Training Week Four

This week has been week four following the British Cycling 8 week pre-season training plan.

In a Nutshell

I was relieved to find that week four in the training plan was a rest week. I was feeling pretty tired and had picked up a bit of a cold, so a rest was definitely in order. It can be safely said that I threw myself with gusto, if not accuracy, into the rest week. I turned up the power on the cargo bike, I just couldn’t be bothered to do one of the mid week turbo sessions and I ate an awful lot of junk food, breaking my no sugar vow yet again. But then Sunday came around, and with it came an unexpected opportunity to get out on the road on the road bike. This was just what I needed to get my head back into training mode.

Spin Those Legs

Tuesday’s turbo session was leg speed. A fairly short session and no great power required. Just reasonably low resistance and high leg speed. Easy peasy. Or so I thought.

This was not the first session which has been much harder in reality than it seems on paper. It takes real concentration to keep cadence that high without bouncing about all over the bike seat. The session was easier than many of those I have been doing, but it wasn’t all that easy. The toughest part was going from maximal leg speed to 120 rpm and gradually down to recovery speed. I desperately wanted to go from maximal to recovery but the plan begged to differ!

Too Lazy to Turbo

In my defence, Thursday was a very busy day for me. I have been working with my childrens’ school to promote active travel and on Thursday and Friday this week we held bike and scooter celebration days. This involved my getting my children out half an hour earlier than normal, with their scooters in the cargo bike (I know, slightly cheating!) so we could hand out juice and brioche rolls to the first children to arrive by bike or scooter. As any mum of school aged children will know, getting children out on time is a major feat. Attempting to get them out early borders on insanity.

The youngest and I then hung around to count scooters and bikes and to help with the bling your bike or scooter competition. I helped out as much as I could while the youngest mostly complained and made a series of unreasonable demands regarding snacks. In the afternoon, I led a Breeze ride for mums as another part of the celebration.

The day was a great success and a lot of fun, but by the end of the day I was more in the mood for a glass of wine than an hour on the turbo!

Making Up For It

After my failure on Thursday I made up for it by doing the turbo session I had missed on the Saturday. As this was a rest week there was no bonus session to be done so this worked out fine.

The session was another leg speed type one, spin out. This reassured me that I could actually hit 130 rpm if I needed to, however 130 rpm + was not going to happen. Again, this was tougher than it sounded. When I read the plan, 4 minutes recovery for a 1 minute interval seemed excessive, especially when it was a low resistance interval. However, it turns out that 130 rpm takes me over 400w (by my somewhat inaccurate power meter) so actually, 4 minutes recovery were well needed!

Bonus

On Sunday, a number of circumstances meant that I had the opportunity to head out on the road for a cycle with no great pressure to be back. It also turned out to be a beautiful day – mild, almost no wind and no rain or ice. I jumped at the chance and managed a 50 mile ride.

The plan had suggested a 2 hour ride with no goals for zones or intervals, just a ride for enjoyment. Ok, so I was a good bit over the 2 hours, but I nailed the enjoyment bit.

It was fantastic to be out and moving on a real bike instead of in the garage on a turbo. The ride reminded me of how much I love cycling just for the sake of it. It was also the first time I had made it out to some of my favourite roads since last summer.

It did also remind me just how much technique I lose over the winter. I kept having to check which gear I was in rather than just knowing by the feel of it. My cornering was somewhat lacking in finesse, and I even had to check to remind me which lever operated which brake. With a race on 1st April, I really need to get on top of this and remember that there is more to training than powerful legs.

Atmospheric views on a bonus long cycle.

So, back to the tough sessions for week 5 next week and I am definitely going to try and get out on the road bike too. Roll on light nights and temperatures above freezing!

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