Fitness questions and answers for May 15, 2005

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Form & Fitness Q & A

Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject? Drop us a line at fitness@cyclingnews.com. Please include as much information about yourself as possible, including your age, sex, and type of racing or riding. Due to the volume of questions we receive, we regret that we are unable to answer them all.

Cyclingnews also has the full directory of all Form & Fitness questions and answers to our expert panel in a separate archive.

Carrie Cheadle, MA (www.carriecheadle.com) is a Sports Psychology consultant who has dedicated her career to helping athletes of all ages and abilities perform to their potential. Carrie specialises in working with cyclists, in disciplines ranging from track racing to mountain biking. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University as well as a masters degree in Sport Psychology from John F. Kennedy University.

Dave Palese (www.davepalese.com) is a USA Cycling licensed coach and masters' class road racer with 16 years' race experience. He coaches racers and riders of all abilities from his home in southern Maine, USA, where he lives with his wife Sheryl, daughter Molly, and two cats, Miranda and Mu-Mu.

Kelby Bethards, MD received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University (1994) before obtaining an M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2000. Has been a racing cyclist 'on and off' for 20 years, and when time allows, he races Cat 3 and 35+. He is a team physician for two local Ft Collins, CO, teams, and currently works Family Practice in multiple settings: rural, urgent care, inpatient and the like.

Fiona Lockhart (www.trainright.com) is a USA Cycling Expert Coach, and holds certifications from USA Weightlifting (Sports Performance Coach), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach), and the National Academy for Sports Nutrition (Primary Sports Nutritionist). She is the Sports Science Editor for Carmichael Training Systems, and has been working in the strength and conditioning and endurance sports fields for over 10 years; she's also a competitive mountain biker.

Eddie Monnier (www.velo-fit.com) is a USA Cycling certified Elite Coach and a Category II racer. He holds undergraduate degrees in anthropology (with departmental honors) and philosophy from Emory University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.

Eddie is a proponent of training with power. He coaches cyclists (track, road and mountain bike) of all abilities and with wide ranging goals (with and without power meters). He uses internet tools to coach riders from any geography.

David Fleckenstein, MPT (www.physiopt.com) is a physical therapist practicing in Boise, ID. His clients have included World and U.S. champions, Olympic athletes and numerous professional athletes. He received his B.S. in Biology/Genetics from Penn State and his Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University. He specializes in manual medicine treatment and specific retraining of spine and joint stabilization musculature. He is a former Cat I road racer and Expert mountain biker.

Since 1986 Steve Hogg (www.cyclefitcentre.com) has owned and operated Pedal Pushers, a cycle shop specialising in rider positioning and custom bicycles. In that time he has positioned riders from all cycling disciplines and of all levels of ability with every concievable cycling problem.They include World and National champions at one end of the performance spectrum to amputees and people with disabilities at the other end.

Current riders that Steve has positioned include Davitamon-Lotto's Nick Gates, Discovery's Hayden Roulston, National Road Series champion, Jessica Ridder and National and State Time Trial champion, Peter Milostic.

Pamela Hinton has a bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She did postdoctoral training at Cornell University and is now an assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studies the effects of iron deficiency on adaptations to endurance training and the consequences of exercise-associated changes in menstrual function on bone health.

Pam was an All-American in track while at the UW. She started cycling competitively in 2003 and is the defending Missouri State Road Champion. Pam writes a nutrition column for Giana Roberge's Team Speed Queen Newsletter.

Dario Fredrick (www.wholeathlete.com) is an exercise physiologist and head coach for Whole Athlete™. He is a former category 1 & semi-pro MTB racer. Dario holds a masters degree in exercise science and a bachelors in sport psychology.

Scott Saifer (www.wenzelcoaching.com) has a Masters Degree in exercise physiology and sports psychology and has personally coached over 300 athletes of all levels in his 10 years of coaching with Wenzel Coaching.

Kendra Wenzel (www.wenzelcoaching.com) is a head coach with Wenzel Coaching with 17 years of racing and coaching experience and is coauthor of the book Bike Racing 101.

Steve Owens (www.coloradopremiertraining.com) is a USA Cycling certified coach, exercise physiologist and owner of Colorado Premier Training. Steve has worked with both the United States Olympic Committee and Guatemalan Olympic Committee as an Exercise Physiologist. He holds a B.S. in Exercise & Sports Science and currently works with multiple national champions, professionals and World Cup level cyclists.

Through his highly customized online training format, Steve and his handpicked team of coaches at Colorado Premier Training work with cyclists and multisport athletes around the world.

Brett Aitken (www.cycle2max.com) is a Sydney Olympic gold medalist. Born in Adelaide, Australia in 1971, Brett got into cycling through the cult sport of cycle speedway before crossing over into road and track racing. Since winning Olympic gold in the Madison with Scott McGrory, Brett has been working on his coaching business and his www.cycle2max.com website.

