Training After Illness, Early Season Racing, Training Camps and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 347
Amber Pierce, Alex Wild, Ivy Audrain, and Coach Jonathan go deep on how to come back to training after illness, when you should start adding races to your calendar, how to use early season training camps to boost your fitness and much more. Join us for Episode 347 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast!
More show notes and discussion in the TrainerRoad Forum.
Topics covered in this episode
- Is FTP testing accurate?
- How to pick early season races, when to do them, and how to get the most from them
- Alex’s peaking strategy for the year
- How to use training camps to boost your fitness
- How to return from training after illness
- Rapid Fire Questions
- Aerobic training for anaerobic athletes
- Saddle selection and why it matters
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Science of Getting Faster Podcast
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[00:00:00] Jonathan Lee: Welcome to the podcast dedicated to making you a faster cyclist to ask a cycling coach podcast presented by trainer road. This is episode 347, kind of wild. I think we’ve done 347 of these pretty great today. We have with us a great, a great group of hosts. We have trainer Rodin. Cannondale’s Amber Pierce.
Good morning. We have hand up plus the black bibs racing’s IVR drain and done good job. Nailed it done for the day. I’m out, retiring from podcasting, specialized and nice frictions, Alex, while what’s up, Alex. Good to have you. Uh, you’ve been doing some big miles, big volume been trying. It’s like you’ve been selected for a lifetime grand Prix or something.
today we’re going to get into talking about training after illness. A lot of folks are being are training and coming back after illness. Disclaimer, before we get into any of that, if you are dealing with COVID talk to a doctor on coming back, this is not medical advice. That needs to be understood. We’re going to talk about the training process coming back from that.
We’re not going to talk about how to treat your illness. Just want to make sure that’s clear. None of us really feel like doctors. And even if we did feel like doctors, we aren’t doctors. So we’re also talking about early season racing. We’re going to talk about training camps and how to use those to be able to, uh, there we say, you know, super boost your training and your fitness along the different time of the year.
It’s going to be a good one. We’re also going to do some rapid fire stuff. But first I want to ask a favor from all of us podcasts listeners here. We want your feedback on how to improve the podcast. We do this every year. We have a survey that’s right now, if you go to train road.com/podcast, there will be a spot where you can submit your feedback through a survey, uh, right where you say submit or right where you click to be able to submit a question next to that will be a button in white, and it will say, share your feedback.
So please click that and please go and share your feedback. So then we can make this podcast better. Um, constant improvement is one of the principles that we believe in here at trainer road. We don’t have like a, a basic core values. We have very different ones perhaps than what people are used to, but constant improvement is one of them.
And we always want to make this podcast better. So tell us the content that you like, tell us the content you don’t like and lots of other things. So then we can make this podcast the best one for all of you. Uh, now with that, uh, Amber I’m exhausted today. I started swimming yesterday. I did 2,600 meters for my first property.
And, uh, I did not drown, uh, Strava said, morning, morning, swim. I wanted to change it to drowning swim, but, uh, I didn’t fully drown, but I’m exhausted. Cause at that, and then I had high endurance or, and plus, uh, for two hours also yesterday, pretty tiring. You got an hour and a half sleep with your little one last night.
[00:03:00] Amber Pierce: gone through this thing progression it’s um, it’s the opposite of fun.
[00:03:05] Jonathan Lee: Alex has been putting in big. He’s probably exhausted
because of, uh, because of Nate sharing our product roadmap IVs also, uh, partially dead on the forum for IB.
So the bar is low today for the podcast. Everybody. I hope it’s still going to be an enjoyable one for everyone. Uh, can we talk about this swimming thing really quick? Uh, Amber, I want to like share my experiences of going into this trapline training thing along the way. So partially all of you triathletes can laugh at me, a cyclist, trying to go over to triathlon, which typically cyclists always make fun of traffic.
So, uh, I will be the punching bag. He gets to giggle at my expense, but, uh, so Amber, we’ve talked about swimming a couple of times before on the podcast. I don’t die when I’m in the water, so that’s good, but I’m certainly, yeah, but I’m not very good at moving in a specific direction to any sort of rate of speed.
And I also seem to be better at drinking water than swimming in it. So, uh, I went to masters, a masters swim group that we have here in. Uh, cause they would have a coach and that coach would then give me a direction on what to do. It’s something that I pay for and it’s a, I can go every single I can go six days of the week if I wanted to.
But my plan is to go three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, uh, it’s super early. Um, I get there at 5:00 AM and then we start swimming. So it’s bright and early, but welcome to sun life. Yeah. Also super concerning while swimming and while everyone’s swimming laps, I then noticed it was like foggy basically in, in the place because there were so many people swimming and uh, and I was like, this is basically like gas, like chlorine fog that we’re all just like breathing in.
How did I, Amber survive all of this.
And then in addition to that, like, man swimming is just so hard for, and I’m probably, I’ll just say for me, but I bet other people probably can relate to this too, but it’s so tough. It’s a 25 yard pool. And by, by the Steve, the instructor was like, all right, well, can you get to the end of the pool? And I was like, yeah, he’s like, okay, then you can get into the water.
And I got into the water and I spent the other side and I was just so out of breath. I mean, so out of breath, I tried to keep my head down, but then I just, you know, my face was in water, so I breathed water. So, and then I was like doing the full on like headway up and basically just dragging 45 degree angle through the water, which makes it even harder.
Uh, anyways, by the end of it, I felt like I got better, um, because I was able to get to the other end and not be out of breath. And then, uh, I could’ve probably strung lapsed together, but I did it. And this is the first thing I want to ask you. I was taking a break at the end of the pool to like, and this might be over-analyzing, but I was taking a break and then going, what did I do?
Well, what didn’t I do well and making sure I was fully caught up on breath. Would you think that, am I over analyzing it? Should I just try to be stringing things together right now? Or should I just be focusing on the form stuff?
[00:06:18] Amber Pierce: I think focusing on the form stuff is really important because focusing on the form stuff, we’ll develop the musculature and the endurance that you need to do multiple laps at a time.
And I think it’s harder to focus on the form stuff when you’re really distracted by not being able to get enough. So I think you’re actually doing the right thing by stopping and resetting and making sure that you’ve caught your breath. You’re allowing your whole nervous system to be present for the learning process, because if you are still out of breath and then you’re starting that next, next lap, first of all, you’re not going to be able to be as reflective about the previous lap and what you want to work on for the next one.
And you’re not going to be able to focus as much on what you want to do on the next lap in terms of applying what you learned from the previous one. So I think you’re actually doing the right thing here. Um, you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to be in a learning mindset and for your body to really absorb, absorb not only the chlorine, but also the lessons that you’re learning in the pool.
Uh, I think it’s a really great approach and the, the form, the fitness, the, the strength that you’re going to need to string together, lapse it’ll come and you’ll know when you’re ready for that. Just like you could tell a difference between when you got in the pool and when you got out of the pool, you’ll get to a point where you’re like, oh, I don’t need to stop.
As long before I feel like I’m caught up on my breath and I feel comfortable starting the next lap. And then eventually, eventually you’ll get to a point where you’re comfortable with the breathing enough, that it’ll be okay to be out of breath because your body isn’t going to be your nervous system.
Isn’t going to be wondering whether this is a life threatening situation or not. Um, and you’ll, you’ll feel that difference as you go. So I think you’re doing a really great job of just trusting yourself, um, as you’re going through this.
[00:08:02] Jonathan Lee: Thank you. Yeah. So a couple things, first of all, I’m totally not symmetrical.
I realize right now and my stroke, because I’m trying to breathe and I’m really trying to pay attention. And I like, part of me was like, no, don’t get used to breathing on one side. You should read on both sides, but I figured, Hey, why don’t we just work on not choking first? And then we can worry about breathing on both on either side.
So, yeah, so I’m definitely like asymmetrical in the sense that I’m giving myself a lot more time on one side, you know, to be able to get the breadth that I need and then be able to go back into the stroke. Is that a bad thing? Or do you think that that’s also to be expected at this.
[00:08:40] Amber Pierce: Um, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing.
And I think a lot of open-water swimmers choose to breathe only to one side and they do swim more asymmetrically than swimmers who are maybe racing in a pool or competition pool. Um, a lot of coaches will make a big deal about working on what they call alternate breathing so that you’re reading from one side to the other.
And that requires that you breathe every odd number of strokes. So every three strokes, every five strokes. You’re not gonna want to go every five or seven at this point. Trust me.
[00:09:09] Jonathan Lee: Oh yeah. I tried that because I was like, well, breathing sucks and I just smell water. So let’s just not breathe. And that didn’t work out very well.
[00:09:17] Amber Pierce: the number one thing is to get the breathing down because once you get the breathing down, your body’s not going to be in fight or flight and you can be in learning mode. And that’s the most important thing I would recommend experimenting with some alternate breathing though, because what you don’t want to happen is that you are only ever comfortable breathing on one side.
Um, cause you just may end up in a situation where you end up having to breed to the other side and you don’t want that to feel really disruptive. And I think it’s also a good place to start just from a form standpoint because technique and swimming is so, so, so, so, so important. Uh, it’s better if you can maybe try to minimize embedding bad habits from the beginning.
I’m not saying it’s breathing on one side is a bad habit, but I think it is worth when you’re in the learning process, trying both sides and trying to feel at least reasonably comfortable on both sides. And then if you decide later, You feel faster by breathing to one side, then you’re actually, you’re making the choice.
You’re not being forced into that as your default mode of swimming.
[00:10:19] Jonathan Lee: I feel like with open water swimming, being able to breathe on both sides would be really important to just waves or different things that are coming up. Like, I feel like it could be pretty important. So yeah, one thing Steve said too, so, you know, us beginners, I think we all struggle with keeping our head low and keeping our chest low.
Uh, Steve shared something that really helped me. He said, you know, when you’re standing on the ground, your center of mass is like your hips or your belly button said, your center of mass, you should think of in the water is your lungs. And he said, so if you drive those lungs down and everything up from.
It’s going to be slightly angled down like that. When you’re going into that water, he said, that’s going to keep your hips high and everything else. I got buoyancy shorts too, to help, um, with that. And those, I mean, they seem to help, but at this point, like I have no clean or something. I
How funny would that be? I show up. I’m just like floaties on my limbs. Yeah.
[00:11:18] Alex Wild: Because it means that this is how I imagined your training this whole time. I just kind of assumed
[00:11:24] Jonathan Lee: no, it’s fair. I’m that bad? Yeah. It’s fair.
[00:11:27] Alex Wild: It’s the only way I’d make it to the pool.
[00:11:29] Jonathan Lee: Yeah. Um, but like Steve said, when you keep your head low, like that, cause I was, I was like, so I’ve been told that, you know, if I keep my chin kind of tucked and I go and breathe, that it’ll work.
Cause like put every time I do that, I just get a very large amount of water that I swallow. Um, so it doesn’t seem to work. Um, and then he basically like one of the things that he had me or he told me, he was like, well, he said your head, when you keep it low enough, it kind of creates like a swell in front of your head, which creates like, uh, kind of like, uh, a negative space, so to speak behind that head.
So then therefore you can breathe. And I was like, oh, okay. And I tried it and I was like, Steve, it’s not working. And he’s like, well, You swim so slow. There’s not much to be made, but he was very sweet about it. You know, he would say in a nice way. Um, so I’ve just learned that I kind of have to let my body rotate a little bit more than I thought I would have to.
Um, and that seems to be helping though is just really allowing my body to rotate. Instead of thinking of myself in the water is like a, just like a big flat wide boat. That’s plopped onto the water and needs to swim that way. Instead of thinking of myself, almost like a log in the water that I can just rotate freely.
And that’s, that’s been really helpful. The other thing that he mentioned too, was that I wasn’t rotating my lower body, just my upper body. So my lower body was staying the same. And also I was way over kicking and we could do a two hour podcast and just what I did wrong. Uh, and I could do about, oh, a 32nd podcast on what I did.
Right. So, but Hey, there was progress. So anyways, uh, if this is interesting to people, let us know, I’ll share more things that I learned in my, uh, misfortunes and misgivings and misadventures along the way. Uh, tomorrow I’m meeting with a run coach, a really good run coach. Yeah. Here and he’s coming to Reno.
So I’m going to do some run training because I feel like I’m a decent runner, but I have no clue in terms of form or anything else. So I might be really bad. Like in my,
[00:13:30] Ivy Audrain: in my experience, you’re not like a cyclist, like think they’re good runners because we have big lungs and it’s like, yeah, but we look like we’re running from a serial killer or something.
[00:13:47] Jonathan Lee: Yeah. I ran one fast 5k. So it’s dangerous enough for me to think that I can actually run. Right. Like, that’s like the problem, that’s a short enough race that I could probably just Flay all my way through it and kind of make out. Okay. So anyways, uh, I’ll be sharing all this stuff. Um, it, lots of questions on which Ironman I’m planning to do also about like, which Ironman everyone’s planning to do.
So, uh, Ivy, which I man, are you planning to do?
Yeah. Nobody else is doing this just me. Um, so, uh, yeah.
Yeah. And I’m not planning on doing an Ironman this year, not planning on doing a half this year. I don’t even know if I’ll race a triathlon this year. I’m going to train as a triathlete this year. I’m going to try to figure that whole, that out. I might race my deuce, like an Olympic or a sprint or an Exterra.
Uh, once races start to come around, I really, you know, that’s when my wife will be very pregnant and that’s, or it’s when the baby will already be here. So I don’t want to be focused on racing and feeling like that it has any poll against much higher priorities. So probably not race doing any big ones this year.
How long has it swim? I mean, it’s 2.4 miles. Yeah. I did 1.4 miles. Yes. Granted with a break each lap or a every 25 yards let’s say, but I still I’m. I didn’t think that I would ever be able to swim that much. Uh, just, and especially after the first lap, so pretty cool. Um, that’s very long,
[00:15:23] Ivy Audrain: very long drown
[00:15:25] Jonathan Lee: sometimes, but yeah, it has happened.
