schooling, be immuno-compromised in some capacity or simply feel a bit of the stress of all going on. They are lightly training or exercising (there is a difference but we don’t have time for that now) but are utilizing their activity less for an event performance down the road and more for their general well being.
THE WHOA NELLY! – This person is truly concerned about what the impacts of this virus can do to their health and the loved ones around them. They do not want to be part of the spread and are either in the high risk groups or in contact with those in the high risk groups. Stress levels are typically high and training simply is not a great idea, unless it is a recovery ride, leisurely walk or something similar.
There can certainly be some crossover and some variations in these but most important is to be open and honest with yourself as to which group you may fall in and, if you have not already, adjust your training schedule to reflect where you are at and should be at.
In times of stress and illness, your well being is first and performance is secondary. Please take care of yourself and your health. Both physically and mentally.
Interested in reading more of Coach Brady’s content? You can find him at bradyirwin.com
This season, COVID-19 has not only impacted people’s lifestyles, travel plans and social gatherings but as endurance athletes it has impacted our training plans, socialization and at an even greater scale, it has impacted our event schedules.
With many events being cancelled, it has left many athletes wondering what to do with their training. Each of our coaches have spent countless hours on the phone, responding to emails and reassessing and redesigning training plans based on what we can currently expect to occur.
With it being the beginning of the season we have found that our athletes most commonly fall into one of two categories. Either their cancelled race was a tuneup race/”B” event, or they were a key “A” race. If your cancelled events are tune-up races there is really not much you need to adjust for.
Typically with a tuneup race there may be a slight taper or recovery week prior to and/or after your event without a great deal of loss in training time. This can be modified with an extention of the current training phase or even moving up the coming training phase to the next week. Once you have adjusted for those 7-14 days of recovery you are set to go.
For those of you who were keying up for an early season peak, don’t panic, your season is not over and your training has not been wasted, but there is a bit more to consider. Here are some of the variables that must be factored in:
When has your event been rescheduled for?
Do you have any additional events that you wanted to be an “A” race and therefore you were planning on peaking for optimal performance?
These two questions lead to several common plans. If there is enough time, which for many there tends to be ample time, we recommend you change your training from the specialization phase that you were in already, you can revert to a build phase of training.
If you have a second goal event, things become a bit more complicated. You will need to gauge your current fitness, training load and time between events and determine if it is still possible to peak twice.
This is an area where it is hard to provide you insight in an article because there are so many possibilities and “it depends” would be a blanket statement. So, if “It depends” and you are uncertain of what to do, please reach out and we can help guide you through your training.
As athletes, we often create goals that we want to accomplish each season. For many, these goals may often seem like a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” Something that creates excitement, motivation, a desire to put in the time and sometimes even a bit of fear. This is a great thing as it will take a lot to get you out of bed in the morning, focus on nutrient intake, get quality sleep and sacrifice where it is needed.
Once your goals are selected and you have made sure that they are SMART. It is time to focus on the often forgotten secondary goal making process that helps you define how you are going to get there. These secondary goals are also known as process goals.
A process goal is something that is in your control and is a methods or step to help achieve your final goal. Here are several examples of the primary goal and then the process goals to help as stepping stones of success:
Primary Goal: Improve power at threshold (FTP) from 200 to 220 Watts this season
Increase riding by one day per week. Totaling 4 days/week
Improve training effectiveness by adding interval training
Have a FTP of 212W by July 1st.
Primary Goal: Improve body composition to 12% body fat.
Increase aerobic activity to burn an additional 500 calories/week
Add two 30 minute strength workouts weekly
Eat 3 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
No snacking after 8pm
Are you struggling to narrow down your goals? Contact us today and we will help you with your goal selection as well as the steps that will help you accomplish them.
Many Americans seem to base their week around the weekend. It is the time when they are off work, the time they are able to relax and, for many endurance athletes, the time they have for training. We have even coined a phrase for this. You are the “Weekend Warrior”! With this, our weeks turn into Monday through Sunday on repeat, and it can become difficult for many to view a training plan as anything different.
For one moment we ask of you to think of your training plan differently. Unless you have a work/life schedule that simply will not allow for it we challenge you to view your training plan from a 5,000ft approach vs. ground level. Analyze your plan in 14-21 day increments and gauge whether you plan could be more successful that it is using these key points.
Periodization – First, ask yourself if your training is actually periodized. You should have times where training volume, frequency and/or intensity are higher, followed by periods of recovery. This can be structured in periods as small as weekly to as large as annually. If you are not seeing any change in intensity, volume or frequency of riding, whether it is on a day to day basis or in a block of time (10 days to 4 weeks) it is likely time to reassess your approach.
