Quality Over Quantity

By USAC Level 2 and TrainingPeaks Level 1 certified ALP Cycles Coach and Owner Alison Powers

For most of us, we don’t have 15-25hrs each week to train and ride our bike. We have to make the most of what time to train we have. For this reason each training ride or workout session must be quality. The secret, then, is knowing if your ride or workout really was good quality, or if you were just going through the motions.
Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 7.33.11 AMWhen I look at an athletes ride file, one of the first things I do is look at time spent in various training zones. If the goal of the workout was a steady 2.5hr Zones 2-3 endurance ride and she spent 65min in Zone 1 and 10 min coasting, I know that was not a quality ride. Zone 1 (>55% of Threshold) is good for the start of a warm up, cooling down, doing a recovery ride, and recovering between hard efforts. Zone 1 is not good for building endurance, as it doesn’t tax any energy system hard enough to create a training response. This means, an hour of this athlete’s ride was wasted and she only got a good 90min of training time. Ok, minus 15 min easy warm-up and 15min mellow cool down and she still has 35 min of wasted training time—plus 10 min of coasting, which does absolutely nothing for fitness (unless resting from going very, very hard).

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Interested in a training plan, but not full on coaching? That’s ok! We have you covered. ALP Coach Alison Powers created a 12-week off season training plan complete with strength training exercises, videos, and on bike cadence and leg speed drills. You will not find a more detailed and in depth 3 month training plan. The goal of this off season strength and training plan is to make you are more complete athlete with challenging full body strength and coordination exercises and workouts, and on the bike workouts to increase your leg speed, leg strength, and endurance. Check out the TrainingPeaks training plan here.

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With 9-14hrs of training time a week that most of us have, we have to make every single workout count. Everything has to be quality, or else you are wasting your time. The question then becomes, how do I know if it’s quality? The answer is through goal setting and focus. Every single workout and training ride must have a goal. The goal of the workout might be specific time in Tempo, or speed limit sign sprints, or a steady endurance ride at a specific cadence, etc. Even recovery rides must a have goal and focus. When you ride, make sure you are accomplishing that goal.

You must also stay focused on the little things like staying relaxed and keeping your shoulders down, working on a specific cadence, spending some time in your drops, keeping your head down when riding your TT bike, etc. Every little thing matters and you must stay focused on the goal of that specific workout.

My most favorite training tip for getting a super quality ride is- no coasting and no soft pedaling. You’d be amazed by how taxing and tiring it is to go ride for 2 hour at zone 2 without coasting or soft pedaling. Want to make it even harder? Aim for a 95+ cadence- the entire time. That is a quality 2 hour ride that will beat out any 3 hour ride with time spent coasting, surging, and soft pedaling.
Sandy Track ChampYour weekly training hours are precious. Make the most of them and make every bike ride and every workout count.

Happy (quality) Training!

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ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that it has 3 female coaches, Alison Powers, Jennifer Sharp, and Patricia Schwager. Each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person.

As an athlete of ALP Cycles Coaching, you will receive monthly training plans, phone calls, e-mail updates, and “hands on coaching” with athlete training rides and/or workout sessions. You also receive discounts toward ALP Cycles training camps, skills clinics, clothing, and race/team tactics lessons.

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