Yeah. But they usually have people with kayaks paddleboards or nearby like a rafts or something else with the group. Yeah. Yeah. They’re going with a group. I’ve heard this somewhere and I could be totally wrong, but statistically, the swim is safer than the other disciplines they’ve had more accidents have occurred in the other ones.
Just, you know, we’ve all like whether it’s health issues cropping up late into an Ironman or something like that, or whether it’s fatigue, bike, swim comes first. So yeah, it’s a good thing. That would be bad. So, but yeah, they typically have people to help them. Um, there, so I’ve talked to plenty of you athletes have reached out and you’ve said like, yeah, I had a fantastic race.
I held on to the. Uh, for a little while and they don’t move when you hold onto the boat, you know? But so that’s there that helps people out. But ah, no sticky bottles, no sticky bottles in the water. Yeah. No, no. Hold on. Hit the throttle. How to make it work. Yeah,
[00:16:27] Amber Pierce: there are, there are the ankles of other swimmers.
[00:16:30] Jonathan Lee: Oh yeah, this is true. This is true. Yeah. Don’t
[00:16:34] Ivy Audrain: die. John
[00:16:40] Alex Wild: Clif bar commercial. That was my favorite. No, where it was like, he was like talking about like, oh yeah, I’m just training for triathlon. These guys on paddle boards, like beating him with a giant Q-tips. He was like, start because everybody just likes swims on top of one, another
[00:16:57] Jonathan Lee: punches and kicks. And he was like, I like to train, like I race.
That was wild by the way. Like, so I was in the slow lane with like, um, with like, you know, elderly folks or people recovering from injuries and, and I’m swimming with them and they’re still so much faster than me, but when they’re in front of me, I’m just getting I’m in like a sea of bubbles and it’s, and it’s like, it’s kinda hard to see.
And I, and I was thinking in a lake, this would be so hard, like for spotting when you’re surrounded by everybody. And it’s just, you’re you’re in these bubbles or you can’t see. Man. It would be, imagine if your imagination
[00:17:32] Alex Wild: is like mine and you just see like the ocean and you’re like waiting for us to come up and grab you
[00:17:37] Jonathan Lee: for sure.
[00:17:39] Alex Wild: I used to swim with my head up as a kid on the,
[00:17:43] Jonathan Lee: if I can’t see it, it’s not there.
Uh, anyways, it’s a, it’s, it’s a wild, a new adventure for me. And, uh, it’s uh, definitely if you want to see me suck at something, uh, that’s it for sure. Uh, I’m I’m going to get, I’m going to ask Steve at some point to like use a GoPro to film me just per Nate’s request. Cause Nate really wants to see me suck at something that was his specific request.
So, um, and they get that steep progression curve.
[00:18:11] Alex Wild: If you can get through like the muddling of learning something new, you get like the quick progression. I don’t feel like you get that in cycling when you’ve been doing it for years. It’s like, it’s like little baby
[00:18:20] Jonathan Lee: steps. Yeah. That’s the truth. You know, you get kind of like addicted to the process of improvement and putting in the time and everything else.
Is FTP testing accurate?
Um, but the reward part that rapid reward isn’t quite there. So, uh, I’m, I’m looking forward to that and hoping that that exists in swimming so far reward is not rapid, but I assume it will show up at some point. So, uh, okay. I want to talk about testing to kick this off because one of the features that Nate talks about is one that you are working on Amber.
Um, and we are, uh, it’s it’s yet to be named, uh, it’s going to be going into early access sometime soon. Uh, they also mentioned that like, go check it out in early access. It’s not there yet. It will be sometime soon. Um, but, uh, yeah, Ivy jail. Yeah. But, uh, so we, we might even just call it new FTP feat feature because, uh, you know, it’s, it’s not named yet, but basically what it does is when you have a ramp test, uh, you can either select this option to let AI calculate what your FTP is and, and basically, uh, go through and, um, figure out what that is.
Or you can take the ramp test or take the 20 minute test or take the eight minute test, whatever testing format you want. So we talked about that. And then on the forum, there was kind of a discussion. It’s the same discussion that happens around testing all the time, which is like, I don’t like this testing format, or I don’t like this one because at one person says it’s not my true, our.
Or another person says, well, it’s not measured with lactate testing in a lab, therefore, all of it’s invalid. And then another person says, well, I get better numbers. And I do the eight minute tests, or I get better numbers than I do the ramp test so that one’s valid and all the rest are not valid. And it’s a really messy bit of discussion that
[00:20:09] Alex Wild: exists.
I love how the validity is always tied to which gives the highest number.
[00:20:15] Jonathan Lee: Interestingly, when we released the ramp test, they were very few complaints by people saying it just gives me too high of an FTP or people that take the 20 minute tests. And then we never, or the eight minute tests we never hear from people going, Hey, support.
I’m reaching out to let you know that this just gave me my ego too much of a padding and far too much of a high FTP. I want you to make it lower. Nobody’s ever says that. Um, but I want to talk about hosting or testing, first of all, and ask the host, honestly, in here who enjoys FTP testing in whatever format you do it who enjoy it.
[00:20:52] Alex Wild: should come as no surprise to
[00:20:53] Jonathan Lee: anybody. Alex is raising his hand for podcasts people. Yeah. And I have a year raising your hand. Ivy. You enjoy it? Yeah. I don’t know. Explain yourself please.
[00:21:07] Ivy Audrain: I think I had to really change my perspective of just longer efforts in order to do them and enjoy them and like successful.
[00:21:21] Jonathan Lee: So I
[00:21:21] Ivy Audrain: started liking those longer tests and or longer efforts. And now I like testing, I dunno.
[00:21:27] Jonathan Lee: Sorry. Do you drip test day or do you look? No, I love yesterday. I get so excited. I’m impressed. That’s pretty cool. I don’t feel that way. Uh, Amber, you don’t feel that way you raise your hand?
[00:21:41] Amber Pierce: Uh, it really depends.
Like, I don’t mind, I don’t mind testing. I don’t particularly enjoy it. It’s not something that I necessarily dread. Um, what I really did not like, and I find just not fun is doing lab testing. Lab testing is not fun. Um,
[00:21:58] Jonathan Lee: not for sure. Yeah. So
[00:22:00] Amber Pierce: like doing it, doing an actual lactate test in a lab where they’re testing your blood and they’re actually, you know, doing the thing that’s,
[00:22:09] Jonathan Lee: that’s really not.
Did you have a mask on too? We need it. We needed those ones. That’s the worst for the VO two max
[00:22:16] Amber Pierce: testing. Yeah.
[00:22:17] Jonathan Lee: And that’s awful. Sometimes they do a lactate test. They also like use mass for one reason or another, because they want to measure gas exchange at the same time. And it’s like, how am I supposed to perform at my best when I am choking and I cannot breathe.
And it’s so dry and like, it’s just so hard. It’s really tough for sure. Yeah. Alex, why do you like testing? I mean, I have a lot of ideas as to why.
[00:22:43] Alex Wild: Testing only happens in the off season where I feel like it’s rare for, I guess my coach to let me off the leash and actually let me go full guests. So I think there’s enjoyment and just like sending it, I guess, instead of like a controlled, like let’s just peddle at this wattage for these many minutes and then change the water 10 minutes and then change it again.
Um, I’ve learned to love just kind of the process, which sounds very off-brand for me, but I’ve started doing testing without power on the screen. I just have a big timer for whatever distance or time. I mean, sorry, whatever time we need to do. And so I think it’s a fun mental experiment. I go into testing with the motto of, I can suffer more than that.
So it’s, every time I feel like I’m at my limit, it’s like, now I can suffer more than that. So it’s kind of just a chance for me to send it in the off
[00:23:42] Jonathan Lee: season. It’s almost like a, so it’s a break. I think a lot of people, when they see a test, they experienced what you experienced when you train in the sense that it’s like measured that are going to try to hit a target or hold it, something like that.
And it’s for these exact minutes and it feels a bit more structured for, for you. It’s like a break from that, although yeah,
[00:24:01] Alex Wild: and I, I feel like people get too tied up in small amounts. Like my threshold, I think is. 3 85 right now from testing. And let’s say it was supposed to be 3 95, but the range is on all my intervals are 10 Watts anyway, and my OCD doesn’t let me hit anything for the top of the range.
So I feel like there’s a piece of my coach knows me as well. So he might set my FTP, like artificially low, knowing that my personality will hit the top of the range plus five Watts.
[00:24:41] Jonathan Lee: So that in the end.
[00:24:45] Alex Wild: So then we actually trained to what we’re supposed to at the end of the day. So
[00:24:50] Jonathan Lee: yeah, I don’t know. That brings up a good point of FTP, you know, with adaptive training and everything else who talks about how it makes up for those sort of adjustments, you know, and, and it’s, it’s not like an exact
[00:25:04] Alex Wild: science, right?
Like if you did 10 Watts, more 10 watched less it’s it’s not gonna break your training. So I think it’s just a matter of putting out what you have on the day. I’ve also like I’ve years ago fallen into the trap of like trying to like peak performance for test day. Right. And I think people fall into that and it’s like, now it’s like, whatever I have on the day, I have to train to that anyway.
So it’s fine. So I’ve kind of let go of expectation and like numbers in my head and just seen it as an opportunity to go hardware when I’m not normally allowed
[00:25:38] Jonathan Lee: to. So we are not representative of reality. This group, uh, we are 50 50, and that is so far from what we see in the data. People do not like testing.
Uh, and it’s understandable. There’s a whole lot of stress that comes with testing. Um, also kind of like what you hinted at to Alex in the sense that like, you can come in with a whole lot of stress and stress, additional like training, like, uh, I’m talking, training stress, and then you have the sunshine and
[00:26:05] Alex Wild: rainbows.
And I definitely come in with, with like race day nerves on day. Like, don’t, don’t get me wrong. I’m not like, ah, ah, that’s great. Like I care. I just, I’ve learned to let go of the results driven day and more of just like, oh, what am I capable of kind of day. Yeah. And approach it with an Amber mindset. I’m excited.
Let’s see, what’s that
[00:26:29] Jonathan Lee: going to happen? And that brings up, I think the other part though, is getting the most out of yourself on a test or an accurate representation of your abilities. It doesn’t have to be your peak performance ever, but the accurate representation, that’s hard, like, and it’s hard for a bunch of different reasons.
Um, whether that’s the stress coming into the test and you have testing anxiety and that affects you of being able to do it. Uh, I have, I think it’s from doing the live ramp tests, uh, on the internet in front of people, but I have serious test anxiety with the ramp tests. We do not get along anymore. Um, it’s hard and even like any testing format, it’s just tough for me.
Uh, now that said, uh, that doesn’t, I think that that represents a whole lot of people in the sense that they feel like with any testing format or a specific testing format or testing in general, it’s hard to get an accurate representation of what you feel like you’re actually able to do. And that’s, uh, another tough part with testing is, you know, it’s like, it’s a single moment and it’s like, okay, that single moment represents your abilities as an athlete.
And that’s really tough. We’ve all had really bad races and every race doesn’t represent us as an athlete, like bad days happen. And that’s just how it goes. Uh, but it’s, it would be a shame to just set everything. So rigidly upon that one moment. So this is all leaning toward why we created this feature, but let’s Amber, let’s talk a little bit more about FTP testing in case.
Why FTP testing exists and why we use FTP, all that stuff. Do you want to kick us off on that?
[00:28:01] Amber Pierce: Yeah. Sure. So just a quick overview. I won’t do a deep dive on this. This will be very shallow dive. We’ll just stick our toe in here. Um, lactate threshold. So functional threshold power is what FTP stands for. And that is related to your lactate threshold, which in really quick, simple terms is this is sort of where your energy demand equals your energy supply.
So this is sort of where you can land at a steady state power output. Now, when you’re talking about power, that brings in some cycling efficiency stuff. So it’s not exactly the same thing as your lactate threshold, but really what this is is it’s a level of effort where roughly energy demand equals energy supply.
And then when we look at training. We talked about different training zones, of course, in each of those zones is going to stress your body in a different way. So the type of stress is going, the specific type of stress is going to elicit a specific type of adaptation. So how you’re stressing your body metabolically at a given energy level is going to determine how your body’s going to adapt to that stressor.
Um, and really when we’re training, we’re trying to get those adaptations. So when we’re looking at the different ways that we can stress about the bodies, the body metabolically, um, we’re looking at those kind of relative to that lactate threshold, or when we’re talking in terms of power, that functional threshold power.
So this is just a very high level. We can, we could go really deep in the weeds on this. We’re not going to do that right now. Um, so I know a lot of you out there listening have a very deep understanding of this, and this is going to seem very, very high level and superficial, but I think it’s important that we just kind of touch on that, to frame this comp, to frame this conversation.
So testing and figuring out what your FTP is, helps you benchmark your. And I was just thinking, as you were talking, Jonathan, um, early on in my career, I really felt like numbers were somewhat determinant, right? So if I had a VO two max test, it was going to kind of say what my potential as an athlete was like, this is what I’m capable of doing.
And it kind of lays out this roadmap of this is as good as you can ever be, and that’s not actually true. And the way that we actually use numbers, um, when racing professionally is really different. So the most common way that I saw, at least for me, and a lot of the athletes that I was working with FTP testing was mostly done coming back in the off season and the early season of training to make sure that we didn’t train too hard, too fast.
It was basically to set kind of a limit to make sure that we weren’t doing too much too early in the season. Um, it wasn’t about, oh, you know, how good are you? And it’s nice to see that progress with the season as well. But it, it was really just about kind of capping and making sure we weren’t doing too much too fast.
