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Coaches Panel: How to train for a bike race just a few weeks away

A reader asks how to best peak for a race just two weeks away.

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Have a training, fitness, nutrition or health question for the VeloNews Coaches Panel? Send it to

Preparing for an imminent race

Dear Frank,
I am five weeks into my racing season and have a big race coming up in two weeks. So far the racing and training has been good but I want to do everything I can to make my “A” race as good as possible. Any ideas?

— Steve

Yes, what I suggest is trying to apply an overload of training and racing that ends the weekend before the big race weekend. In other words, if your race is June 19th, and you’ve been riding about eight hours per week, try to squeeze in 10 or 12 hours for the week ending June 12th. Ride more, do more intervals, race both days on the weekend or all of the above. Really flog yourself. Then once you are good and tired (the overload) take a rest week going into your “A” race. Yes, rest — multiple, back to back days off. For example (following a hard training week):

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: race-specific intervals
Thursday: OFF or easy & short endurance ride
Friday: “Openers” 4 x 30 sec ON Full Gas, 1 minute OFF; 1 hr total
Weekend: RACE

After the weekend judge your performance and infer how much the rest week influenced your results and power output. Did you feel good in your races? Did you perform better with fresh legs? Ultimately did taking a rest week improve your performance? I think it will, but it’s important to ask yourself the same question. Good luck!

— Frank

Frank Overton is a USA Cycling Level 1 Coach, a former U.S. National Team Coach, a member of USA Cycling’s Power Based Education Committee and regularly writes training tips for VeloNews. Overton works with professional and amateur athletes of all abilities and ages across the United States. To learn more about Frank and his Boulder, Colorado-based coaching company, please visit FasCat Coaching or email Frank.

Any information or advice offered by the members of the Coaches’ Panel should not in any way be viewed as personal medical advice. The recommendations made in this column are offered as general information for healthy, physically fit amateur and professional athletes. None of the information provided by members of the Coaches’ Panel should be viewed as a replacement for personalized, professional medical treatment or to replace the advice or services of your physician. While some members of the Coaches’ Panel are Licensed Medical Doctors, Licensed healthcare professionals, and certified coaches, their advice in no way establishes a doctor-patient relationship between the writer and readers of this column. If you are beginning or resuming a vigorous exercise program, it is important to visit your health care provider for a complete physical examination in order to identify and treat any potential risks you might face.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.