Mon - gym session (wattbike)
Tue - nothing
Wed - 20 minute core workout at home
Thu - gym session (wattbike)
Fri - nothing
Sat - 100km ride
Sun - rest
That's a summary of my week two. I'll go into a little more detail about each day's session now:
So Monday's session was another GCN YouTube video that I followed while on the Wattbike. At the moment I'm going to the gym straight after work (luckily I'm a member of a chain of gyms that lets me use any of their facilities, despite being a member of the one nearest my home) so I can be there by 5.30 and then be home by 7.30. I think I'll keep this routine going throughout the winter/spring months as it's impossible to get out on the roads after work.
This GCN session was called sweetspot intervals and it hurt. A lot. The session involved riding at sweet spot (so ~90% of FTP) for 40 minutes with small 30-second surges of maximum effort interspersed throughout. The goal of a session like this is to teach your body to recover while still putting out a decent level of power. It is definitely painful but I found last year that I improved at a much quicker rate once I started incorporating these sessions into my weeks so it made sense to utilise them from the very start this year!
One thing I completely neglected last year was any type of core or upper body workouts. While they aren't essential, a strong core will help us to put down the power better, with no energy being consumed by trying to stabilise ourselves and should also help if you're getting any arm/neck/hand pain.
I found a website that had a list of core workouts on, including diagrams which were extremely useful, and dove straight in! If I'd had any reservations about whether these exercises would be beneficial for me, they would have been instantly quashed... I couldn't even hold the first exercise for the recommended minute! 30 seconds each it was then. This will now be a staple in my routine at least once a week.
Thursday was supposed to be a 50km straight-through ride on the Wattbike. No deviations or intervals, just put in your measurements to the bike computer and pedal until it ticks over to 50km... However I badly misjudged the conditions in the gym and realised after about 30 minutes that I was going to run out of water (note to self: always take 2 bottles to the gym!) so I decided to change from 50km to a 1 hour session instead.
Incidentally, I realised that this song is a brilliant song to pedal along to!
Saturday saw me finally get back on the bike. Now, the training plan I had written called for an 80km ride this weekend but I felt good so plotted a route that would be around 100km. However, the route did have a bail-out option that would cut the ride down to 80. I felt that was a good idea as there's nothing worse than being on the road with no energy left and knowing you have to ride through what feels like treacle just to get home.
Now, as it turns out, about 10km after the turning for the shortcut I cramped up really badly in both legs and had to take 10 minutes on the side of the road to eat flapjack, drink some electrolyte mix and take a gel bar! But I powered through and got home... even if I did do a cheeky loop around the block to make sure it ticked from 99km to 100!
This ride did teach me three things.
- Firstly, I'd been working on a max heart rate of 192 and that's clearly wrong because at some point on a 19% incline I apparently registered 194bpm!
- Secondly, always plan a ride assuming you're going to have a bad day in the saddle. I wouldn't normally have taken 2 gel bars AND 8 chunks of flapjack on a fairly flat 100km route but I'm damn glad I did this time.
- And thirdly, if you're in two minds then you should always fill your bottle up. I went from km53 to km78 without passing anything other than farms and houses while nursing the dregs of my two bottles. In hindsight I should have refilled when I went through the last known village/town and I won't make that same mistake again! This misjudgment is why I cramped up terribly. Well that combined with 50km into a cross-headwind, haha!
Luckily, after the ride there was plenty of opportunity to rest as sport dominated the TV on Saturday night and Sunday evening (hello NFL playoffs!) so, as I write this, it is now Monday and I'm gearing up for another big week.
There will be another blog coming later on this week where I'll focus on the importance of keeping your bike clean (with some slightly braggy before and after pictures...).
Until then, thank you as always for reading. Please add me on Instagram (@twjw87), Strava (Tom Wells), Facebook (link above) and LinkedIn (link above) and please, please, please remember that I am doing all of this training ready for a charity ride in July where I will cycle stages 10-15 of the Tour de France. Sponsorships & donations would be gratefully received from anyone and everyone (individuals, companies, groups are all welcome) by clicking on the button at the top or bottom of the page here.
Many thanks :)