Richard Stern (www.cyclecoach.com) is Head Coach of Richard Stern Training, a Level 3 Coach with the Association of British Cycling Coaches, a Sports Scientist, and a writer. He has been professionally coaching cyclists and triathletes since 1998 at all levels from professional to recreational. He is a leading expert in coaching with power output and all power meters. Richard has been a competitive cyclist for 20 years

Andy Bloomer (www.cyclecoach.com) is an Associate Coach and sport scientist with Richard Stern Training. He is a member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) and a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). In his role as Exercise Physiologist at Staffordshire University Sports Performance Centre, he has conducted physiological testing and offered training and coaching advice to athletes from all sports for the past 4 years. Andy has been a competitive cyclist for many years.

Michael Smartt (www.cyclecoach.com) is an Associate Coach with Richard Stern Training. He holds a Masters degree in exercise physiology and is USA Cycling Expert Coach. Michael has been a competitive cyclist for over 10 years and has experience coaching road and off-road cyclists, triathletes and Paralympians.

Kim Morrow (www.elitefitcoach.com) has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion, and a Fitness Professional.

Her coaching group, eliteFITcoach, is based out of the Southeastern United States, although they coach athletes across North America. Kim also owns MyEnduranceCoach.com, a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find a coach.

Advice presented in Cyclingnews' fitness pages is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for individual athletes. If you follow the educational information found on Cyclingnews, you do so at your own risk. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

Overcoming fear in races
Workout mix
Pack skills
Exercise and Parkison's/Alzheimer's

Overcoming fear in races

Hello,

I'm not sure if this question relates to fitness, but it certainly is a big aspect in racing. I am a Cat II female racer, 34 years old, and have been racing on and off for years. I have a husband, young son, and the normal load of responsibilities. I decided to put in a full season of racing this year, after a couple years of not racing, and started really training in January.

I've done 5-6 races this year, and feel my fitness is good - I've had no problem staying with the field in races. I have found that I am, however, extremely fearful. When confronted with any situation during a race where I have a choice to be aggressive and move up, or hit the brakes, I tend to go with the latter. And even though I might have the strength to move up and get near the front of field, if I see a corner coming up, I don't chance it.

I feel like no matter how strong I am, I'm never going to do well in a race. I've had bad crashes, but they were years ago. How do I get my mental edge back? Or do I need to throw in the towel with racing, and start doing centuries with the old fogies?

Too Fearful to Leave Name

Dave Palese replies

Hey Fearless,

Never throw in the towel. And also know that you aren't alone. The issues that you cite are very, very, very common.

Let's look at the two items that you talk about: fear and (I added this one 'cause I think it's at the core of your situation) goals.

As far as fear goes. It sounds as if you have done a fine job preparing yourself physically for your racing. But like many athletes, you may have neglected skills. If your comfort cornering is a limiter for you, you need practice cornering. Just as you would do a sprint workout to improve your sprint, you have to do skills sessions if you need to improve a certain skill

Find a parking lot or a quiet section of road that has a corner that, at speed, would be challenging for you. Spend time going through the corner progressively faster. I know that this concept of working on skills sounds so simple and matter of fact, but think about how much time you spend training, and how much of that time is targeted at improving skills or technique. Don't neglect your skills.

The other part of this conversation is about goals, and planning. I'm big on goals and planning. After preparing physically, my clients spend alot of time setting goals and planning how their next race will go. We decide prior to the race what the plan is going into the event and how the course, competition, and conditions will affect our plan. Then, after the race, we analyze how the race went. If they stuck to the plan, and what they did right and could have done better.

My point here is that if you don't have a clear set of goals and plan for how you will achieve those goals, you won't have much motivation to do anything in a race. Staying right where you are and finishing in field will do just fine if no more is really desired. And have goals and aplan will also put you in a more positive frame of mind during the race, keeping your mind off of negative thoughts like crashing and the like.

Here are a few thoughts to take into your next race that will get your mind focused in the right direction (I offer these with the assumtion you racing a crit, since you mentioned cornering as an issue. But they hold true for most types of racing):

1.) Get a good start. After your warm-up, hang out at the staging area and get a good start up near the front. No sense spending a whole lot of energy chasing for good position for the first 3 laps.

2.) Stay in the front 3rd of the field. Staying up front and holding your position is hard in an aggressive crit, but essential to being in the right place at the right time. The racing happens at the front of the field. Plus, crashes more often happen in the middle to rear half of the group where the riding gets less predictable.

3.) If you have to use your brakes in the corneres, you are too far back. A good rule of thumb, and it works.