And once I realized that that was, that was the primary utility of it. It took a lot of the anxiety out of it for me. So these numbers are useful tools for training, but they’re not your fate. They’re not determinant. And they’re not going to say how good of an athlete you are or aren’t, or can be it’s none of those things.
It’s just, it’s a very useful training metric that you can apply to help. The intensity and your power targets and your training.
[00:31:13] Jonathan Lee: Yeah. So it’s, and I think that that’s probably the healthiest perspective to have on it. It’s not a determination of your potential as an athlete or anything else like that.
And in, uh, so when we look at data and we look at our athletes and athletic performances and everything else, we also don’t look at it through the lens of quantifying everybody just by their FTP. And that’s where they’re at. Um, in fact, we see in terms of improvement that it’s much more about, and we sound like a broken record, but consistency.
And what I mean by consistency is how regular you are with your training, comparing your long-term average to that same measurement, but on those much shorter timescale and seeing if you maintain that over a good length of time, those are the athletes that we see the best improvements. Um, the chat’s blowing up by the way, people are, uh, sharing their thoughts on testing.
And it’s fantastic. Uh, good to have you all on YouTube and you can join us Thursdays at 8:00 AM Pacific. So getting back to lactate threshold, like basically your body produces lactate, it hits an inflection point where it’s no longer able to reprocess that lactate. Super cool. It’s like a car that somehow feeds off its own exhaust.
And that exhausts is like actually like super fuel. It’s super cool. But then it gets to a point where it starts to produce a lot more and it can’t reprocess it. So it starts to increase its presence, uh, at an exponential rate. And that’s where our lactate threshold typically is. But the tricky part is, is it.
So th that can be measured with, like you mentioned blood lactate tests, they either prick your finger or they prick your ear while you’re doing these really hard efforts. It’s not very pleasant. Uh that’s for darn sure. Um, so it’s like do a ramp test or do a 20 minute test, and then while you’re doing that, we’re just going to poke you and make you bleed every once in a while.
But, but don’t stop hold that power target. Um, so then by the
[00:32:56] Amber Pierce: way, stop and talk to us about how hard it feels like you’re going right now.
[00:33:00] Jonathan Lee: Yeah. Give us an RPE rating as you’re going through this too, please yet. Um, and also probably hop on an bike that feels super weird and unfamiliar and not like peddling any other bicycle in the world.
Uh, so anyways, but yeah, that’s that, so there’s that, and you can measure that, but then this whole concept of kind of like this whole concept switch and stop me if you want to talk about some other stuff on lactate before I get into field testing, Amber. No, I think
[00:33:27] Amber Pierce: that’s a great, great jumping off point.
[00:33:29] Jonathan Lee: Yeah. Because that’s where we can measure it, but then it’s so inaccessible for a lot of us to be like, yeah, I’m just going to head to the lab today and pay a bunch of money and be able to get this measurement. It is, yeah. It’s very expensive. And it’s also, you know, it’s, it’s just difficult because most places, I mean, different towns or cities where you’re in, who knows if they even have this sort of equipment, you know, metabolic carts and everything else.
So, uh, anyways, it’s really inaccessible. So field testing is an approximation or a way to be able to do something outside of a laboratory environment and to be able to do. Uh, close indication of where that threshold might be. Now, there’s this tie that like your lactate thresholds should be your, our power and it’s this.
And it’s something that has been taken as gospel for some like that is absolutely the truth. And, and you have to be able to hold that power for 60 minutes. And if you can’t, it is not your FTP. It is lower than that. But this gets into the complexities of testing in and of itself. And also being able to hold your actual threshold power for an hour is not just simply like, I just need to spend the pedals for that long.
It’s extremely difficult to do. That’s why the hour record is never such a, just a cut and dry thing. Um, Alex outset, Bradley Wiggins. And Yens Volks. I can think of. Um, and jeez, I mean, we have other, our record attempts, all of them say, I should be able to do this, but they have no clue if they’ll actually be able to do it because it turns out we’re not just robots.
It’s hard to be able to put out that power for an hour. It’s really difficult actually, when you’re punched up into a tiny little ball, you’re on a track to your knees. Yeah. So, but it’s hard for all of us. I mean, I’m sure Alex you’ve. I mean, do you go out and do one hour as 60 minutes? And that’s actually a protocol.
[00:35:24] Alex Wild: Yeah. I just go as far as I can for an hour. And that’s my
[00:35:27] Jonathan Lee: FTP. That’s not true, but that
you never know with Alex
[00:35:38] Ivy Audrain: underwent another firmware update and
[00:35:46] Jonathan Lee: yeah. So Alex doesn’t even do that. Um, there are very few people that do, but that doesn’t mean that that’s a bad idea. If that’s what you want to do, that’s what you want to do. And that’s what you feel like gives you good training. That’s the goal because that’s the actual goal of all of this in terms of FTP, there’s your lactate threshold, but then your FTP, which is basically your representation of your threshold in terms of power.
So an approximation of, okay, what’s your power like when you’re at that lactate steady state before you hit that inflection point, right?
[00:36:15] Alex Wild: So on the climb that goes for an hour, please tell me where it is. I’d like to find it to
[00:36:19] Jonathan Lee: hope Hawaii, Alex, we’ve we’ve talked about this. I know I’m excited.
[00:36:26] Ivy Audrain: Um, mountain canyon,
[00:36:28] Amber Pierce: Arizona
[00:36:28] Jonathan Lee: too, for sure. Yeah. Oh
[00:36:30] Alex Wild: yeah.
[00:36:32] Jonathan Lee: Oh yeah. Well, lemons a whole lot longer than an hour for some of us Alex. So, um,
um, but anyways, the whole point with this with field testing and everything else is to get an approximation in terms of power of what that is. It’s an estimate it’s never like a, full-on like, this is exactly what it is. Uh, those estimates could be spot on. They could be close, they could be far off, but that’s the whole point of field testing is to be able to give us this experience of being able to have a training benchmark, like Amber said, to be able to train ourselves in strategic and specific ways, but to do it without the, you know, the inconvenience cost and an accessibility that exists with lab testing.
So that’s the goal. Now there’s a lot of different ways that you can do this T this field testing to like tons of them. Um, there’s so many different forms of ramp tests. There’s people that swear by a 12 minute test or a 20 minute test, or a two by eight minute tests where a 30 or a 45 or a 60 and different, like a different exhaustion protocols prior to those efforts to be able to exhaust anaerobic stores.
There’s tons of different ones. If you’re not satisfied with one sort of testing protocol, I promise you there’s another one you can try. Uh, there, they just exist all over the place, but all of them have the same goal. Their goal is not necessarily to define your lactate steady state with perfect. Their goal is to give you an accurate training benchmark.
And that’s really that that point is controversial because a lot of people say, then why is it even called FTP, then why is it tied to that? And there’s that disagreement that exists. But from a coaching perspective, the goal is to give you good training. That’s the goal. So this is where, uh, a lot of expectations probably have to shift in terms of what testing actually is and what testing actually delivers.
Do you agree with that, Amber have any disagreements on
[00:38:19] Amber Pierce: yeah, no, definitely. I think, and I think some of the confusion arises when we look at professional writers, for example, we’ll talk about their numbers a lot. And, um, in the professional ranks some performance directors, when they’re looking at recruiting athletes, they’ll be looking at those numbers as some indicators, but then again, even those folks are not looking at those numbers is absolute.
Like, okay, this athlete, you know, has so much potential. The potential is always what remains to be seen. Always your numbers are never, never, never your fate. So I think what ends up happening is. Articles that we read about professional writers or quotes that we hear from these performance directors.
There’s an attitude of, yeah, we’re looking at these numbers as a way to evaluate potential athletes for recruiting purposes. And that ends up getting really conflated because when we’re talking about those of us who are, and I count myself among those of us who are now training to feel good in life or for a weekend crit or for a personal goal event, FTP has a really different function.
We’re not trying out for a pro-team. Um, and it’s not something. And even, even in those cases, again, it’s, it’s not the thing that’s going to benchmark what your potential as an athlete is. Um, for us, it really is about making sure that your training is appropriate and that your power targets are appropriate and that you’re progressing those power targets appropriately.
So you’re not just aiming for the same power target. If your fitness has gotten better, you want to keep progressing. Um, and that’s really the focus of it and the primary purpose of it. And I think that people get confused because we do hear about these same numbers being used for different contexts, but it’s not, you have to break it down to how does this really apply for you in your own life?
And when, when that is the case, it’s usually about benchmarking for appropriate training target.
[00:40:10] Jonathan Lee: Um, and the, so with that goal being understood, it still doesn’t change the fact that sometimes it’s hard to get a good result in the field. You know, it’s like, uh, the other day I’ll share a personal one here for all of you.
And this is me airing my own dirty laundry for everybody here. But like I did a ramp test, uh, a handful of weeks ago and I got to 68 and, uh, the prior day, which is, uh, which was lower than I expected. And the prior day, the day before that, uh, I was riding at sweet-spot comfortably with my heart rate, nice and low and chatting even with a friend while we were going up.
And, uh, I did two 90 for 45 minutes. Right. So same elevation, same everything else. Um, and I was comfortable and easy sometimes testing. Isn’t going to capture that and it, it could be testing. Anxiety could be nutrition. It could be stress from other factors in your life. It could be that you’re training a ton.
And as a result, you’re just tired and fatigued. They’re not able to get it out
[00:41:07] Alex Wild: to 90 for 45 minutes the day before a test.
[00:41:10] Jonathan Lee: What’s that? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Um, but once again, it was relatively easy. Um, so, but there’s so many different things that could, that could cause this for you to not get a good result.
And that’s really, that’s one of the reasons why we created the ramp test, because if you’re talking about a long steady state test, the failure rate or the, I shouldn’t say I’ll define failure rate in this. The, the hit rate of the test in terms of getting a good training benchmark for people the longer and more sustained interval, it is the more difficult it is for people to hit like sustaining power and holding it steady for a whole 20 minute effort is really hard.
For average people. They’re probably super experienced people listening to this and being like that’s easy. Well, not for everybody here, not everybody. It’s really difficult for a lot of folks. And two by eight, same thing. Uh, the ramp test might be really hard for people for other reasons, but we created the ramp test to try to increase that hit rate, to give people better training.
And the way that we measured that was subsequent workouts. It wasn’t is this person happy with their FTP? Cause if that was the case, we’d have an algorithm that just tells you your FTP is 400 plus all the time. Right. Um, but in this case, we look at subsequent workouts. Yeah, sure. Uh, look at subsequent workouts and see what the, what the success rate of those workouts was.
If people were able to complete challenging workouts and we did this in testing and give them specific workouts, w that we knew would test those constraints. And we tested this thousands of times and we were looking at, okay, the train athletes are getting better quality training now there, and it’s not too low, it’s not too high.
They’re right in the sweet spot. So that was why we designed the ramp test to increase that, but constant improvement, we still wanted to make better on that even more. So we have this whole idea of, instead of just. Taking a single snapshot in time where tons of variables could affect it. We want to go way deeper than that.
Right. Amber, and that’s kind of the whole goal behind the product that you’ve been building with your team.
[00:43:09] Amber Pierce: Right? And I think anybody who’s listening, who’s done testing of any kind, especially if you’ve done repeated testing over time, you’ve probably experienced good test days and bad test days. And that’s the thing with testing is there’s pros and cons to every method of testing out there in terms of field testing.
Um, you can control for a lot more factors. If you’re testing indoors, weather is a really big one. Traffic is another one. Flat tires can happen. There’s a lot of things that you really can’t control when you’re field testing outside. So you can control some more of those factors indoors, but even then there are other things that are going on, like life stress.
Um, and it makes having a truly repeatable protocol, very, very difficult. And some people are really good about this. You know, they’re eating the same things. They’re getting the same amount of sleep the night before, but for most of us in life, it is really hard to make things that repeatable.
[00:44:00] Jonathan Lee: Yeah. How repeatable is your S how repeatable is your sleep these days?
[00:44:07] Amber Pierce: there’s just zero predictability.
[00:44:10] Jonathan Lee: Zero. It’s like going to Vegas to the craps table every day, who knows? Yeah. Right
[00:44:15] Amber Pierce: past sleep is no predictor of future sleep right now. Indeed. So, so being able to control for more factors is really, really helpful. Um, but it’s, it’s really hard to do. And so what we’re doing is instead of taking that snapshot in time work, considering a lot more factors, and we’re kind of looking at instead of a snap snapshot, you could think of it as looking at a, as a video clip.
Um, and we’re looking at a lot of different factors and taking those into account so that we can, so for example, we could say, you know, if you were going to ran tests and you had a really bad day on a ramp test, Ours would be able to look at some of your performance and a few other factors and say, actually, you know what we think you can be here.
And the goal of this feature is to benchmark you in a way that you can successfully complete productive workouts. That’s the goal. We want you to be able to update your FTP and get really good training immediately after that. So if, if your FTP is too high or too low, because you had a good or bad test day that can really impact your training.
And that’s so much, even if you have great bragging rights, because you had a huge number or a really big increase and it feels really good. It’s not going to feel as good when you’re really struggling or possibly not able to complete productive workouts after that, that is counterproductive. Even if you have the bragging rights, what we are after is, is really, um, solid, successful training and consistency.
And that’s what we’re really hoping to deliver with this feature
[00:45:47] Jonathan Lee: and how we’ll be validating. This is once again, looking at subsequent workouts, and then there’s a really big thing to keep in mind. There’s still wiggle room because of adaptive training, right? So we’ll be looking at the adaptations that are made thereafter as well to see if things need adjustment for specific athletes or things need adjustment overall.
But if it’s not exactly what the number is. Totally aligns with your maxi, maximal lactate, steady state, whatever it may be. Then it’s going to make adjustments to the adaptive trainings that you’re still getting those productive workouts that you need to be able to move forward. So it’s really just once again, taking steps toward that now a really big, important point to make with all this.
