Monday, January 15, 2007

On the Use of Training Video

Dear Panthers:

For those who ventured out riding during last weekend, I salute you! But for me, if I look out the window and see more than 10 ripples in a rain puddle, I’d ride indoors instead. Because I know if I go out and ride in that weather, I’d get soaked before I warm up, and hinder the quality of training.

As my lab has a fix office hour of 8 am to 5 pm, I can never train in the day time, except if you count bike commuting as training. So I am always training on trainers. In fact, I feel this helps improve the quality of training in that there isn’t any interruption during intervals. For example, the M2 workout described by Cyclist’s Training Bible requires a course where you can ride continuously for 6-12 minutes. I think it is possible to do that around Schenley Park, but for those who live farther it’d be problematic. Also, even on a course like that, you still have to spare some energy to look out for traffic, which prevents you from going all-out (unless you’re a never-check-the-traffic daredevil).

So how’s this related to training video? Well, doing intervals is never fun – it takes a lot of motivation to do it. I used to watch Tour de France when doing intervals, and it’s not just for watching the action, the audio – especially the cheers from the spectators – really boosted my stamina. Recently, I bought a combo of CTS training video, thinking they may work better because they are – training videos! However, after looking at the details of the training sessions, I feel they are only suitable for the training phase around Base 3 and Build 1. Because the interval time is too long for Base 1-2 and too short for Build 2. For example, the Steady State Intervals (equivalent of M2) prescribed in Climbing DVD is 10 minute effort with 5 minute recovery, but when I started doing intervals at Base 2, I was having problem with even 6 minutes! And for Build 2, I’d like to do 20-40 minute effort instead of just 10 minutes. Because of this, instead of following the sessions in the video, I just trained with my own programs and used the video as motivation. Interestingly, I found the instruction of Chris Carmichael quite encouraging, especially when he asked people to envision coming near the summit at the last few minutes of intervals.

Therefore, my suggestion about using training videos is that, depending on the training programs in the videos and the fitness of the users, it may not be suitable for everyone. I think it is critical that you know what and when you are during the seasons, and adjust your training programs accordingly. I once skipped the Base periods and worked directly from Build periods because of a race coming in less than 1 month, and found myself having hard time adapting to the training. Don’t make the same mistake as I did.

P.S. For those who don’t know about the training periods, please see below:


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