Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cross training

Way back in the day, I was quite the swimmer.  I was mostly a sprinter, competing in the 50 and 100 yard/meter freestyle events.  I would compete in other strokes and distances, but the short races were my focus.  It was those early swimming days that really set my athletic foundation for the rest of my life.  I learned so much from my coaches as a youth.  I still find myself drawing on the things I learned back then, showing just how important starting early in any endeavor really pays off.

One of the basics I learned early on was cross training.  Especially as a kid, it was important to play soccer, basketball, learn to sail and keep up with the swimming.  Those other activities created a broad physical base, exposed me to team sports and the lessons learned there, kept me from getting board and really cemented my love and talent for swimming in the process.

Fast forward 20 years to today and the basic principles of cross training still apply.  2012 was a pretty terrible season for me racing wise.  I burned my candle at both ends and overtrained to the point that my season was pretty much over by June.  I had some good crits at the beginning of July, but I had to rest quite a bit to eek out a 2nd and 3rd place at the Utah City Crits and managed a 9th place at the State Crit Champs.  Tour de Park City really took it out of me as well and I ended up not finishing LOTOJA, dropping out in Afton, and didn't finish the Harvest Moon Crit either.  Needless to say, I needed a break come September.  Starting in October, I took a 2 month break from the bike.  I rode off and on but nothing major.  I put on 10 lbs in the process but I took the opportunity to get some sleep, take care of some business and really push the reset button.

Now that I'm back in training mode, I'm taking a look back on 2010 and 2011, which really were my best years on the bike, especially 2011.  What was different about those years?  Well, my winters looked much different than 2012.  You guessed it, I went swimming!  It was the break from the bike and some enjoyable laps in the pool that I think really made for a great year.  I also ran some and did quite a bit of core work on my non-cycling days.  Just as when I was a youth, the cross training broke up the monotany of riding, switched up my muscles a bit, all the while giving me a great aarobic workout.  I put in 2 days a week at a spin class and spent Saturdays at a long spin class or riding outside.

I've decided this is the path I'm going to take again this season.  I'll be self coached but have a good knowledge of base building and periodization.  I may not be all that fast for the Feb and March races, but I would like to peak mid summer and towards the fall.  I'm not going to do LOTOJA and just focus on crits and being a good teammate at other races.

Here's what December has looked like:

M, W, Fr - 1 to 1.5 hrs on the bike, Zone 2 HR and power
T, TH - 30 min running with 30 min of core work
Sat - 2-3 bike ride.

I also spent one Saturday doing a mini indoor triathlon followed by a 1.5 hr ride.

January will see some changes but basically look the same:

M, W, Fri - Spin class
T, TH - swimming + core work
Sat - 2-3 ride.

This schedule will help my body and mind prepare for the new season and hopefully I'll be able to last beyond June.  We have an awesome team this year and I don't want to disappoint them.  So, here's to a great 2013!

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