And I’m, this is awesome. And I’m sure a lot of people are excited about not having to test and having this option, but we’re not taking testing away either. If you want to test, you can still do it. You can do the ramp test. You can do the 20 minute tests. You can do the two by eight. You could ride for 60 minutes and then record whatever that is and manually update your FTP.
You can do all that stuff, whatever you want to do, it’s still there. This is just an option for you. So you’ll basically be able to accept it or not, and a good way for you to look at how to validate this is how do those workouts feel afterward. Um, and once again, I’d say give it a week or two once of going through workouts because adaptive training over that timeframe, we’ll be making the adjustments necessary to get you in productive zones, but that’s, uh, that’s how it works.
So hopefully that explains it a bit. That explains hopefully the goal of FTP testing in terms of us athletes here, uh, that are listening to this, you know, average folks. We’re not trying to put it in, be drafted by really high profile teams, unless you’re Alex, I don’t know, but even Alex has a job and he’s got his own team.
So he’s probably not interested in that, but the point is. It’s about getting you better training. And that’s what the whole goal is. So hopefully this is a good refresher on training or sorry, on FTP and how it relates to lactate threshold testing, and then why this new feature exists to try to make the whole thing a whole lot easier for you and give you better training.
How to pick early season races, when to do them, and how to get the most from them
Um, okay. Let’s get into the next little bit and on early season races, uh, setting expectations for those races and then racing in the base phase. I want to go over all three of those things because Ivy, your season is in the fall and into the winter because you cyclocross is your main focus. So I want, can you kick us off on this in terms of, but you’ve also raced pro road seasons, mountain bikes, seasons.
You’ve done tons of different stuff. So you’ve had this chance to be able to pick early season races and do that. Yeah. What’s the point of early season racing in your mind? Well, not now,
[00:48:24] Ivy Audrain: now I do not feel
[00:48:26] Amber Pierce: like there is a point for me.
I’ve made a
[00:48:32] Ivy Audrain: lot of mistakes and done early season races in the base phase and it was always so stressful on a road team as well when, um, a lot of our rosters were determined and based upon really early season team camps and early season training races where. You know, this is a training race, don’t worry.
No, it’s not like you’re picking our rosters. Yeah.
[00:48:57] Jonathan Lee: So that was
[00:48:58] Amber Pierce: so
[00:48:58] Ivy Audrain: stressful. But, but now for me, I feel like racing in the base season does something to me psychologically in a negative way that could outweigh any of those performance benefits or gains that I could make. So what I will do in base in like later
[00:49:16] Amber Pierce: base phases,
[00:49:18] Ivy Audrain: or in bases in is do fast group rides, race rides, where I can
[00:49:22] Amber Pierce: still get some, uh, of those
[00:49:26] Ivy Audrain: racing tends to be efforts.
If I feel like it, or I can just surf in and not feel any of that race pressure, and then not contemplate my entire self worth and involvement in the sport. And if I should continue on, because I had such a bad performance in bases in which I know I should not put any weight into who
[00:49:45] Amber Pierce: we were
[00:49:46] Ivy Audrain: athletes, you know, you have to, so yeah, that’s my, my new protocol is I do not register for races in my base
[00:49:53] Jonathan Lee: season getting a lot of questions from athletes about like racing in the base season.
It’s normal because lots of athletes, lots of you listen to this are in the base season. And then there’s these races that pop up. So Ivy’s perspective is one. Um, does anybody else have a different perspective to IVs that they want to share? I have one for sure. But does anybody else view early season races differently?
[00:50:14] Alex Wild: Um, I, I use. I guess everything besides racing like the racing is kind of the outcome, but like this year was lifetime series. The biggest change for me is racing gravel. So I found some local grasshoppers series races that are gravel races, but kind of just show up, show up with what I got and, and race.
But for me, it’s like get used to the gravel bike, like race, a gravel race and, and kind of learn maybe things that seem obvious to most gravel racers, but I haven’t learned yet. So that by the time I get to like touch her or, you know, Bentonville at the end of the year that I feel confident racing and gravel bike.
So for me, it’s just kind of a fun way to get, get used to the new bike and new
[00:51:04] Jonathan Lee: discipline. Yeah. Uh, Amber, how about you? I mean, you probably have what Ivy said, which was like these early season races and air quotes that are actually very much, uh, uh, slotting in for the team roster, but tryouts, were there any other things that you looked from or look to gain from an early season?
[00:51:25] Amber Pierce: Yeah. And I think hearing Ivy’s answer and Alex’s answer highlights, probably the crux of the issue is managing expectations. So some people are better at this than others. And I don’t say that like, um, you know, oh, Alex is really good. This is genuinely hard. And this is something to know about yourself.
And I think Ivy, you’re so wise about this, because if this is, you know, if you know that you’ll come away from an early season race with a hit to your confidence in a way that that’s going to be hard to come back from, it’s smart to not do that to yourself. I mean, especially when you could get, I mean, racing usually takes away from training, right?
Because you’re going to have a couple of days of resting or travel going into it. You’re going to have to recover after it. So if the trade-off is, Hey, I’m going to go do this race and possibly take a hit to my confidence and miss out on a few days of training. That’s maybe not a great trade-off, but for somebody like Alex, who’s like, you know what I can get in there.
And you know, I’m on a learning curve with gravel and this is going to be part of my training, leading up to a race later in the season. Um, this is actually gonna be more worth my while. And that trade-off from what I might miss out on a training is going to be a good thing. So that’s, that’s really, I think what everybody has to weigh for themselves.
So I think if you are going to do early season raising number one, you have to be really honest with yourself about how well you’re able to manage your expectations on it. Will you be able to go into this and completely let go of the result, like really, truly let go of the result and not internalize that as some kind of, uh, swell self doubt.
Um, and if you think you can do that, then I think early season races can be really valuable in terms of working on process goals. So if you’re somebody who, for example, is new to racing and you want to raise on the road, I’ll speak to that because that’s my area of expertise. There’s a lot that you can work on in an early season.
Training race, uh, positioning is a huge one and working on drafting and trying to use as little energy in the field as possible. Um, see how long you can stay in the group without ever touching the wind, playing little games like that with yourself can be really, really helpful that doesn’t work well when you’re on a pro team.
And they’re looking to see whether or not they’re going to select you for the next race, but if you’re racing on your own and you’re building out a season for yourself, this is a great exercise to do because there are no expectations on you and you, if you can go in with that idea of, Hey, there’s these specific skills that I want to work on, that I can’t work on in training by myself, then this is what I want to get out of it.
And I’m going to feel good about that regardless of the outcome, then there’s some really, really great, um, really, really great gains to be made with early season, right?
[00:54:01] Jonathan Lee: Yeah, I, so I struggle Ivy similarly. I bet most people probably do. And it’s whether it’s how you handle that is, is, is in one. And I, I really admire your approach with it just being like, Hey, I know that it’s too risky for me, so I don’t do it.
And I do it. I take a different approach, um, what I’ve found and this probably will evolve and change over time. I don’t know if you were always that way, Ivy, like, um, it’s, I’m sure it’s evolved for you over time. Right. Um, and for me recently, I’ve, uh, kind of forced myself into doing early season races because it’s not natural for me.
I want to be like store it all up. And then one big day, that’s like how I naturally just want to do it, but I’ve found that IRA’s a whole lot better when I’m able to liberate myself from expectations. And that’s even on my biggest days, I’m just, I do better in those situations. And one thing about early season racing is it kind of forces me into that.
Um, because I’ve now gotten to the point where I won’t beat myself up over it and I won’t hold myself to that. So I kind of just forces the whole thing to happen in a positive way. So I do these races and I know like, okay, I’m going to get. So that’s okay. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to go out here and I’m going to learn and get familiar with racing again, kind of like what Alex said, which is what Ivy accomplishes with their group rides, to which you, if you’re fortunate to have group rides around you like that, I know Ivy, she does the short commute from Montana to Sacramento to do those.
Um, but like, which is like a third of the way across our country, by the way, if you aren’t from here. So, um, but if you have something like that close to you, then it’s awesome. Just to be able to get back into it because there is something, and even like what Alex is saying, Alex is used to racing mountain bikes, but gravel is a bit different.
Like the way the races unfold is different. The bike is different. The terrain is different, but also just the dynamics. So, um, I, I think they can be really helpful. They can absolutely be damaging too. If you end up letting them define your abilities and set your expectations moving forward. But I do encourage people to give it a shot.
And one thing to keep in mind is a lot of people are asking the question, should I race in the base phase? And it’s really centered around fitness is the question not setting expectations or even talking about, you know, periodization or anything like that, but rather fitness, like are these hard race efforts going to somehow hurt my base?
Um, and one thing I would say to that is if it makes your subsequent workouts not possible, then yes, it’s, it’s hurting your training. But in most cases, it probably isn’t going to be like that, unless you’re doing huge, big heart events. If they’re something that’s shorter and something that’s a bit more approachable, probably not, but that’s kind of the beauty of it coming in with half-baked fitness.
Right. And very it’s like, uh, you know, you get to, because boy, that’s, when you learn, you’ve mentioned this with your stint over in your, not your stint, your entire career over in Europe, but when you first went over there, how you were like, wow, I feel like, I don’t know how to race my bike. This is an entirely different set of like rules that we’re playing on in terms of how to move efficiently through a pack.
And, but when you’re not, when you don’t have the fitness or you feel another one other way or, or in another way, you’re handicapped, boy, that’s when you learn how to race your bike. Yeah. It
[00:57:19] Amber Pierce: can be not really valuable. It can be really valuable to go into a race, really tired and know that. And again, adjust your expectations.
But what that does is it forces you to be extra efficient because when you have a ton of fitness, you have a lot more room to make the steaks. Um, and you can actually end up. Creating some bad habits as a result, but if you raise pretty consistently when you’re tired, um, you don’t have room to make those mistakes and you have to get really, really ruthlessly efficient about when and how you use your energy in the race.
And that can be really helpful in terms of training your racing tactics and your race intuition that said, uh, going back to what you mentioned just a little bit ago, how that can possibly be detrimental to a training plan. And I think the two big factors are, um, travel and recovery. So if you have to spend a lot of time traveling to a race and that’s going to take away from your training, that’s something to consider.
And then is the race long enough or intense enough that it’s going to require extra time, extra days of recovery, where you could be completing part of a structured training plan. So if the race fits into your training, in the sense that maybe it’s nearby, you don’t have a really long commute to it. Um, you feel like you can manage those expectations and you can be disciplined about how hard you go in that race so that you’re not blowing up your entire next week of training.
Then it can be really beneficial, but that’s a lot of ifs. So you have to be really honest with yourself about what you would be getting out of it and what those trade-offs may be for your training.
Alex’s peaking strategy for the year
[00:58:54] Jonathan Lee: Assuming that criteria is in place, Alex, uh, Let’s have you assume the position of a cross-country mountain biker.
That’s a common listener to this podcast and we’ll assume a handful of different scenarios. Try my best. Yeah. Yeah. Totally foreign for you. Um, what would you look for in early season races? Like advising a typical cross country racer, what sort of races would you be encouraging them to look to do?
[00:59:19] Alex Wild: Um, when I used to do early season races, it was just local ones.
Like Amber said, a lot of the time, the travel piece and all that can take away from training. So if you can find one that you can sleep at home and drive an hour or two, those are my favorite. They’re also a really good vibe. Like I really enjoy those local races and, and seeing the community. So I think that can help alleviate some of that, like anxiety it’s just like intervals with friends, so to speak.
Um, for me an XC, it was a lot about like testing tires and set up. So like use it as an opportunity to like, okay, I’m going to set my rear suspension in front suspension at this. I’m gonna set my tire pressure at this and I’m gonna try my dropper post an eraser or whatever it is like that you’re trying to test.
And then I go into it normally, I guess I think in the trainer road set up, it’s like a, a B race. Like there is a little bit of rest and it kinda just takes the place of like an interval day in my schedule. And with that, I know. The same way I approach intervals is just like, I’m going to give my full effort and the result will kind of come after that.
And I’m more focused on, on those equipment pieces. Like how did the tires feel? Did I feel good on the dissents? Like, was my positioning good? Did I hit my pedal off the start? What could I have done better next time? But without the pressure of like it being this big event, and for me, the goal is to kind of get those like quote unquote stupid mistakes out of the way, and then also dial in any new equipment or anything that I’ve changed year to year.
[01:00:58] Jonathan Lee: Um, yeah. And if you’re a mountain biker and you have road events by you, I consider circuit races or crits. If you have such Liberty to choose rather than big long road races. Cause I find that circuit races in particular are great for mountain bikers. Um, crits can be good, but many times the most efficient rider wins a crit.
So it’s a really different fitness profile than mountain biking. Like very, very different. So you could learn something about that and you can learn pack dynamics, which is really helpful on mountain bikes, just to, uh, you know, the best mountain bikers, keep that present when they’re racing. They aren’t just going out in and riding solo the whole time.
So that’s, I’d recommend for mountain bikers on the road. What about on the roadside? Uh, Ivy, is there, um, like, uh, is there, uh, would there be specific sort of events or anything else that you would encourage a road racer to target? Whether it be like. Time trials, road races, circuit races, crits, or maybe a different discipline like gravel.
I dunno. What would you recommend for a road racer trying to find early season races? Um, that’s a good question. I
[01:02:03] Ivy Audrain: think it depends upon what kind of writer you are. Right? So, um,
[01:02:09] Amber Pierce: if you raise a lot of credits in the summer
[01:02:12] Ivy Audrain: and that’s the kind of writer you are, and you don’t have to dig into some deep well of peak fitness to get out of the saddle a few times and you feel like it would be a good refresher and your base season to do a circuit racer credit, um, you know, do it if you’re like a climber or a stage race person, and you’re just starting your base season and there’s a local crit maybe.
