For the past 4 weeks I have been base training. Base training in May I hear you say? Well I’m not so interested in sportive, road racing or Crit as I’m a cyclocross rider and my racing starts in September. I’ve chosen just to race cyclocross in the winter which leaves me time to enjoy the summer with my family amongst other things.
Base training in the summer has its advantages, riding those long slow miles in warm Pleven weather and not slogging it out on the dark wet winter roads plus I’ve been using ithlete Pro to really dial in my training.
I’ve always been one to listen to my body and use the ithlete app and the web based ithlete Pro is helping me to start my training the smart way. I’ve decided to 100% do what ithlete Pro says, kind of like a coach and using my own guidelines – so I’ll be using it like a coach but really my body will be coaching me!
I take my measurements first thing, I get out of bed, visit the bathroom, get dressed and using the Finger Sensor take the reading which takes 60 seconds. I then get my breakfast and while eating log into ithlete Pro to check what I’ll be doing training wise that day. When I’m on morning shift this is at around 6.05 am but for afternoon shift I’m to bed later and rise at 7 or 8 but I always take the reading within 10 minutes of getting out of bed and always aiming for 7 hours sleep of course. I know that sleep has a big impact of the ithlete result and can turn a normal training day into a rest day.
What I’ve found excellent since I’ve been using ithlete Pro is the fact that the Training Guide is more detailed and actually is kind of a coach for me. I know what I need to do within a certain period of my training, ithlete Pro just simply tells me if I’m ready and recovered enough to do it. If my body isn’t ready I wait until it is to get the maximum quality training I can, particularly with my limited time. The problem I have found with previous written training plans is that people aiming for particular goals just do the plan, day in day out, with no regards at all for the needs of rest and recovery, doing the workout just because they have been told too, because it’s “in the plan”. With the ithlete method that I’m using you train when you’re ready and get the maximum from the training by feeling fresh and ready to go – something you may not get with feeling alone.
The base training I have been doing is all exclusively Zone 2, I train with power and heart rate and I’m kind of following the Phil Maffetone method during this 8 week period. When my ithlete Pro result shows normal, depending on how much time I have I ride a 2 to 4 hours Z2 ride on varied terrain. This is painfully slow at some points and brisk at other but still staying within the power zone and my heart rate is usually mid to lower zone 2, at or just below the MAF zone.
At times when I have available time to train I’ve gotten a lower left rest result (low recovery & low activation), which can be very disheartening especially when you view the rest as a waste of time. Once last month I did train when ithlete Pro recommend that I rested (it was after a long weekend at work and I had not trained for 4 days). The required rest then turned in to more rest days to follow as my body then took longer to recover from non training stress like work, late nights, poor diet and early mornings. That time I learnt the hard way and instead of missing one day to recover I lost a week of quality training by not allowing myself to recover!
The reward came 4 weeks later and after 40 hours of zone 2 (I’m currently not doing any higher intensity work until later in the year) I was riding a charity bike ride in aid of helping disabled children compete in sports. That day I unfortunately had a top left result advising me to rest or lower my intensity but I had reduced my workload in the week to allow for the longer ride at the weekend, you see the good thing about ithlete is that it takes into account every day stress too. The charity ride was 112 miles with the first 60 relatively flat where the later miles are through the most beautiful Shropshire Hills.
With the engine that I had built with the aid of ithlete Pro over the last 6 weeks I can say I was easily the most prepared and feeling fresh, with the aid of a correct work and recovery cycle it was a walk in the park with a training stress score of over 350! As expected the next morning my score was lower – rest was prescribed with a top left result in ithlete Pro. A easy recovery ride in this zone would of speeded recovery but I decided after the 7 hours riding the day before ithlete had correctly told me to chill for the day and ended up feeling fatigued and sleepy in the afternoon, something that I never felt early in the morning however.
I’ll be keeping you up to date with my training and how I use ithlete with a blog post each month. Next month I’m getting married so let’s see how ithlete handles the stress leading up to that knee jerker!