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

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