Rest Week Nutrition, Air Density, Smelling Salts and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 307

The OG crew is (almost) back together! This week we will have Amber, Nate and Pete joining me for a fun episode that covers a broad range of topics, including why you are always hungry during rest weeks and what can you do about it, how air density affects physiological performance, and if smelling salts can make you faster.

Tune in live on YouTube tomorrow, Thursday, May 5 at 8:00am Pacific!

Youtube Live Video:

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • Welcome back to Amber and Nate!
  • Takeaways from Jonathan’s first MTB race in over a year
  • Polarized Training Plans update
  • Does air density affect performance?
  • How to maintain a healthy relationship with training
  • Rapid fire questions
  • Training for weight loss
  • What is W’?
  • Why you are hungry during rest weeks and what to do about it
  • Can smelling salts make you faster?

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I have a rapid fire question.
I’m training for an event 1 year from now. Right now, I’m just trying to get as strong as possible for that event. Should I use Plan builder and how?
Should I just cycle base-build-base-build?
Thanks for the tips!

Hi Jonathan, where is Chad? Everything ok with him? Long time no see in the Podcast.

1 Like

Coach Chad moved to Washington (not Oregon per my first post). My guess is that he’s handling all the fun of a major relocation before having time to rejoin the cast remotely in the future.


Here’s my rapid fire question. Job change has totally derailed what was a successful start to season of following 70.3 MV plan and preparing for other Tri and Olympics. Right now I’m mostly exercising when I can and just to energize myself with fresh air, but feeling guilty that I can’t get on a plan. I’m torn between trying to reset for LV in plan builder now or just using TrainNow when I can which just an overall goal of getting some hours of exercise in for a mental refresh. Any thoughts on whether forcing a plan is really worth it when life is getting in the way. I’m hoping that by mid-June work settles.

LOL, not trying to be overly critical, but I think “rapid fire question” is being misused above.

This seems to be pointed to the silly or serious stuff in life like:

  • Mayo vs Miracle Whip
  • Beatles vs Elvis

IMO, RFQ for TR is more like:

  • What bike is faster: Red or Black?
  • What do you wear: Bibs or Shorts (no straps)?
  • What’s your favorite protein: Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Beans, other?
  • What tire is the best feel: Tubular, Open Clincher, Tubeless?
  • Where do you put your spares & tools: saddle bag, jersey pocket, internal frame storage?
  • Post ride indulgence: Burrito or Burger?
  • On bike nutrition: Bar, Gel, or Drink?
  • Breakfast preference: Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast, Omelet

Hopefully rapid fire: Can I get another Pete recipe? I made his chickpeas and greens and it was great. Would love to have something else to try!


Chad you’re right - my bad. I just want someone to tell me it is ok to just ride for riding sake :slight_smile:

Rapid fire: Sitcom, action movie, or race replays while on trainer


LOL, not trying to be overly critical, but I think the role of a forum moderator is to inform people and help them, not ridicule them.
As far as I know, Plan builder is one of TrainerRoad’s features and one of the features they seem to be most proud of, since they tell a lot of people to “just use the plan builder”.
Also, if I’m not mistaken, the world seems to be in a pandemic, events are getting cancelled (at least here in Europe, if the glorious land of the free and home of the brave is different, then pardon my ignorance). Therefore a lot of people’s events got cancelled and they’re already looking forward to next year and challenges they’ll be taking on then.
So if 1+1=2, then I think a question of whether or not one should use a Plan builder in current situation or not and how should they do it seems to be pretty relevant. A bit more relevant than the question if one should eat a burrito or a burger or use a bar, gel or a drink. Then again, people do seem to have different priorities.
And if my question isn’t a “rapid fire question”, but just “a question”, then forgive me for being so ignorant and just consider it a “question”, for future podcasts maybe?

Truly sorry if you took that negatively. Not my intent in any way. I just didn’t know how to open the conversation. My bad if it was taken that way.

Hence the reason I gave broad (non TR) and specific (TR) examples of what I thought is more like what they are looking for in RFQ’s.

All that said, that is MY interpretation from the types of questions they have addressed (like the infamous bananas = green or spotted choice). Stuff that can be more of a black and white answer, without diving into the deeper stuff that lies within. As ever, I could be totally wrong and off base.

In any event, that is my take. It might be best for @Jonathan to clearly state the goal of the RFQ segment to better outline any particular expectations.


With respect to your main question, this older podcast from when 2020 took a nose dive and events were canceling across the board, might be helpful in light of your question (if you haven’t checked it already).

Outside of that, I’d suggest trying Plan Builder with your event added to the calendar, and see what it gives you. The essence of prior TR suggestions (Base, Build, Repeat vs Specialty) are largely captured in there, and might give you what makes sense. If you don’t like it, you can do a manual plan of your own choosing.

Those are just a couple of options that are accessible now. Hopefully TR can address the question if those don’t meet your needs.


Definitely a valid question! Especially with TrainNow getting a little “smarter” with recent/upcoming updates, we do have some blog content planned to address this, and it’s a worthy one for the podcast to discuss in the future, too.




Chad, you’re killing the meme game today.


HA, thanks :smiley:

For light weight water bottles, Elite at least offers one with that in mind:

I gotta say, the intro portion of the show was something special today. Some very touching things shared on happy and difficult levels. Massive changes in life that people experience at different stages of their path. It touched on some things I’ve handled in the last year and further in the past to a very personal way. :heart:

It was a good and partly difficult reminder, but lead to the reality that I am in a better place today despite the bumps in the road. We’ve all had a range of experiences over the last year+. Those comments about the various situations show just a few of them that could have little to massive impact on us as people, as well as our training lives.

I want to send my best wishes to the cast, their families, forum members, and everyone else in the TR universe. Hoping the tough times behind and ahead of us lead to greater moments that give great memories for years to come. :+1:


+1 to all of this


Washington (in the inland NW) actually. I was excited when I saw on Strava he posted some rides just down the road (well 20 miles) from me. He’ll have lots of good road, gravel, and mountain biking options for when he’s off the trainer