[01:02:37] Jonathan Lee: Uh, yeah. And
[01:02:41] Ivy Audrain: while I say that I normally don’t race in the bass season anymore. That’s subject to change, right? Like there are more,
[01:02:49] Jonathan Lee: uh,
[01:02:50] Ivy Audrain: broader variation of races that we can do that are available, available to us. Now that weren’t before like gravel racing and I’ve sworn up and down that I will never do a gravel race, but people change, things can change.
[01:03:04] Jonathan Lee: that would be great.
I thought you raised
[01:03:09] Alex Wild: short circuit,
[01:03:10] Jonathan Lee: gravel
track lacrosse is the actual
Ivy. Does that mean you’re going to do a grasshopper? When is it going to be in Sacramento? There are gravel races that happened in north Cal early. So yeah, that’s where Alex will be. Sorry. I thought you were hinting at that. I don’t want to, I’m not putting you on the spot, please. Don’t come beat me Ivy.
[01:03:34] Ivy Audrain: Well, if I’m in my base season and I feel like it’s a discipline, that’s enough far out of reach for me that I won’t have any sort of performance expectations. There’s not a lot of travel to it. Something like that. I would incorporate into my base season maybe because I wouldn’t look at that as a race.
It, it would just be an opportunity to have. Supported extended base slash tempo miles with,
[01:04:02] Alex Wild: yeah, that’s what, uh, Jen does actually, um, for her, like ultra is like, she’ll have her a hundred care, a hundred miler in the year, but, uh, like for her 50 mile training days she’ll find a race, but just because it has all the aid stations, so it’s like logistically easier for her to run 50 miles with somebody else taking care of the snacks.
So I thought that was
[01:04:23] Jonathan Lee: outsource the snacks, the snacks lead. Yeah. So I I’m personally of the opinion that it’s never, it’s not like there’s a time that, uh, it’s too early to race in your season. As long as the things that we’ve talked about with managing expectations and getting something productive out of it comes from that.
It’s also, it can be really motivating too. If a lot of athletes will be in, who knows their 11th year of training and you feel like you’re kind of on Groundhog day with like, okay, it’s the same thing again, here we go. And sometimes adding in a race like that can be really fun and motivating and re spark your joy that you have for, for riding bikes and for training and for the whole process that you’re going to go through.
So I never think that there is a too early to race in the season. It just has to be right for you. So ask yourself if it’s what you need and if it’s what you want to do and what the outcome will be in terms of, will this help me out as an athlete or will this hinder me as an athlete? Uh, whatever that is.
[01:05:24] Alex Wild: There’s ways to find that motivation too. It can be outside of racing, but like you were saying, if, if you feel like it’s the same thing day after day, and you’re lacking motivation, there can be fun, different ways to like, create your own challenges. Right? Like, I really wanted to do this six hour route.
You know, it doesn’t fit into my training, but it’s like, you know, I’m going to plug that in there and I know it’s gonna motivate me kind of thing, like
[01:05:47] Jonathan Lee: six hour routes and not blow up his training for the rest of us. We may not be that way. It’s just, I want to throw that out there. Sorry, Alex, go ahead. No, yeah.
I mean, it’s,
[01:05:54] Alex Wild: it’s scalable to anything, right? Like it could be that two hour or it could be that climb that you wanted to do, but you never had enough time. Whatever it is. I think finding those and plugging them into your training in the off season is, is important. And I think that’s part of the discussion we had around testing.
Like that day is fun for me. Cause it’s, it’s not the norm, you know, it’s not like, oh, go do two by 20 and then do some endurance, then do a sweet spot. It’s like, just go send it. It’s like, let’s go. Like, there’s an excitement to, to changing it up. And I think we all, as athletes get how important laying the groundwork is, and we’re willing to do the work, but it’s always fun to throw in those, those challenges or, or different things for training.
Like I’ve been doing six hour rides. It’s been new for me, but it’s like, I’ve been finding a fun challenge each time. Like one time I was like, okay, I want to climb 10,000 feet of climbing. So I made a route that does that or oil. I want to try to see if I can do a hundred miles. So I made a route for that.
And the challenge for me is fun. Cause it’s, it brings me somewhere new that I haven’t trained before, but also it’s, there’s something else to look at besides like the time it’s like, Ooh, like how close am I to a hundred miles? And my robotic brain is, makes it very easy. Cause I was 5.6 miles in which would stands on 5.6% done.
So it makes the math nice and easy.
[01:07:15] Jonathan Lee: Alex, I kind of want to talk about your plan for peaking. I don’t know. You, you also don’t feel like you have to reveal this if you’re like, you know, keeping this close to the vest because you are going to race such close to the best racing throughout the whole year because the lifetime grand Prix, uh, is there a specific race you’re targeting for that?
[01:07:37] Alex Wild: not really. Um, my plan I’ll come in to see Otter strike. And a hour away from me. So I mean, that, one’s always good for me to get to sleep at home. It doesn’t really disrupt anything, which is nice. That it’s the first one. Cause it actually pushes out the date, which I actually actually travel anywhere.
Um, I’m still on the fence about
[01:07:56] Jonathan Lee: unbalanced. Sorry. Can we talk about Seattle really quick? It’s a hundred K now the mountain bike race. Yep. Are they, are they going to do two laps or do you think that they will stream
[01:08:04] Alex Wild: there’s two big laps with about 10,000
[01:08:07] Jonathan Lee: feet of climbing? Yeah, that makes sense. So it was basically kind of like the course they have before, but twice.
[01:08:13] Alex Wild: I think slightly different, but a lot of the same footprint just because I think they use a lot of the best trails out there. So that’d be a good course. They will, you know, not crazy technical, but it’ll be like fun flowy, single track. Like four-door does the, the trails around there and will be super fun.
[01:08:32] Jonathan Lee: That’s your turf too. That’ll be cool. Yeah. Amber is thinking of all that Amber smell, you can see this audience do Amber smiling and Ivy looks like she just smelled something disgusting when we both said four-door so Amber must have good memories racing lymphoma, the road races there, and Ivy must have terrible memories racing there.
[01:08:58] Ivy Audrain: Um, great in a lot of things and, um, XC isn’t one of them and
[01:09:03] Jonathan Lee: that’s that ration is totally different than most XC races. So, yeah, I’m okay to
[01:09:11] Ivy Audrain: joke about doing half of that amount of climbing on like a race car track. And you’re like, what am I,
[01:09:16] Jonathan Lee: where am I?
It’s a little while. Yeah. Uh, so I interrupted you, Alex. I apologize. But, um, so that sea Otter for you is there. And everybody seems to be throwing out Unbound as the one that they aren’t focusing on. I’m
[01:09:33] Alex Wild: on the fence. Um, for me, it was just from a perspective how wrecked would 11 hours a day make me for the rest of the season, just because, excuse me.
Um, it’s my first year doing like proper volume. So like, you know, someone like a Keegan has been doing it for a while. Like he can probably factor that in and, and know how he’ll respond to an 11 hour day. Um, for me, it’s a bit of an unknown and the lifetime rules say that you will be, the points are five out of six, so you only have to start five out of them.
And you have to start the last race, which is big sugar, obviously, cause it’s the ultimate event, but so I’m on the fence about Unbound. So I don’t really know how we’re going to factor that in. It’s kind of just see how we feel in a couple months with, with the volume. And if we feel like that would be a good idea, we’ll probably throw in some, some of these challenges where I’ll do a big day, we’ve considered doing an Everest, not for any attempt, but just for like that length of time on the bike with some intensity to kind of see how that feels and how the body really.
But just throw in some highlight climbing. So it’s fun challenges. Um, and then Tasha, I think will be a good course for me. Um, Jen and I are doing Tahoe for a month against all the, a climatized for that. And it’s a lot of climbing, so excited for that one. Um, and then after Tahoe I will go to Colorado and we will see if I do XC nationals.
Cause I think it’s at winter park again. Yeah. And then I’ll do the Leadville stage race and then Leadville, and then that’ll be kind of the end of my altitude block. And then after that, it’s, it’s a Schwam again,
[01:11:20] Jonathan Lee: is that how you say your guess is as good as mine, Alex? I have no clue. Yeah. Yeah.
[01:11:26] Alex Wild: And that one is, I think the shortest of all the events it’s it’s 40 miles I think.
And so roll into that one and then cap it off in October. So it’s kind of easy to, I wouldn’t know if I’d call it a peak, but at the beginning of the year, seawater is kind of on its own in April. And then if I skip Unbound, the next one isn’t until July. So it’s kind of, there’s a lot of time to kind of come down so to speak and build back up for July.
But then as soon as I hit Tuscher it’s every month through October. So it’s July, August, September, October, I’ll have an air race. At that point, it will probably not so much be a peak, has like a high level of fitness that we carry over multiple months with kind of like tricking the body into peaking. So with high volume, we’ll probably do volume between the races and then drop the volume the week before to kind of artificially make the body be like, oh, sweet,
[01:12:28] Jonathan Lee: give yourself some
[01:12:29] Alex Wild: freshness and get some refreshments for the race and kind of see where we’re at.
Um, yeah, my goal is, is top five in the series. So I think that’s achievable and like a challenging goal, but also I wouldn’t be surprised if I achieved a top five at the same time.
How to use training camps to boost your fitness
[01:12:48] Jonathan Lee: Sure. Yeah. With you mentioned Tahoe and you mentioned block doing an elevation block, all that stuff. Ivy, I know that you are, uh, looking at once again doing the short commute down to Sacramento for a training block as well.
Um, but I want to talk a little bit about training blocks, uh, or training camps, so to speak these like focused blocks of training that you will do, uh, to inject some more, some more force into the training or inject something specific that you’re going for for this, uh, Ivy, what do you, how do you use these camps?
Is it purely just to escape cold Montana or are like, what are you hoping to accomplish with a training camp or training block when you put it on your calendar? Like this. I
[01:13:32] Ivy Audrain: was thinking about this a lot, because I was trying to figure out why winter here. Wasn’t doing it for me this year. I usually get excited about skiing and I have an okay time riding the trainer and this year I’m just not, and it’s made me have to reconcile with why I like training and riding my bike.
And the answer is I like being outside, um, and training outside and I like to do it with my friends. Um, so. Sure there are of course advantages to getting outside and being warm. But for me, it’s, it’s really, um, like the reason why I want to train and ride and race now. Um,
[01:14:18] Jonathan Lee: yeah, you’ve raised professionally for years.
You’ve done all that heads. It’s now it gets to be what you want it to be, right? Yeah. Right. Yeah. So, uh, specific objectives cause athletes ask about this, how to fit a camp into my training plan that I have. And I want to go over the basics of how you do it with trainer road and what you want to do. So firstly, you want to be clear with what you want from it.
If you need like a mental break from the grind and you need to go to someplace warm and he lives someplace called that’s one thing. And that’s absolutely that that’s, that’s just as valid as anything else. Uh, if you want to accomplish something specific with fitness, that’s another thing for most people that are time-constrained, it’s really common to get a high aerobic, like a high volume aerobic camp where you’re going to be riding at lower intensities, but just accumulating more volume because of work or because of life constraints.
You just simply not able to achieve a whole lot of volume. And that can go a long way. If you do a week where you’re, where you increase your TSS and we’ve talked about this before, but if you’re increasing your TSS by like 100% and above which for a lot of people, that’s just going to be the, the necessary thing you are absolutely going to have to plan for after this block of training, giving yourself time to be able to recover from that.
Otherwise you will do that hard block. And then after that, your training will be subpar. They’ll just be too fatigued. I remember it’s all relative to the tide that you’re carrying right now in terms of the training stress. So, but be specific with what you want out of the camp. So if you really want to work on, uh, whether it’s, uh, high intensity.
Whether it’s something with bike handling and technique, whether it’s riding with a group, whether it’s falling back in love with the sport, whatever it might be, or aerobic fitness, just be specific. And then try to use that as a theme. If it’s time with friends, use that as a theme, to be able to plan routes to everybody is going to enjoy and have some fun with.
Um, but the main thing, cause we get, we get plenty of questions on this. Usually around this time of year, whether it’s a teen camp or anything else is you have to be conscious of the impact it will have on your training thereafter. Uh, it will take time and we have a great blog post on this about super compensation.
Uh, it’s wonderful. And we’ll link down below in the comments and I’m sure Jesse will probably throw it in right now into the live chat if you’re joining us, but we’ll throw it into the description for you. But the whole concept of this is that you dose your body with more stress than it’s used to. And then you give it time to be able to recover and absorb and adapts to that training.
And then thereafter, you can expect a elevated tide. Now this isn’t something that you can just do all the time. Uh, that would be really difficult for your body. You do this in a more measured way. Typically when you’re training, you gradually bring it up and then drop it down and let yourself recover.
Gradually, bring it up rather than something so severe, but that’s what you’ll want to do with this. Um, we’ll try to keep just that advice to really basics, uh, and really kind of high level and simple, but. Make sure it’s getting what you need out of it. Um, sometimes team camps can be really draining and stressful.
So if you do have a team camper, a club camp, make sure that you also, you give yourself time off after that, but give yourself the time to be able to recover and then get back into it. That’s like my number one rule. Amber, would you have anything else to add on the camps?
[01:17:35] Amber Pierce: Uh, well, if you’re doing a team camp and you’re going to be doing a lot of social interaction in addition to the training, whether or not you’re an introvert, um, that’s a lot of cognitive load and that’s a lot of stress to your central nervous system.
So you do actually need to eat a little bit more, um, to help compensate for that. It is, it is a big energetic load that a lot of people overlook and don’t think about. So, um, make sure that you’re taking time to give your nervous system a little bit of a reset that might mean carving out a little extra time for sleep, um, or maybe a little more alone time going for a quick walk.
Um, whatever it is that you need to reset, uh, but make sure that you’re taking into account that extra energy expenditure because it’s a lot and it adds up, especially when you’re trying to pack in a lot of volume for training.
