Monday, April 26, 2010

Bike Riding in rural Maryland & training by 'Feel'

After more then a week of traveling, it's good to be home again. This past trip to Maryland included visiting family, attending and speaking at the Multisport World Expo in NYC, shooting three new Spinervals videos in Annapolis and doing a series of other video clips. It was a busy trip. I flew solo too with my 6 yr old and 2 yr old... which always makes for interesting long plane rides!

I grew up riding my bike in the rural countryside of Maryland, up near Pennsylvania. I love the twisting, narrow rural roads and almost endless choices to get from A to B during rides. I was reminded too how challenging it is to ride on 'rolling' terrain as the hills are short yet very steep. Power outputs spike up as you climb for 20-30 seconds then drop as you descend, over and over and over. You end up burning a lot of 'matches' during those short anaerobic efforts. On the other hand, here in Tucson most of our rides are less severe and allow for more 'steady state' riding. I can see where both areas have their advantages and disadvantages for cycling fitness development. If you ever want to get your butt kicked on the bike, go to Tri-Speed in north Baltimore and join them on a Saturday group ride in the hills of Baltimore County!

I left my Cannondale Cyclocross bike at my parent's house for riding during my East coast visits. Here's a picture. I don't have any power meter or HR monitor... just the bike. I must say I got in some great workouts (it has road tires) in the hills, while enjoying the countryside. It was especially nice to ride my old routes and not to worry about measuring my intensity... just to go out and ride. I believe it's important to sometimes leave the power and heart rate measuring devices at home and go simply by feel and perceived effort. It helps to develop your sense of self awareness and helps to keep training 'fresh' so that you don't get stale.

So, in your next long workout, consider turning the power meter off and leaving the HR monitor at home and go by feel. Just ride, not worrying about the metrics. I bet you'll enjoy it!

Train smart,
Coach Troy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Spinervals taped in Annapolis, Maryland

We have new Spinervals DVDs 'in the can'! These new titles, volumes 36 - 38.0 in the competition series, are scheduled to be released in October 2010.

We shot these new titles at the Annapolis Maritime Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. We were able to videotape outside, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The set was great, with a sunny day and boats off in the background.

The first workout featured Team 4Mil. This is a group of active military personnel who are doing RAAM (Race Across America) to support the Wounded Warrior Project. 10% of the revenues generated from this DVD goes to the cause. The focus of the workout was on threshold and building your TT pace.

The next video was one combining threshold and V02max training. It featured 34 athletes from the Annapolis Tri Club and the Annapolis Bike Racing Team, all wearing their team kits.

The last video was a combination technique and power development workout, again featuring athletes from the local cycling and tri communities.

Overall it was a great day and the athletes showed a lot of passion for cycling!

Our next videotaping takes place in mid-May in Las Vegas at Lake Las Vegas resort! We're partnering with Iron Girl to produce two new workout featuring Iron Girl racers. If you're interested in being selected to participate, send your bio to asap!

That's all for now.
Train smart!
Coach Troy

Friday, April 9, 2010

Consider trying a "Crash" Training Block

Now that our winter training camps here in Tucson are completed, it's nice to sit back and reflect back on the camps, the benefit of them to the athlete and what we can do to make them better in the future.

One thing is for camps WORK! They are effective training tools for boosting fitness, building momentum, paring down to race weight and creating a sense of focus for the new season and upcoming races.

High volume (and sometimes, high intensity) training over several days in a row (3-5) can serve to bring about substantial gains in fitness. This is a 'breakthrough' block of training that will wear the athlete down... but then after a few days (or even weeks) of recovery, they usually feel stronger and faster. (WARNING: Do not try this UNLESS you are physically prepared - otherwise, you open yourself to getting hurt!).

For 2010, we had two camps that were separated by a week 'off'. I find that this training scenario is ideal as the athlete gets a nice dose of training and can then take at least a few days (or even the full week) to recover... followed by another intense dose of training over 3-5 days. Try this type of training pattern once on your own to see what I mean.

Here's what we did for camp #2 this year.
Day one: Brick - 70 mile aerobic endurance ride, then run 4-5 miles aerobic
Day two: Hilly half marathon at race pace, followed by a 90 min. recovery spin and then an easy swim
Day three: Mt. Lemmon Climb of 2 hours, steady tempo (3.5 - 4 hrs of total riding)
Day four: Swim workout, then 10-12 mile (or 90 min.) aerobic run
Day five: Hard bike hill repeat workout then short 4-5 mile aerobic run

As you can see, we combined a fair amount of intensity with volume, including the Mt Lemmon tempo ride and the hill repeat workout for the bike as well as the half marathon (tempo) and 10 miler for the run. We had good overall multisport training balance too. When this type of high volume/high intensity block of training is over... several days to a week (or more) of 'easy training' is in order to bounce back. Of course, you should only embark on this type of crash training block if your fitness allows for it... don't get in over your head!

Be sure to check out our 2011 Tucson Training camp program, which will be open for registration very soon. We're including two cycling-only camps for intermediate and advanced riders, as well as our typical tri-training camp. Click HERE for more 2010 camp info and registration.

In the meantime, train smart!

- Coach Troy

Monday, April 5, 2010

Reflecting back: 2010 Tucson Training Camps

I hope everyone had a nice Easter weekend. We sure did... with incredible sunny and warm weather here in Tucson, my two girls enjoyed hunting for Easter eggs and finding their basket from the Easter Bunny. The rest of the weekend was relaxing, including some solid training with a 70 mile ride, a swim (yep, starting to get in the pool more often) and a run. I was hoping ole' EB would leave some goodies for yours truly... but no such luck this year. :)

Last week we finished up with our 2nd Tucson Camp of 2010. It was a great week with some awesome people. While camps are very busy and 'stressful' at times for me as the camp organizer (regarding the safety of the campers), they are also so much fun and rewarding... personally and professionally. For me, it's a point of contact as people I might coach via phone/internet are able to come out and train with me one on one. As a coach, I get a better sense of who the athlete is and what makes them tick, as well as what's needed to make them better as competitors. I also get a chance to meet Spinervals fans and spend time with them... getting feedback regarding the Spinervals series and how to improve it, as well as hear how the DVD's have helped them improve as athletes. It's especially cool when some people can quote certain, as they call them, 'troyisms' from the videos. Often quoted are "You'll pass out before you die." and "anyone can suffer for 10 seconds!". :)

Every year we try to do something different with camp and this year was no different. For example, we incorporated the option of running the half marathon or 5K into the program. We also increased our ride time up Mt. Lemmon to 2 hours, and in camp #2, did a brutal set of hill repeats one day. For next year... we have some new changes in the works, including a cycling-only camp for advanced riders (no TT bikes allowed!). Look for early bird registration to open soon for March 2011 Tucson training camps at and

Have a great week!
- Coach Troy