4.) Plan to enter the last critical point of the race in the top ten. This one is up for debate depending on the course and more to the point the position of the the last corner or hill with relation to the finish line, but just remember... the further back you are with the leaders start going for the line, the more wheels you have to make up at full speed. Not easy to do. I hope some of this helps - have fun and good luck!

Workout mix

Hi all,

I'm fairly new (two years in) to racing in Ontario's Master A category, with the kind of steady improvement I'm happy with after just 2.5 years of training.

But this season, I have a dilemma about designing my workout schedule in any given week. I know about periodization etc. but it's the actual weekly mix that confuses me.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the contrast between:
a) Joe Friel's support for a mix of interval/hill/group etc. in Build periods. It seems to be a program for a well-rounded rider.

b) Chris Carmichael's support for thematic blocks of hill focus etc. for an entire month, in Specialization periods. CC claims you can't improve everything all at once, and need to specialize.

My question: Can you improve all skills all at once? Or, should I focus on intervals for a month, say, then hills for a month etc?

Rob Faulkner
Hamilton, Ont., Canada

Dave Palese replies

Rob,

You'll get as many different answers as coaches you ask.

My take is that you have to look at the events you are targeting and build you specialization periods around the abilities that you will need to succeed there.

I tend to weight my specialization periods for my clients towards one ability, say anaerobic endurance. But that is a very general statement. I have other clients where we do use a mixed approach. But for the most part, I tend toward a more focused approach.

Hope this helps - have fun and good luck!

Pack skills

I need to improve my ability to move around a pack, and hold my position when near the front. My fitness is good, but confidence seems to limit my ability to hold myself in a position where I can have any bearing on the outcome of races. HELP!

Dave Albert

Dave Palese replies

Dave,

Like I just replied to Fearless, give yourself a some clear goals and a plan, and some action items like the ones I mention below. Doing so will give you more focus during the race and improve you consistency. With greater consistency in your performance, you more often be where you need to be to be a factor in the race.

Have fun and good luck!

Never throw in the towel. And also know that you aren't alone. The issues that you cite are very, very, very common.

Let's look at the two items that you talk about: fear and (I added this one 'cause I think it's at the core of your situation) goals.

As far as fear goes. It sounds as if you have done a fine job preparing yourself physically for your racing. But like many athletes, you may have neglected skills. If your comfort cornering is a limiter for you, you need practice cornering. Just as you would do a sprint workout to improve your sprint, you have to do skills sessions if you need to improve a certain skill. Find a parking lot or a quiet section of road that has a corner that, at speed, would be challenging for you. Spend time going through the corner progressively faster. I know that this concept of working on skills sounds so simple and matter of fact, but think about how much time you spend training, and how much of that time is targeted at improving skills or technique. Don't neglect your skills.

The other part of this conversation is about goals, and planning. I'm big on goals and planning. After preparing physically, my clients spend alot of time setting goals and planning how their next race will go. We decide prior to the race what the plan is going into the event and how the course, competition, and conditions will affect our plan. Then, after the race, we analyze how the race went. If they stuck to the plan, and what they did right and could have done better.

My point here is that if you don't have a clear set of goals and plan for how you will achieve those goals, you won't have much motivation to do anything in a race. Staying right where you are and finishing in field will do just fine if no more is really desired. And have goals and aplan will also put you in a more positive frame of mind during the race, keeping your mind off of negative thoughts like crashing and the like.

Here are a few thoughts to take into your next race that will get your mind focused in the right direction (I offer these with the assumtion you racing a crit, since you mentioned cornering as an issue. But they hold true for most types of racing):

1.) Get a good start. After your warm-up, hang out at the staging area and get a good start up near the front. No sense spending a whole lot of energy chasing for good position for the first 3 laps.

2.) Stay in the front third of the field. Staying up front and holding your position is hard in an aggressive crit, but essential to being in the right place at the right time. The racing happens at the front of the field. Plus, crashes more often happen in the middle to rear half of the group where the riding gets less predictable.

3.) If you have to use your brakes in the corneres, you are too far back. A good rule of thumb, and it works.

4.) Plan to enter the last critical point of the race in the top ten. This one is up for debate depending on the course and more to the point the position of the last corner or hill with relation to the finish line, but just remember...the further back you are with the leaders start going for the line, the more wheels you have to make up at full speed. Not easy to do.

Exercise and Parkison's/Alzheimer's

I would like to know if there are any findings or relation as to whether exercise can delay/bring on these diseases. I have read that Davis Phinney thinks that his hard efforts may have contributed to the early onset of this disease. My father suffers from these two diseases. He didn't ever exercise. I ride recreationally three times a week for 2-3 hours at time. Thank you for your time.

Marco Biagini

Scott Saifer replies

Marco,

I am by no means an expert on this topic, but I do believe I've seen some reporting that people who are physically active are less likely to develop Alzheimer's. I don't recall reading anything relating Parkinson's to more or less exercise.

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