Key Workouts – It is not uncommon for athletes viewing their training on a Monday – Sunday schedule to overlook the fact of how a heavy weekend of training volume may impact Monday’s or even Tuesday’s scheduled workout. So, is your training structured in such a way that it is allowing you to optimize the results of your key workouts by beginning them in a “fresh” physical state to optimize performance and ability to meet ranges and goals?
Recovery – Do you have training laid out so that recovery is sufficient but not overkill? This not only includes weekly recovery but recovery periods from one training focus to the next.
By assessing your training we want you to think about what it is you are doing, are you happy with the results you are currently achieving, how your current structure is going to impact your performance and does this approach meet your goals and expectations you have for your improvement.
Are you unsure of how you can improve your training? Contact us today and let one of our expert coaches help you plan a program for the greatest success possible!
Form, Fitness and Fatigue. It is the first thing you see as you log into your training Peaks app. Many athletes buzz over it but for some, it is an immediate cause for anxiety. Why does that number keep climbing? Pink, that is close to red and it is my fatigue rating…Is it a bad thing that number is so high today? OH NO! Why is my form in the negatives?
Fatigue (ATL) – Fatigue is a representation of acute training load. This is the impact that each individual workout has on the overall training load. A multiple hour workout, or a workout with very high intensity will have a greater ATL score than a recovery workout or a very short run.
Fitness (CTL) – Fitness or Chronic Training Load is an indication of the cumulative effects that training has had over time. With consistent training and workouts this will continue to climb. During periods of lower training stress, recovery weeks and down times your CTL will decrease. You can even see periods of decrease when doing incredibly hard VO2 intervals. Because this is based on frequency, intensity and duration a change the decrease in duration can cause a downward shift in CTL.
Form (TSB) – Form or Training Stress balance is the difference between Chronic and Accute training loads resulting in an estimation of your level of fatigue/freshness. This is a gauge of where your fatigue level and a low or even a negative number is a good indication that the body is being stressed, which, with recovery, will ultimately lead to fitness gains.
It is important to know that each of these measures is directly linked to your threshold (power/pace/hr) and without accurate ranges, these numbers will hold very little validity.
It is also very common for these numbers to seem exaggerated when coming off of longer bouts of little/no activity as the data is starting from a baseline of zero. These numbers will stabilize as the algorithm has more data to process and a better understanding of what your training load is. Think of it like Garmin’s Recovery score (if you are familiar with that). When you don’t exercise much for 3-4 weeks and hop back into it your Garmin gives an alert recover of 76 hours, or some other crazy value, before your next workout. Fatigue does not feel high and you are ready for the next day’s workout but your Garmin thinks you have been a lazy bum and have come in off the couch.
A group ride is a great thing! It increases one’s ability to go faster while simultaneously decreasing perceived exertion. This is often done by drafting off of the rider in front of you in an effort to reduce the forces of wind (natural or created by you) on you as a rider.
There are three basics to group riding that will make other cyclists want to ride with you and even fight over your wheel because they trust you.
When riding in close proximity to other riders, the most important thing you can do is be predictable. This could mean that you are pointing your hand to where you are going, are telling riders of debris and anything in the road, but, most importantly, it means to be slow and calculated in your movements. Unlike in basketball, you want to telegraph your movements so that others know what to expect of you. No swerving, panicked braking or other erratic movements.
Pull Through Smoothly
It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of a group ride, especially when it is your turn you go to the front and give it everything you have to “help the group.” While in theory this is a very selfless act, it actually puts a strain on the entire group. The people sitting on your wheel will have to close the gap and the rider who has just pulled off the front of the group now has to work very hard to get back on.
We recommend you use your tools to help you with this. As the person pulls off in front of you and it is your turn to pull through, cadence and speed should not change drastically. The force applied to the pedals will increase, as you are catching more wind, but, by maintaining speed and cadence, you will ensure that the effort stays the same for all people involved.
Watch What is Ahead
It is easy to fall prey to the nasty habit of staring at the wheel of the person in front of you. However, your eyes should be focused over the should of the rider in front of you. This allows you to see what is going on up the road and respond before it becomes a panic situation, but still allows you to use your peripheral vision to maintain a safe distance to the rider in front of you.
When on the front of the group you are responsible for the safety of the entire group. It is important that you are scanning the road for hazards and signalling for them in whatever manner your group deems as helpful.