How to return from training after illness
[01:18:21] Jonathan Lee: For sure. Uh, okay. Let’s touch on recovering from training with illness. Once again, emerged kind of just with all the questions that we’ve gotten this week, I’ve picked the three topics that were most commonly represented by all of this.
Um, the recovering from illness one once again, we’re not going to tell you how to come back from. COVID also, there are not reliable studies that show that like athletes, they get, COVID take this long to recover, and the impacts are this on their respiratory system, this, on their circulatory system and this on their musculature.
Like there isn’t anything like that. Um, and, and it’s honestly just, I think it’s just too early to be able to know all of this. Uh, we, we don’t know much about this. It’s evolving constantly. So as a result, to be able to carry out tests, to be able to get really exact things in terms of how COVID affects fitness, I think we’re, the science is focused on other things like saving lives, uh, with it.
So, uh, so I don’t want to be a little concerned about fitness because training matters to all of us. And when we get, you know, if you are sick in any way, then of course you want to know how to come back from it. So instead I think it’s probably best to talk about principles, right? Um, basic principles that we follow when we are sick.
Uh, Amber, can you kick us off in terms of what you would suggest to athletes coming back from being. Thereafter. Are there any sort of rules of thumb that you follow or forgive me, I should say, just guidelines that you tend to follow when you’re coming back from.
[01:19:45] Amber Pierce: Well, a mindset thing right off the bat is to understand that even though you may have missed training, this isn’t really time off.
This is not been recovery. Your body has been working really, really hard to fight off an infection of some kind. And that takes a ton of energy. And that alone is an effort that’s worthy of some recovery in and of itself. So just because you might feel completely recovered from whatever illness it was, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are fresh and rested and ready to jump into really hard training.
So think of it as a different stress. It’s a different type of stress than training, but just because you haven’t been on the bike or you haven’t been training doesn’t mean that this was. Time off and rest because it definitely wasn’t. So you need to give your body a little bit of extra time to make sure that you’re recovering from that.
So that looks like maybe taking more time off the bike a couple more days. Um, when you started to feel good, it doesn’t hurt to take an extra day just to be sure. And then when you do get back to training, um, less is more, you know, really come back gradually. Don’t dive into, don’t pick up where you left off is probably a really good, good place to start.
Um, you want to work back up to that, so, and how quickly you can work back up to that is really, really individuals. So that’s a place where you have to be very aware and in tune with what’s going on with your body and be very, very honest with yourself about how you’re feeling, just because you want to catch up and get back to where you were really quickly doesn’t mean that you should, and you need to be very clear and honest with how you are actually feeling and not just ignore some signs that maybe you need to back it off again.
I see Ivy nodding. So I kind of want to hear what she’s, what she’s thinking.
[01:21:27] Ivy Audrain: Yeah. Well, being honest with yourself is my guiding principle to excuse me, and being okay with what that looks like has been so tough for me, especially with things like COVID and, you know, I feel like we’ve all experienced this with like collarbone breaks.
For example, everyone has a different opinion about what that recovery process looks like for
[01:21:53] Jonathan Lee: how long. Yeah, for real.
[01:21:57] Ivy Audrain: And I feel like having had been so sick, um, a few weeks ago, um, I was being bombarded with information and opinions about, and, and when I have broken collarbones multiple times or bones or whatever, I feel like whether there’s information and experiences surrounding that illness or injury, um, or not, I everyone’s input and truth and experience invalidates, whatever you’re going through.
And that’s been so hard for me to be, not feel like myself and have for like, uh, a couple of weeks had tried to incorporate stuff in slowly and just not feel good and have to have check-ins all the time with myself about what I could do and to feel like I couldn’t and then have other people tell me, you know, well, you should be doing this and it shouldn’t be a problem to do this.
And, well, my experience when I was sick recently, was that it felt okay to do this and to just feel totally invalidated that it didn’t feel okay for me to do that stuff. And that. I am being soft or something that’s wrong with me or I’m dying. I don’t know, as, uh, being honest with myself and being okay with the answer that I gave myself, what’s my guiding principle.
And it is for injury illness, all
[01:23:26] Jonathan Lee: that. That’s a great nuance principle and good guidance to be able to follow with that. Well, one thing that I want to, uh, one thing I want to cover, and I’ve already seen this during the live chat, I was like, almost had a bet to see how long it would take for somebody to mention it.
The whole, like above the neck train below the neck. Don’t and I can’t,
[01:23:46] Alex Wild: if it’s
[01:23:47] Jonathan Lee: under 70 degrees. Yeah. I disagree with that. And, and, and I just want to make sure that we don’t like maybe us on the podcast. I know that it’s a very small portion of this world, uh, altogether, but maybe we can help others just support them in whatever approach they need to take from coming back from illness, because.
Boy, uh, you know, who knows if it’s something above the neck like that with those sorts of rules or anything else, or if it’s just a, it’s just a cough or it’s just a sore throat or it’s just a headache. Well, Hey, like people need to take the time they need to. Um, so support them in that one thing that I think is really interesting to talk about is with adaptive training and how this works and, and in the future constant improvement, we would love to be able to get information from the athlete in terms of whether it’s objective information they provide, whether it’s biometric feedback from different sensors, that they wear everything else and then make those adjustments.
Nate’s mentioned that before in the podcast. That’s we want to do that, but for now, a great thing that I would recommend that you do is you can still, um, go in and pick an alternate for whatever workout you have scheduled when you come back or you can just do a lower intensity workout instead. And when you do that, make sure you fill out that survey.
Honestly, if you come back from illness and that short recovery ride felt really hard, make sure you mentioned that because that’s going to be a signal to adapt a training that like, oh, Hey, okay. Let’s not try to progress this athlete. As we were, let’s try to progress this athlete as they need. It runs again, it trains you as an individual.
So that’s a big thing that you can. And the same goes for training camps thereafter. Um, I use Amber one of the CR ambers team’s great features, uh, was building out annotations and time off. You can actually plan time off. If you click on the calendar and have an annotation, if you have like one of these training blocks that you put onto your calendar, and you’re going to do that afterwards, you can plan a week off and that’s wonderful.
You can still train. If you want to that week, you can throw in easy workouts and make sure you keep it nice and easy. Uh, but that’s one thing that you can do. If you have the luxury with your training, you can go about adding in time off thereafter sickness or something like that. And that can help as well.
Um, but once again, just use those surveys are so important. Just be honest with them. And a lot of people ask them in the surveys. How do I answer the survey? Don’t overthink it. We’re all overthinkers except for Alex. Alex has never over-thought anything in his life, of course,
but we’re all overthinkers, don’t overthink it. All it’s asking is how it felt and that’s truly all you need to answer. How did it feel? And then based off how. And we’ll get the right data. So that’ll really help. Um, when you’re coming back from it, when you’re coming back from illness, one thing I would really recommend is that you double down on the other things that support your training and wellness.
So doubling down on nutrition, uh, so offering the hydration perspective, make sure you’re getting plenty of electrolytes and plenty of fluid from the nutrition side, make sure you’re giving your body plenty of carbohydrates. Fighting an illness in recovering from an illness is hard and it takes a lot of resources.
So your body needs as much good fuel as possible, and the better quality fuel, the better your body will feel. So that’s higher quality foods oh, and mental wellness. It can be
[01:27:03] Ivy Audrain: so honestly depressive to have such a significant part of your life and your happiness taken away when you have to rest for an extended period of time.
Um, and just jumping back into training is not possible for main people. So taking extra care during that injury illness time and setting up appointments with the counselor or therapist or journaling or finding other activities that you can do that feel okay. That brings some joy, all that stuff is really important.
[01:27:37] Amber Pierce: Yeah. For a lot of people. Oh, for a lot of people, training is a little bit of an escape. Right. And that’s part of how. We kind of maintain a really healthy mental outlook. Um, and when that’s gone, like Ivy said, that can be really hard. So sometimes finding another way of protecting that time for yourself and doing something else.
Um, I know a lot of athletes have really found art and creative endeavors to be surprisingly helpful when they can’t train, because it’s still carving out that time because it’s so easy. Like, oh, I’m not training. So I have this extra hour in the day. And then just automatically devoting that to something other than that protected time for yourself that you usually have.
Um, it’s, it’s hard. It’s hard to protect that time, but it is really important. And like Ivy said, reaching out for help is a really, really great way to start. Um, and putting that time to similar use, even if it’s not in the same
[01:28:31] Jonathan Lee: way,
[01:28:32] Alex Wild: but he else cleaned their already cleaned bikes during
[01:28:35] Jonathan Lee: this time. Yes, I haven’t gotten
[01:28:38] Amber Pierce: that firmware update.
[01:28:43] Jonathan Lee: Oh, one other thing that I would recommend is if you have a race close on your account, And if you can, and now there’s one thing where if you lose that race, you’ll lose all motivation and that could be bad for your mental health as well. Um, because you lose that thing that brings you to it. But boy can races be damaging to our mental health when we have it.
And we get sick before and we’re like, I have to be fit. I have to be fast. I have to be back to normal for this race. And if you’re trying to rush the whole process because of that life will go on without the race and you can find another one. So that’s one thing I would recommend. And I’ve learned that lesson the hard way, um, is that when I, if I am sick or I have anything like that, I mean, that’s why this year, I don’t, I have a few races in the spring and that’s it on my calendar.
I’m not planning anything after we have a kid, right? Because I know my life is going to be crazy thereafter. So I don’t want to have those races be a competing priority in any way and a race right after you’re sick is a competing priority. Now, if it’s your job, it’s one thing, right? Amber, Ivy and Alex that’s different, but when the rest of us, no, I shouldn’t say the rest of us, but a lot of us listen to this.
It isn’t our job. And as a result, you know, we don’t need to put that sort of pressure on ourselves to, to heal quickly. We just need to heal at the rate that we need to heal when we come back from it.
Rapid Fire Questions
So, um, okay. Let’s get into some rapid fire question. And then we’re going to get into some more listener questions.
Krista says, what are the hosts, favorite recovery mixes, and then an additional one. Anybody have vegan or dairy free options they’d recommend. So what about in general? And then we can go to the vegan or dairy free options. Uh, Ivy you’re smiling. Do you have any that you recommend?
[01:30:21] Ivy Audrain: Yeah, ’cause my favorite recovery drink is also vegan and, uh,
[01:30:26] Jonathan Lee: dairy free.
It’s beer. We go, there we go. Chad has done deep dives on this. If you have questions about alcohol and training, just look up, ask a cycling coach alcohol, and you’ll find lots of information. It’s a personal passion of chats. So he’s able to, uh, as you know, there’s a chat he’s been able to research it and get to the bottom of his personal passions, the intersection, uh, Alex, how about you?
What do you do for recovery? Um,
[01:30:51] Alex Wild: I keep it pretty simple. I use like the Gatorade powder, like they’re just big endurance mix and then Bob’s whey protein. That is the whey protein is not dairy free or vegan, but they do, I think a pea protein and a hemp protein. Um, I’m no expert on protein profile. So I don’t know if those are complete air quotes or if they serve the same purpose, but I do like their products.
I also like Bob’s in general just because they’re family owned and all that. And I like both of these options cause you can find them in a grocery store. So when traveling, you’re not looking for like some specialty brand, so easy to replace and easy to make.
[01:31:36] Jonathan Lee: Nice Amor. You can throw the horns. And Alex said that one, so you can do the same, same
[01:31:41] Amber Pierce: Gatorade powder and plain whey protein powder from Bob’s red mill.
Exactly. One another Tara’s way is another good one too, but again, not vegan or, um, that one is definitely dairy, so
[01:31:54] Jonathan Lee: yeah, I w way in ways it has to be dairy, right? It is. Yep. Yeah. Um, I, I struggle with, uh, dairy recovery mixes, big time. Like they do the opposite. They do not help me recover. They make my life measurably worse.
So instead I’ve, uh, tried a bunch of different vegan protein options. Um, uh, when it’s just pea protein, I don’t find that I get much real benefit from it, but it’s really hard to actually measure it for recovery drink mix actually makes a rim improvement other than if you feel good or not. Right. So boy, that’s really tricky and I have no clue if it’s actually the recovery mixed or not.
So big grain of salt, a whole giant salt lick, keep it handy. Um, for me, the one that I liked is momentous. Uh, they have an essential plant-based protein, it’s a mix of rice and pea proteins. Uh, they say that it’s more of like a complete profile. Uh, that one I’ve felt like what I, how good I feel or used to feel with just a normal recovery mix thereafter.
So that’s the worst part. That cliff chocolate is the greatest recovery mix. I think I’ve ever had, it’s basically like a thick, delicious chocolate milkshake. Um, and I can probably have it for one day and be okay, but then if I keep going with it, my stomach gets destroyed. So though that one day though is the worst part, because it makes me question, maybe it wasn’t the recovery mix.
Maybe I can do it and I have it and it’s so delicious. And I go the second day and then I’m just in a world of hurt. So, uh, you know, but Hey, but the moment is stuff is still good. Uh, the one that I usually get is just like a vanilla flavor and then I mix it in with like oat milk or something like that.
And then it’s getting close to a four to one who knows, uh, when I do that, um, it’s probably better is it may not be perfect, but it’s still good. So that’s what I would recommend
[01:33:47] Alex Wild: mentioning. I do the plain whey protein and then choose the Gatorade powder of flavor. I like if you do vanilla with that, I think it tastes weird, but you could probably get like an orange creamsicle style thing going if you got orange Gatorade and a vanilla whey protein.
[01:34:03] Jonathan Lee: Sounds good. Uh, Fiona says,
Fiona says, what about, what about podcasting makes the host most nervous? I can’t believe you do this live for two hours every week. There’s something. And when you make
[01:34:19] Alex Wild: eye contact with myself and I realized like my resting face is very unfriendly, I just looked like I’m super like annoyed at whatever someone’s talking about when I’m just listening.
