Thursday, June 26, 2008

Training: Adapting to different situations / University trash

There are many things happening in our lives which, and unless you are a professional sports person, will interfere with the training and even with the possibility to attend races you have been training for. In fact, some of them will even stop professionals of doing their jobs.

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As a sports person (always wanted to call myself that..) one must be able to change and adapt, trying to efficiently use the time we have to maintain form and hopefully keep improving a little.
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Work
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Some of us have to work. Firstly, because some of us like to work. Secondly, because some of us have to finance our sport but that is a matter for another topic. With work comes odd hours, travelling, lunches, Friday night drinks, etc. There is no perfect formula to juggle all that and keep the training going as efficiently as possible.
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It might be training at odd hours of the day, I remember doing my rides in Cairns under the heat and humidity, in between 12 and 1pm and I know someone that was getting on the bike at 3 am in preparation for a 24h MTB event. The best example of adaptation I can recall is of a guy working on a navy ship while preparing for the Crocodile Trophy (toughest MTB race in Australia) where he raced as a domestique for Adam Hansen, the winner. He did most of his training on a wind-trainer while sailing the Pacific. So, it can be done.
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Tips: shorter and higher intensity rides; wind-trainer; stationary bikes at hotels; swimming in hotel pools (or Pacific ocean); don't join the Air Force; get a part-time job; become a professional cyclist.
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Sickness/Injuries
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This is a harder one because often means being off the bike, loosing precious form gained over weeks of hard training and having to make a decision of not racing that main event for the season. Looking at your program and seeing that I am down by 235 kms for the week takes me close to depression... Ok, been dramatic here but it is like: - S...t, how am I going to catch up?
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Firstly, we shouldn't try to catch up on those kms. Remember, we have been sick, a 235 km ride will probably put us back in bed and in a sicker state than before. We need to get better before doing any intensity work and/or long km's. I still do sessions on the trainer, just to keep my legs moving and to sweat a little. It makes me feel better, physically and mentally.
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With injuries, if you can get on the bike and ride, ride! I remember being advised by more experienced cyclists than me to even race as soon as possible. I did that after a really bad crash a couple of years ago and worked, kind of made my recovery faster. Just remember to drop a grade if you do that... Crashes also do play with your mental state (specially on day 3).
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Tips: Eat well to stay healthy; drink heaps; sleep more than 8 hours; take supplements; dress appropriately when in cold weather; take something to put on before you start your descent in cold days; eat more vegetables, fruit and nuts.
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Weather
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I will get on the bike if there is a VERY light drizzle, and after checking with BOM, but will stay in bed if it is rain what I can hear on the roof. It is one thing to get caught in the rain, I do enjoy riding in those conditions, but leaving the house when it is raining is something I leave for the real hard core riders and professionals. What's wrong with the wind-trainer, anyway?
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We need to look into the safety aspect of it as well. Slippery roads, windy conditions, low visibility, equipment, are some of the factors we need to take in consideration when getting out in adverse weather conditions. But, as they say, it will make you a better rider as you might have to race in those conditions one day.
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Tips: Get on the wind-trainer; check with BOM; dress appropriately; take lights;drink during the ride; drop tyre pressure in the wet; have a super feed when home; clean the bike well after the ride.
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Family commitments
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That can be hard. Although, I am 30,000 km away from my family, I do find the time to get on Messenger now and then and have a little time with my parents. Because of the time differences, I do miss out on some time on the bike now and then. Time to compromise. Family members have to be aware of what we do and why we do it. Let them know about your goals and how much will take to get to them. Let them know that we also miss out in things that we could be doing and they will be a little more understanding and supportive.
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Tips: Move to a different country; ride to their place and/or family gatherings; let them know about the events coming up; ask for advice if you have someone in the family with mechanical, nutritional, medicinal, sports, witchery or any sort of knowledge you can relate to cycling.
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University of Queensland and Trash
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I took this photo last week while riding at the back of the Uni, in St Lucia. I just thought it was an odd site which made me think of so many different things at the time but I won't write them down and will leave it open for interpretations.




2 comments:

Whitey said...

Nice entry - some good tips in there

Chris said...

You put into words what I have been living with. I know I could be a better racer, but it just isn't the top priority in my life. Family comes first, then work, then cycling. It is hard to grasp sometimes, but that is how it has to be for me at least. I just try to do as much as I can with the time I have to put into it.

 
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