Friday, April 9, 2010

Athlete 4. Overland Park, KS

The last installment of our Athlete profiling and progression series.  Thanks for reading!

Athlete 4 is finding his time more and more crunched by life.  He is married, has a full time job, two 100% active kids, lawn to mow....  He hooked up with Source Endurance to provide some structure to his training and to help him be at his best when it matters.  Indeed, he was in 2009.

Athlete 4 finished the 2009 road season on a strong note at the Gateway Cup, then immediately stepped onto his CX bike and began to make some noise, culminating in some impressive rides at US National Championships in Bend, OR. 

Athlete 4 is a talented sprinter and has an enormous ability to tolerate acute enormous workloads.  Our challenge is to help him utilize his other attributes in order to further compliment his superior short term powers. 

To begin his 2010 season, Athlete 4 was greeted with one of the most severe winters in Kansas history.  With no chance to 'sneak in' those long rides on the random warm days of winter, the focus on his training was shifted from quantity to quality.  His volume was reduced and intensity increased.  After all, it's no fun spending ALL your time on the trainer.  He was given the flexibility to get outside, even on the coldest of days in order to break the monotony of watching old Tour de France videos.

With the onset of tolerable weather, his volume has gone up, and the difficulty of his training has followed suit.  March saw Athlete 4 focusing on exposure to threshold powers with enough training races and group rides to spur some top end development.  Indeed, his only race to date was not the overall level of difficulty expected from a long road race with a good quality field. This skews the graphs below a bit as Mean Maximal powers are typically race driven.

Athlete 4 has been able to use his power meter in order to become "race ready" in the midst of a bare early season Mid-West calendar.  We have taken his peak powers along with his recent race data (newly analyzed) and built a schedule for him that should have him ready to race in his upcoming events.  Despite not "training" his top end, Athlete 4's short term powers have already eclipsed what he was able to accomplish in March 2009.  This reinforces the advantages of having years of data to draw from because we know what he should be doing for this time of year.

Cumulative Powers: March 2009

Cumulative Powers: March 2010

Mean Maximal Powers: March 2009 (dotted) vs. March 2010 (solid)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Athlete 3: Austin, TX

There will be some clues as to who each profiled athlete is.  Feel free to post a reply and guess.  Each athlete knows who they are and are welcome to post it if they like.  Happy reading!

Athlete 3 came to Source Endurance following four years of Triathlon and dabbling in other sports.  He had previously been an elite racer and has international racing experience.  His injuries have kept him from being competitive in the past and now he wanted back in the game.  Athlete 3 also realized that lately the bar has been raised for cycling in central Texas and guidance would be needed to be successful at this level once again.  His 2009 goal was simple, "use 2009 to return to a competitive level in the elite field."  After a successful  2009, he turned his attention to cyclo-cross in order to give himself a bump in the top end that he could use in 2010.

This year Athlete 3 strives to once again be a protagonist in some central Texas races by continuing to improve fitness and racing with better tactical awareness as well as being more pro-active late in the events.   Athlete 3 states that the frequent accelerations needed to excel in technical criterium races is also a weakness.

Athlete 3 balances all this training with his profession as a software engineer, wife, 2 children (one baby), a new home and troublesome swimming pool.

By examining Athlete 3's training and racing history, we were able to see the deficiency in his short, sharp accelerations.  To address this, Athlete 3 did some things that many road racers never think of.  First, he did some CX races.  The one hour of hard riding every couple of weeks enabled him to improve his top over the off-season and he began the 2010 road season with a better top end than he ever had in 2009.  Also, we focused on his VO2 max early in the season in order to help him tolerate the multiple maximal efforts in each race required at the elite level.  The results were better than expected.

March 2009 Cumulative Power Distribution

March 2010 Cumulative Power Distribution

Mean Maximal Powers: March 2009 (dotted) vs. March 2010 (solid)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Athlete 2: Lawrence, KS

There will be some clues as to who each profiled athlete is.  Feel free to post a reply and guess.  Each athlete knows who they are and are welcome to post it if they like.  Happy reading!

Athlete 2 is a younger rider who has grown in his ability and experience at an astounding rate over the last 3 years.  Improving is not a matter of "if" but "how" and "how fast."  Athlete 2's strengths are self-rated as, "feeling a race and knowing when the defining moments are coming."  He can sprint in groups and he can create and drive breaks.  His liability, as self-reported, and supported by his power files, rests in his ability to close out long races.