[01:34:32] Jonathan Lee: How about you, Amber? What makes you the most nervous? This
[01:34:34] Amber Pierce: question? This question is
[01:34:38] Jonathan Lee: that’s a fair answer. Ivy save.
[01:34:43] Ivy Audrain: Um, I think the first podcast that I did and you asked me about my experience as a cyclist, I think I blacked out and I just said, it’s like, yeah, race bike go like last night. That was scary, but I’m less nervous about the live aspect of it now.
And more nervous about the aftermath of the episode or preparing for it, coping with my imposter syndrome. Uh, making myself believe that for every person that doesn’t like me and doesn’t want to hear what I have to say that I do help someone. That’s like
[01:35:30] Jonathan Lee: dumb ones.
[01:35:32] Alex Wild: It’s like a ratio of like infinity to the one person that comments below, just so we’re clear.
It’s not, one-to-one some one
[01:35:42] Jonathan Lee: doesn’t like, and I know
[01:35:43] Ivy Audrain: that and I’m making myself believe that is hard work and I get nervous then I’m all the time that I’m not actually doing anything worthwhile here. And even though I know it’s not true, it’s hard. It’s really hard. Like we put ourselves out here.
[01:36:03] Amber Pierce: Yeah, you could get, I mean, 10 really nice comments and then maybe one snarky or mean one.
And it’s the snarky mean one that is going to stick with you. So thanks to everybody who gives us the positive feedback, because it really does help a lot and it’s hard to always get the, the negatives. So we really do appreciate that.
[01:36:20] Jonathan Lee: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, whenever you leave a review on anything, not just this podcast, anything ask yourself, am I, do I have, uh, some sort of issue that I have right now that I’m mirroring onto another person and chances are, if you’re, if it’s being done in anger, it probably is.
Uh, there’s probably something else. Um, so yeah, instructive
[01:36:43] Amber Pierce: for sure. Constructive criticism is one thing, but sometimes it’s just totally mean-spirited and that’s a little bit tough and I will say one guideline is I’d never go back and listen to myself because there are two types of people in this world.
People who can’t stand the sound of their own voice and Morgan Freeman.
[01:37:01] Jonathan Lee: Yeah. I like
[01:37:01] Alex Wild: that. Yeah. I have never been to a podcast episode. I’ve been on I’m
[01:37:05] Jonathan Lee: with you, Amber Morgan Freeman probably can’t stand it to you. I listen to every week, uh, and I take notes and it’s, and yeah, it’s tough, but maybe I’ve become desensitized to it
[01:37:16] Alex Wild: where you would have listen to the podcast, John.
[01:37:24] Jonathan Lee: Yeah, I think that it’s a. Look like, uh, there are many things I’m concerned about Fiona, like tech issues, uh, um, uh, constantly thinking about the different perspectives that everybody has and how we can best serve them. And people know the live chat and their questions and my hosts and their perspectives, what they have to offer.
There’s lots of stuff. So I can’t answer that. Fiona, I’m a ball of nerves, but it’s somehow ends up working out every week.
[01:37:49] Alex Wild: That’s so true though. Like you’re in the middle of saying something and then in the back of your mind, you’re like the person who has this perspective is going to totally take it.
Like I’m just, and then you’re like, uh, maybe, maybe I shouldn’t finish this sentence. You’re just like, I’m just trying to help. But then I’m going to tell somebody that their way is wrong.
[01:38:07] Jonathan Lee: Yeah. Yeah. That’s how it goes. Well, Hey, uh, we, we keep doing it because, uh, you know, we want to help everybody get faster.
So, um, Jeff has,
[01:38:18] Ivy Audrain: there’s a reason I have to wear black shirts. Every time we do podcast is not cause I’m gone well a little, but I am absolutely hated out every time a new podcast is
[01:38:33] Jonathan Lee: yeah. 100% Del Ray camera’s right here.
All right. Jeff cucumber. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It depends on the day. If it’s real hot in here. Uh, yeah. Anyways, Jeff Shimano or Ceram saran from SRAM, mano Aero or climbing. Coming back.
[01:39:00] Amber Pierce: I go arrow.
[01:39:02] Jonathan Lee: Uh, I’ll go arrow, gravel bike, or hardtail, gravel bike,
and go hardtail hardtail for sure. Speed player SPD, SL best PTSO and speedy VDSL oh, Speedplay. Oh goodness. I’m alone. My principles. Saddle cutout. Yay. Or nay. Yay. All caps CA yes. Yeah. How do people arrive? Busy saddles. I don’t understand. Whenever I sit on them, I’m like, I feel like I’m sitting on a two by four.
I don’t get it. Um, but do you have some with channels now? So that’s true. They do have those. Yes. Forgive me. Forgive me, physique. I apologize. I’m not trying to, uh, yeah. Uh, bars rolled forward or parallel with stem. I assume he’s talking about like drop bars. Parallel, parallel drops. Yeah. Yeah. If a bike fitter was like, your bike fit is wrong and you’re going to get injured.
So we’re going to have to roll your bars forward. I’d be like, bring on the injury, man. It looks so bad when the bars are rolled forward. I do not like that. Look or rolled up. Just keep it must be in line with the Steadman. And that’s ridiculous. I’m sorry for everybody. That’s just my. Flawed personal belief.
[01:40:17] Alex Wild: Where these videos come from, but I’ve been seeing the ones where they like tilt their head. I feel like we need that on the life where it’s like the two options are here and here and you
[01:40:28] Jonathan Lee: tick tock, tick tock,
tick tock, tick more of like
[01:40:37] Ivy Audrain: a, a ceiling pat, when it comes to tick tock, I’m just like, I don’t actually make content.
[01:40:44] Jonathan Lee: I just wait for
[01:40:44] Alex Wild: the, like the good ones to trickle into Instagram. And then I watched
[01:40:47] Jonathan Lee: this, we talked about this before reels are just past due or expired tick docks. That’s all. Yeah.
[01:40:56] Ivy Audrain: Yeah.
I can’t wait. Uh, six months from now for being bombed, make it to
[01:41:02] Jonathan Lee: Sam’s
[01:41:03] Alex Wild: in, it is actually really good stuff like that. He was like his most recent one. He was getting like dropped on the team time trial training, and it was like star wars and it was overlaid up like, how are you doing
[01:41:15] Jonathan Lee: back there? Aren’t you
[01:41:16] Amber Pierce: detour?
[01:41:18] Jonathan Lee: it’s fantastic for those that don’t those that don’t know who he is. He’s uh, uh, works as specialized national crit champion. Multi-time really good athlete. Great guy. Okay. Mikayla, I broke my chain during last night’s workout and had to call my boyfriend to come pick me up. And she says in parentheses, oh, the shame of what should I carry with me to fix a broken.
Uh, one of Ivy’s quick packs, uh, is what I carry all my stuff in. Um, but sorry, Ivy. I know you don’t want orders.
I carry, uh, on a mountain bike. I specialize has a top cap tool that you can use as a chain breaker. It’s super easy and I love that it makes up a specialized, sorry. Yep. Um, but then there’s also, honestly, all of them are like any chain breaker that you can have on a multi-tool just don’t get a multi-tool without a chain breaker.
That’s kind of my rule. Unless you have one stashed in your top cap, always. I was guilty of this
[01:42:14] Alex Wild: for however, I carried a quick link and not a chain tool. And I thought about it. I can’t really use this.
[01:42:23] Jonathan Lee: Yeah. Yeah. I’m a
[01:42:25] Ivy Audrain: bad athlete. I don’t carry a chain chain. Now let me say that
[01:42:33] Jonathan Lee: I need a new bike
get out of here. I feel totally bad
[01:42:42] Ivy Audrain: that the, those more scarcely occurring mechanical issues I’m totally unprepared for.
[01:42:50] Amber Pierce: That’s what the phone is for.
[01:42:53] Ivy Audrain: There’s no shame in
[01:42:54] Jonathan Lee: calling your, there is no shame. Yeah, there is no shame. I will ask this. Okay. Um, I, I will say this for carrying a quick. I would recommend taping them together because they’re very easy to lose and just taping them around a cable really quickly.
Just a tiny little thing. You won’t even see them. So like blend in there are kind of the size of like a hydraulic brake line cable. That’s a really handy thing. You’ll make sure that you never forget it. And that’s great. That’s if you can get a quick link, I think those are more rare than like a King’s rings these days.
Um, but if you can find one go for that and then just tape it to like one of the cables and then make sure that your multi-tool has a chain breaker. Um, yeah, that’s a Jonathan and you
[01:43:34] Alex Wild: just call your Tesla and you have all your spares in the back. Just
[01:43:37] Jonathan Lee: having an auto pilot summon. Yeah, that would be pretty sweet.
Um, okay. Another one, if you could go back and ask a, pro-rider a question about a weird or interesting racing moment they had who and what would it be? I would go back and ask Nino. Schurter why he kept running those tubular tires. That flatted seriously. I think every single race for like four years and the bad problem was he was fast enough to get away with it.
So he as fast enough to get a flat and relax while his mechanic would change the wheel. And then he would be like a fun game. It seems like for him to just chase back and demolish the whole field coming back, which is just crazy. But he kept running those tires like four years and you just knew every race.
Well, he’s going to flat. So when he flats, this will happen. Why did you do that, man? Why don’t you change? That’s what I want to know.
[01:44:31] Amber Pierce: I heard a story about a pretty legendary cyclist who we didn’t quite overlap. Um, she was a little before my time, Petra Rozner, um, and I heard this kind of story slash legend about her. And I would love to hear her tell it in her own words, but essentially she was a sprinter and she was doing a stage race in France.
And the stage that she was completing was the day before a big sprint stage and being a sprinter. She was going for the win on the sprint stage. So the day before she wanted to use as little energy as possible. So she calculated the time cut, which is the minimum amount of time. You have to finish the race in order not to be cut from the race.
Um, she calculated with the time cut was decided that she had enough time. So she pulled into a cafe that was on the race course, sat in the chair in front, sipping an espresso, watching the race go by and then casually looked at her watch when she knew that she needed to get back on the bike in order to make time cut, roll across the line.
And then when the sprint stage, the following day,
[01:45:26] Jonathan Lee: that’s so bomb. I’d love to pick her brain. Yeah, that’s pretty impressive. Oh my God. Yeah. Amber or sorry, uh, Ivy or Alex, do you have any of these
[01:45:40] Alex Wild: time to think? I guess the most recent one is I’d. I’d be curious to sit down with Nino and, uh, Flueckiger about the last corner at worlds.
[01:45:51] Jonathan Lee: Yeah. I still don’t know why Mateus Flickinger was upset about that. I don’t get it.
[01:45:55] Alex Wild: I agree with that, but. Yeah, I couldn’t think of anything else. That’d be fun to just kind of be a fly on the wall in that conversation.
[01:46:03] Jonathan Lee: I’ve had my wheel chopped off almost literally in crits for a pre-me like that’s and it was like a chain loop, bream chips, man.
He didn’t even make contact with you. He just took your line. I don’t see how that, like maybe Mathias Flickinger, if he, I don’t know. Maybe he hasn’t raised many crits when you’re like racing with a dad and he wants a pizza kids or something. Yeah, that’s true. He wasn’t a good point. Yeah. We used to have water park ticket premium here at our local credit series and dads would get crazy on that lap.
I think it was like, I want to take my family to the water park and I will do 10,000 Watts to beat you. I will do whatever it takes. It was
[01:46:47] Alex Wild: not about the water park. It was about how to make cycling relevant enough that they can buy a new bike
[01:46:53] Jonathan Lee: maybe. Yeah. But yeah, it was pretty wild. If you heard water park prime, it was like single guys dropped back and dads just went to the front and they got wild,
[01:47:02] Alex Wild: like throwing the bouquet.
Aerobic training for anaerobic athletes
[01:47:06] Jonathan Lee: Yeah, it was pretty crazy. Okay. Uh, let’s deal. Let’s go through a handful of other questions that we have here from. He says I played American football growing up and through college, after graduating, I picked up cycling as a new way to compete. I have a pierced sprinter power profile, but I’ve been able to get my FTP to a smidge over four Watts per kilogram.
Well done, Jake. That’s awesome. Yeah, he says, however, a long weekend based rides and my power is in zone two. I’m averaging 80 to 85% of my heart rate. Max, you mentioned upper zone three lower zone four. I’m assuming this is because I have less, uh, less of the muscle capillarity and mitochondrial density than most others who have a three 30 FTP.
That assumption is likely partially true, if not very much true, right? In the sense that more training brings about more mitochondrial density, we’re able to process more sugar and turn it into energy quicker. We’re able to operate more efficiently as well. So that is probably something at hand here. It says I’m nervous to start a train, a road plan that focuses heavily on sweet spot or threshold intervals.
If I have such a lacking aerobic base, whereas my anaerobic background would do the majority of the work at these intensities is this a worthwhile worry is what he asks. And he says, I’m more interested in long-term development than short-term FTP booths. So thanks. You guys love the podcast. Love train road five stars.
Uh, this is perfect for you Ivy. Um, cause you were a collegiate volleyball player, which is absolutely fast. Twitch is basically like American football where it’s like go sprint crazy lunging moves. Um, so what would you have to say in this case to Jake.
[01:48:41] Ivy Audrain: That they’re probably wrong about their power profile being pure sprinter power profile.
I think that they’re just a beginner it’s totally normal in early stages in your cycling career for even a couple of years to feel like you’re still building up that base and endurance zone to where it feels like a true endurance zone and doesn’t feel uncomfortable. Um, and that’s something that, uh, I think people from traditional sport backgrounds have a hard time with, uh, you know, we’re used to immediate feedback with like gym strength or like a new drill or learning a new set or working with a new setter or a new teammate or something we’re used to that immediate feedback of it takes a few weeks or half a season or something to, or shorter sometimes to master or see immediate improvement in a skill and cycling is so much not like that.
