By Joe Friel
Joe Friel is author of the successful “Training Bible” series ofbooks, a regular columnist for VeloNews and Inside Triathlonand the founder of www.ultrafit.com.Friel also offers answers to a selection of questions in this weekly columnhere on VeloNews.com. Readers can send questions to Friel in care of VeloNews.comat WebLetters@7Dogs.com. (Besure to include “Friel” in the subject line.)Question: I’m a 41 year old former Cat II rider. I’vetaken most of the last 3 seasons off to concentrate on life, work, andother things. I realize that I miss racing and training and wantto know the best way to get back into shape and back into the peloton. I’m not totally out of shape because I ran, swam, as well as rode overthe last 3 summers. However, I have put on 15-20 lbs from my racedays. I’d love to get back into the bunch before the end of the summerand then do some cross races in the fall. Any advice you could givewould be helpful. Thanks.
JerryAnswer: I’d suggest spending a few months just rebuilding yourbase while avoiding training groups–unless you have a disciplined groupto ride with that merely rides steadily and aerobically. “Rebuilding yourbase” means focusing on endurance, force for climbing (weights and moderateeffort rides in the hills while seated), and speed skills (handling andpedaling skills). This is also the prime time to become more consciousof what you are eating. Within 3 months you should see noticeable improvement.That puts you at the end of the summer. At that point you can decide ifyou are ready for some faster-paced group rides and perhaps some racing.To get back to where you were previously will take more time and lots ofdedication. Good luck with getting back into it.
Question: Last November after a transition phase ofrunning and mountain biking I had an LT test done at a local universityto aid in the development of my Training-Bible-based training program.Having started this in November I am currently in my first week of my racingperiod. My first race of the season was a local TT that I took fourth inlast year. I setup my training program so that the TT would take placeon the first day of my first race week. I took first place thanks to theplan based on your wonderful book.How long will my racing period last? I understand that my effortsneed to be extremely calculated and intense periods of rest are neededto maintain this fitness. What signs should I be watching for in orderto start the transition period into the beginning of my second build phaseof the year?Thanks Joe for helping me realize a strength on the bike I’ve neverfelt before.
MarkAnswer: How long a race peak lasts depends largely on how goodyour base fitness was coming into it. At the outside it may last for afew weeks–perhaps 3. But I’ve known of elite athletes who stayed at apeak setting records and winning major competitions for as much as 7 weeks.Don’t count on that happening, though.
Joe Friel is author of the successful “Training Bible”series of books, a regular columnist for VeloNews and InsideTriathlon and the founder of www.ultrafit.com.Friel also offers answers to a selection of questions in this weekly columnhere on VeloNews.com. Readers can send questions to Friel in care of VeloNews.comat WebLetters@7Dogs.com. (Besure to include “Friel” in the subject line.)