Are you unsure how to get into a group ride and what to look for? Be sure to read our blog on your First Time in a Group Ride and learn some best practices for your first time riding with a new group. Maybe you have that group and are wanting to learn more! Continue on to Group Riding 201 and increase your knowledge
Congratulations on your new heart rate monitor! Adding a form of tracking to your training helps you to increase the accuracy and consistency of your efforts. While using a heart rate monitor in your training, there are two things to consider.
HR is a Response
When using Heart rate as a training tool, it is important to realize that heart rate (HR) is the response to the work that you have done. This is crucial in the effectiveness of your training because what your heart rate is currently telling you is symbolic of the workload that you completed 20-60 seconds prior.
Cardiac drift is the upward trend in heart rate during longer sustained efforts. It is an increase in heart rate that is caused by a more highly activated Sympathetic Nervous System (think fight or flight response), increased core temperature and total body water losses.
With this new knowledge in mind, it is important to pair your workouts with perceived exertion. In other words, how hard do you feel you’re working? This will provide you with a system of checks and balances that will keep you from beginning workouts too hard and ending them too easy as you would if you were to maintain a flat heart rate for the entirety of your efforts.
Take your training to a new level with one of our Static Training plans! These low cost, high output training plans will produce amazing results when paired with your new knowledge of heart rate training.
Noassatall is not selective. It impacts men and women of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. This is common among many Americans and, most surprisingly, among many endurance runners. What is Noassatall? It is where someone turns sideways and, looking at the back side of their profile, you question whether you are staring down a wall or a human body. Let’s be honest, we are supposed to have curves back there and many individuals do not.
The predominant muscle in our butt, the gluteus maximus, is in charge of many things including sitting/standing, climbing stairs, giving you some junk in the trunk and even maintaining an upright posture. A weak gluteus maximus muscle can lead to poor posture and over compensation for many of the complimenting muscles potentially resulting in injury.
Looking to help fight against Noassatall? Try this exercise to improve your glute strength, better balance your body and even improve your run.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift:
Hold one dumbbell or kettlebell in your hand.
On the opposite side that you hold the kettlebell/dumbbell, stand on one leg.
Keeping your standing leg knee slightly bent, perform a stiff-legged deadlift by bending at the hip, extending your free leg behind you for balance.
Continue lowering the kettlebell/dumbbell until your back is parallel to the ground, and then return to the upright position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Need to increase the intensity? Increase your weight or number of repetitions.
If you are an endurance athlete who feels lost in a weight room, you’re not alone — but you are at a disadvantage. Strength training could be the key to unlocking your next improvement on the race course. Join us at the Endurance Training Club for our strength training class to build your butt and all your other key muscle groups. Have no fear — this won’t be a power lifting session. All of your ETC classes are designed for endurance athletes, by endurance athletes and are built to be accessible to you. We look forward to seeing you — book your class now.
Event day nutrition is something that can be confusing for those who are new to endurance sports. Outside of athletics, we are accustomed to eating three balanced meals and watching what we eat so that we are not constantly fight the battle of the bulge. On top of that, the quality of the food we eat is stressed. Is it non-gmo, free range, organic, gluten free? Does it provide you with the macro and micro nutrients that you need to sustain healthy body function?
With all of this detail paid to our daily nutrition, training nutrition is very easy to overthink. If you find yourself stressing, it is time to reassess your training and racing nutrition.
It is important to preface the follow statements with the fact that these recommendations are geared to athletes who are just beginning their nutritional journey and are doing events that take 4 hours or less.
Whether in an event or training for an event, three key elements need to be considered.
Pre-event: The goal of pre-event nutrition is to provide the energy necessary to top off your body’s fuel tank (glycogen stores.) Caloric intake will vary from 200-600 calories, dependent upon time since last eating, the intensity of the event and your ability to handle food prior to physical activity. The timing typically varies from 15 minutes to 2 hours prior to activity.
During: Nutrition while training or racing will vary heavily upon the duration, intensity of the event and athlete size/stature. Your #1 goal is to fuel your performance. Because of this, your primary calorie consumption should be carbohydrates. Caloric intake can vary from 100-350 calories per hour.
Post-event: Unlike pre-event and during-event nutrition, your goal shifts from performance generation to physical recovery.
These are just some things to consider when building your training and racing nutrition plan. If you’re interested in how to fuel yourself for best results, our Science of Speed coaches will be happy to provide guidance based on their personal racing and training experiences. As well, SoS can connect you with a nutritionist that understands the athlete’s body.