So, um, it’s easy for someone who’s really strong to think that they’re pure sprinter and, you know, even. A lot of people can produce an insane amount of Watts or power for a sprint in one isolated instance, uh, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should, well, we have the same thing goes for like a climber when you’re first starting riding thinking you’re a climber and kind of putting yourself in that box.
Jake might not be a pure sprinter. They might end up being a really good all around or stage racer and it just is gonna take time. Um, and those are systems that you can absolutely improve upon. Expand upon, um, like Leah Kirkman as a Canadian road cyclist, who has won many sprinting national championships and really focused on it and won a TT national championship as well in really competitive field.
So just because you’re a sprinter have sprinting power, especially earlier in your career, doesn’t mean that you can’t develop those other systems or that you are going to end up to be just a pure
[01:50:55] Jonathan Lee: sprinter. Two common assumptions that I see with new cyclists, small, new cyclists assume they are climbers people that are not small new cyclists assume they are or assume they are sprinters.
And it’s totally unnecessary to put yourself in a box. Uh, aerobic training takes a long time, just like anaerobic training too. But aerobics training is difficult because it’s hard to see the benefits just like Ivy said is really well put Ivy. Um, so yeah, just keep at it. I want to dispel one myth with, um, saying that the plans, you know, being very sweet spot or threshold heavy.
Um, first of all, in this case, Jake, if it’s, if you’re doing sweet-spot work, you’re working, that’s one of the most optimal spots to be working on a robot conditioning, uh, which is what you’re you really need, right? So it’s actually fantastic that you would have that, but also the plans are not sweet spot and threshold heavy necessarily.
We have polarized plans. The bill plans are not sweet spot or threshold heavy, depending if you’re doing the 40 KTT planet will be right. But if you’re doing the short power build that won’t, uh, so all the plans are different and built for different reasons. So don’t have any hesitations in that regard, the plan will be appropriate for whatever your goals are.
And also don’t fear anaerobic training in that. Like you think that it will come at the cost of your aerobic conditioning, that you’ve been working on it. Won’t, it’s just going to make you a better endurance athlete. And even if you do have a facility for anaerobic work and you’ve built up a lot of whether it’s lean mass than fat Linz, fast Twitch fibers, like all this stuff that you’re assuming, even if that’s the case, it still doesn’t mean that doing anaerobic work is bad.
So it just makes you a more complete athlete across the board. Also want to
[01:52:35] Alex Wild: dispel the myth. Your anaerobic is going to take over first sweet spot and threshold. It is pretty much impossible for you to do that analytically. So you may have an anaerobic contribution and we talked to about it in testing protocols.
Sometimes they’d have you do a five minute effort first to remove that piece, but it’s still going to be primarily aerobic.
[01:52:57] Jonathan Lee: Yep. And that will get removed throughout your intervals anyway, right? The reason that if you’re doing the
[01:53:03] Alex Wild: sweet spot effort, it’s impossible at the end to be doing it.
Anaerobically unless you are definitely a monster. And then maybe you are a sprinter forty-five minutes, sprinter.
[01:53:13] Jonathan Lee: It’s one of the biggest, like head, head explode moments for people as even when you talk about repeated anaerobic efforts. And when you tell them that when you look at that, they become increasingly aerobic as the repeats continue because anaerobic stores are, they’re just there for a short time and for a good time, and then they’re gone.
And that’s it. After that. Exactly. After that aerobic, aerobic stores are like, oh gosh, okay. I guess I’ll do my best to help you through this. And that’s why it starts to feel really difficult. So, uh, like Alex said, it’s never like it’s so, uh, and we’ve said this so many times, there’s not a system of switches it’s faders.
Right. And your body’s going to work. But just consistency. We talk about this, uh, if it’s three workouts a week that you have scheduled, make your goal to hit those, obviously not at the expense of your wellbeing or health or anything else, but make it your goal to be able to hit those three workouts and do that for nine months.
And what you’ll see after that nine months, or, you know, do it for a year. Something like that. What you’ll see after that is a huge improvement. Even with something where it’s just like three workouts and I just don’t miss with that. Um, that’s, uh, that’s the sort of consistency that really makes you faster.
Saddle selection and why it matters
So, uh, Julia’s question. She says, uh, sort of quick question, she says sort of quick question for IB and Amber’s favorite saddle for females and things to look for. This is my first time training year round in training indoors in the saddle, on my gravel bike. Wasn’t very forgiving to be on three, four days a week.
So I got the same saddle that I love on my mountain bike thinking it would be the same and it’s not all that being said. I know body position and being rooted on the saddle in the right way is crucial. And I do feel as if I’m in the right position, sit bones are rooted in the saddle, not resting at all my weight and on the arms, basically all the stuff Chad says in the workout text, she says I’m essentially shaped like a tall, muscular 14 year old boy with the exception of the obvious anatomical differences down there.
So I almost never use women’s specific equipment, but now I’m thinking it’s time to make an exception. And I’m looking for any advice on where to start as most of the good local shops here at least, or at least an hour drive. I don’t even know if that’s something you can test. So any, and all advice will be welcome.
Thank you for having such a binge-worthy podcast all the best from Julia. Thanks for reaching out Julia. And you can also submit your questions, please do that. Go to train road.com/podcast. And this is where Alex and I stepped back. Um, I mean, Amber, what would you say, uh, to, in this case to Julia and where you go first?
[01:55:45] Amber Pierce: I was going to tell you to go.
[01:55:48] Ivy Audrain: I, cause I, I missed in the, um, initial part that, uh, they said they have a mountain bike saddle that they like. And that actually makes sense to me when thinking about women’s specific saddles, because I feel as though a lot of women’s specific settles are wrongly made with more support on the sit bones, um, kind of supporting recreational riders that are in a very upright position and, you know, just kind of like, oh, women, big sit bones, more big back better, and
[01:56:23] Jonathan Lee: man makes sense, man.
[01:56:28] Ivy Audrain: uh, so it makes sense why a satellite that would be okay in a mountain bike position when you’re more upright and it totally makes sense that that wouldn’t work for you on your gravel bike when you’re in a more aggressive position. And, um, so that is why my advice before. Trying saddles and yeah, trying settles is hard.
There aren’t a lot of places that do like rental saddles or test settles. And so the number of saddles that I have bought and sold, I feel like there should be a special network for just easy buying and trading Esther rotating of saddles, because I know so many people that do this, but you really just have to try a lot of saddles, um, try things that, uh, you’re right.
That there should be special saddle combinations for women in that. Um, we need more support in the pubic bone area. So not necessarily the seat bone. Um, so what I look for is saddled that is a little bit wider and has a cutout in the center of the saddle. Um, not on like the tip or anything, um, or in the back in the center.
Um, kind of like near the center of the rails and, uh, a lot of saddles like that, or TT saddles that are made for people to be kind of like in a rotated forward position that I feel like supports our pubic bones better. Um, and you know, you just got to try it out and my advice would be to try it out for.
An extended period of time, like more than just a couple of rides and experiment with the angles specifically and position back and forth. But you need to give yourself like a solid number of rides to see if it really works before you decide the bit isn’t working, especially if you’re going into it kind of uncomfortable.
Like every time it will feel as uncomfortable when you’re already in pain. So it’s going to take time, try stuff out.
[01:58:19] Amber Pierce: Yeah. I agree with you Ivy. And that was one of my biggest pet peeves was hearing bike fitters talk all the time about like, oh, it’s all about the sitz bones. I’m like, that is never where it hurts.
[01:58:31] Ivy Audrain: they can make shammies without pads that like as far back as you need
[01:58:37] Amber Pierce: it. Exactly. So I’m totally with you there. And I think one way of thinking about it as if your, if your sits bones and your pubic bone form a triangle, um, usually on a road bike in a more aggressive position, you’re sitting on the sides of that triangle or your pubic bone, that’s where you’re going to be experiencing the most pressure.
Um, and when you’re talking about being on a road bike or gravel bike in that aggressive position, the thing that you need to be worried about with not worried, but the thing to consider about sitz bones is that they’re not rocking. So. Saddles and cross section have a very sloped, uh, kind of cross sections so that your sits bones could actually slide down either side.
And then that can create if you’re not already really stable in your hips, that can allow you to rock your hips a little bit too much, but all you need is a platform that’s stable enough to hold your hips still. And to keep them from rocking, it doesn’t have to be a ton of padding or, you know, the comfort, isn’t all about the sits bones.
Um, and I think that that can get conflated, especially like Ivy said, when it’s being applied in different, different scenarios where it doesn’t necessarily apply. Um, so I am a big fan of the cutout myself, not everybody is though. And so just because a saddle says it’s, women’s specific, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to work for all women.
And we’ve talked about this before. A lot of men love women’s specific saddles, because it’s really less about, um, it’s it’s about your individual anatomy. It’s really less about men’s or women’s, it’s just a lot of saddles and I have channels too. Um, so I would, I would look for, I would start looking for channels or cutouts, like Ivy said and call around because you might find, um, the demo, the saddle demo programs are becoming more and more common.
I know fabric has a demo program. So if you have a bike shop, curious fabric, they usually have a demo set and you can maybe take home a couple of different saddles. If the bike shop is far away from you. Try each of them out for a week and see how it feels. Um, if it’s a good bike shop, know that most cyclists deal with this.
And so it’s not uncommon to have these problems and it’s not something that you have to feel self-conscious about. So one thing that can help is if you’re comfortable talking with the folks at your bike shop, take notes on exactly what is causing problems for you. Is it chafing? Is it pressure? Um, those types of descriptors can help them guide you to a potentially better saddle so that when you are testing settles, at least you’re kind of starting two steps ahead instead of just completely starting from scratch.
But other than that, I second, everything that Ivy
[02:01:14] Jonathan Lee: just said, only thing I’d have to add to this is when you test to settle, um, make sure that you’re giving yourself like, like test it with higher intensity work, lower intensity work. If you’re able to, if you have that luxury, you know, test it on a longer ride or a short ride, because that’s also something like if somebody is a crit racer, for example, and they get a saddle and they just tried it out by easily peddling along on a trainer, it’s probably going to be a really different experience once you get into a crate on that saddle.
So that’s one thing is context is really important. Um, Cool. Okay. I’m going to stop them there. There’s only one live question that I want to cover. Cause we’re, we’re already over our two hour time, but, um, I want to, uh, just cover this one because we got to actually from two people, even had people asking this last week.
So, uh, Rudo from the live chat, he said I’m a 50 year old, 54 year old rider. I always trained on heart rate, but recently bought a power meter. I noticed that training on power goals leads to a very high beat per minute, is my FTP sending too high. So I mean, very possibly your FTP could be too high, but here’s the tricky thing.
I don’t know what zone you’re talking about. So I’m going to make some assumptions here, Rudo, um, as you become more aerobically fit, you’re likely to see a lower heart rate within reason. Not, you know, and, and maybe it’s just a more consistent heart rate rather than a lower heart rate for a given power.
Um, that’s likely what you’re supposed to see now, if it’s hotter than it was, then it’s going to be higher. If you’re more dehydrated than it was, it’s probably going to be higher. If you’re more stressed than you were, it’s probably going to be higher. If you’re focusing on power data and it’s freaking you out, that the numbers going all over the place on like heart rate that feels more static.
That’s also probably going to raise your heart rate. So there’s so many different things that can affect. So while heart rate can be a bit of a validation, you really got to like take grains of salt, handy and key and smooth out that data quite a lot. That’s my first bit of advice is don’t necessarily look to validate training with power BI training with heart rate because they operate very differently.
Um, so that’s the number one thing that said, and if you’re new to the sport, you’ll definitely see this that said if you’re, if you are feeling like, and probably an easier way to put this into check is use RPE or even use like the basic ventilatory thresholds. Like basically you can carry on the conversation.
Normally you have to carry, you have to like speak between breaths. That’s when you hit your first ventilatory threshold. And that likely is going to coincide with somewhere around your upper zone two or somewhere around there. Um, and then once you get to the point where you are having to, like, it’s talking is very hard, you’re likely close to your threshold a second event, second ventilatory threshold.
So you can use those to validate it. But the one thing that I would say is Rudo, if you use train road in particular and you’re going to have calibrated training and you don’t have to worry about it, um, your, if your ramp test or your 20 minute test or your hour long test, or however else, you’ve decided to test and figure out your FTP, uh, if that is too high or too low, it will get adjusted with adaptive training and then you’ll be in the right spot and you don’t have to worry.
So this very concern is why we built that. But caution, if you’re using heart rate to validate power, it’s always tricky. So, okay. That’s it. Thanks everybody for joining this week, please review and share this podcast with your friends. That would be fantastic. It’s a great way to help this podcast grow. We appreciate you all so much listening.
Um, it’s such an honor and remember, submit those firstname.lastname@example.org slash podcast, and go sign up for trainer road. Have your best season yet adaptive training, new exciting features that Amber team David’s team Dom’s team, all of our wonderful product team and all of our engineers, our team and designers, all haunts team, everybody.
So, uh, go sign up. Uh, we’ve got a lot of exciting things coming down the pipe and we can’t wait to give them to you. Oh, and feedback. Right?
[02:05:14] Ivy Audrain: How do you want your podcast listeners to submit feedback?
[02:05:17] Jonathan Lee: Yes. Go to trainer road.com/podcast. And there is a survey where you can do that. Thanks Ivy for doing my job very well.
Pairing the gym, doing your
[02:05:26] Ivy Audrain: job, sending Nate to Ivy jail. I just
[02:05:30] Jonathan Lee: that’s it. Train road.com/podcast and fill out that survey. Give us feedback. Let us know what you like about the podcast, what you want to see more of from the podcast.
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