This is where his training has been focused the last 2-3 training cycles.  With the help of SE, he's been taking on the high volume training targeted at forcing aerobic development with threshold work occurring after a considerable workload has been accomplished.  Athlete 2 is also furthering the stimulus of this volume training by stacking multiple days consecutively in a manner that is challenging, yet allows him to recover given one or two days of easy rides.  This training is meant to mimic the high work demands needed for the late selections in road races as well as the later stages of stage racing.  

We don't have a lot of racing data from Athlete 2 in March of 2009 (hence the low short-term powers), but we do have a good deal of training and training race data to compare.  The results are an across the board increase in aerobic power.  It will be interesting to see where his abilities peak as there are no signs of his current upward trajectory slowing.

Mean Maximal Powers: March 2009 (dotted) vs. March 2010 (solid)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Athlete 1: Houston, TX

There will be some clues as to who each profiled athlete is.  Feel free to post a reply and guess.  Each athlete knows who they are and are welcome to post it if they like.  Happy reading!

Athlete 1 is a veteran racer who came to Source Endurance on the heels of a less than stellar 2008 season.  He was looking for some improvement both objectively and subjectively and has he shown it!

Following his 2009 season Athlete 1 discussed his 2010 goals and outcomes to be addressed.  His short term/ off-season goals were to continue to build and keep the workouts dynamic enough where he was still having fun.  For his spring campaign, he had a handful of early target events that nearly mirrored 2009.  Also, he wanted to be able to continue to capitalize on difficult, epic races and his affinity for racing well out of small groups.  Athlete 1 expressed a need to improve on his late race powers as well as Time Trialing (applied to stage racing, as part of multiple stage days) and the ability to recover following systematic attacking.

Athlete 1 battles the same limiting factor that many Source E clients deal with: Time.  His profession and family require a considerable investment of time and thus the "ride all day everyday" theme is not practical.

So we get to work......
The first thing we did was to analyze Athlete 1's power files to substantiate his claims, then to set out to correct them.  What we found was that in the early "epic" races, Athlete 1 was in need of more kilojoule (pronounced, "aerobic work") capacity for the long road races as well as exposure to threshold+ efforts late in the event.  We took some things differently with the training including more focus on efforts that will emulate the 2009 events as well as adding some larger volume when his schedule would allow.  The results....

Keep in mind the scale of the graphs as shown by the horizontal lines.  Even though in 2009, Athlete 1 did a fair bit of HIT, the volume was no where near what was seen in 2010.  Indeed, we did push the envelope of aerobic development and the results are showing as he sets himself up for his first "A" race of the year. 

Cumulative March 2009 Power/ Time
 Cumulative March 2010 Power/ Time

Mean Maximal Powers: March 2009 (dotted) vs. March 2010 (solid)

As a side note: Athlete 1 did enjoy a substantial weight loss over the winter. That, along with his power increase sets the stage for the story of a veteran racer in the midst of a rebirth is being written as we speak!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring un- Fitness?

Spring.  “The season of growth.”
In nature this means an explosion of life as the woods come alive after a long winter of sleep.  The birds come back after their vacations south and the snow melts.  Finally.  However, concerning athletic performance, the foundation of spring started long ago…..

It is easily evident to distinguish who put in the hard work over the offseason to keep themselves on track, and who is painfully behind the curve in meeting their performance goals.

The athlete is bombarded everyday with feedback pertaining to his/her performance, whether in the form of objective or subjective indicators.  Objectively, the power meter tells all and does not lie, nor does it sugar coat.  Those hard numbers are instrumental in returning to peak fitness in time for your season goals.  Subjective ability is what the athlete sees and feels in competition and is derived from athlete comments and from the scheduled consults. How is the athlete feeling?  Is the fitness there?  Where does it lack?  What needs immediate correction?

Source E uses both of these measures as key tools to tailor a path towards peak fitness starting in the offseason.  Over time we modify training, making course corrections, based on both avenues of input to keep each athlete on course both absolutely and relative to his/ her peers.

We’re starting to get some meaningful data from 2010’s early events as well as training.   Some of the clients Source Endurance has multiple years’ worth of training and can track progression over time.  The results are astounding!

Over the next 3 days, Source Endurance is going to examine one different client per day (if they would like, they can identify themselves), each with similar goals from the previous year.  These clients all have data from previous season(s) and viewing the progression is a wonderfully fulfilling thing.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

SE riders start to hit stride!

Driveway. Austin, TX. April 1.
Men Elite: Colton Jarisch 3rd.  
Men 3/4: Jaime Reyna 15th.
NWA Classic. Fayetteville, AR. March 28.
Men P,1,2: Shadd Smith 3rd, Joseph Schmalz 4th