Winter training moves into phase II tomorrow at which time The Straight Dope will get back to business. Party time is over and, to borrow a phrase from Tony, “my friends it is time to get serious.” This not only goes for training but for work. There are a lot of changes in the fitness and nutrition world that need to be addressed and I’ve been holding off on them until the New Year. Let’s get busy.
Phase I Recap: The last 50 days have been a combined rest and foundation phase. These are commonly coupled because athletes don’t like doing nothing and foundation training movements are less intense (and usually somewhat foreign) than actual sports training. It’s also a good time for endurance athletes to do some base training, which is essentially long slow distance or some variation. I’ve been doing daily stability training and not-very-long slow distance. It could have been way more focused but, as it’s also a rest phase, lack of structure was a planned.
Phase II Plan: Strength
All sports training should begin with an analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, and goals. My goals are in climbing, riding, running, and to improve at skate skiing. The latter, being a technical pursuit, isn’t a part of the training plan except as a note to self to plan recovery and aerobic conditioning on skiing days until I get good enough at it to do targeted high-level workouts.
Running: my base conditioning is very good but I’m having some foot issues, which I think will be cured by some more targeted speed and skill work (including more barefoot drills). So while I will continue to do a lot of aerobic conditioning to get ready from long days later in the year, I will begin to do more focused speed work.
Cycling: my cycling is in the worst form in years. This is because I completely shut it down when I hurt my back twice in the last two years and, thus, have essentially gone three years since I was in racing condition. Since It’s winter, most my aerobic conditioning will happen running or on skis and my riding will be doing short intense work for VO2/max, lactate turnpoint (more on this term later), and power training on my stationary trainer.
Climbing: I’ve been in full shut down mode for climbing and plan to milk this a bit longer. I feel I need more shoulder power, back, and forearm strength and will use this phase to increase all of these before I begin to apply them to rock. I’ve never found intense weight training and climbing to be effectively done together. This phase will focus on the gym work and will flip-flop in phase III.
I have essentially six weeks, which I’ll break into two three week blocks that I’m going to call hypertrophy and power. There will be overlap, as you’ll see, but the idea is to build all the mass that I want (not much) and big muscle absolute strength (aka power, and the big muscle term simply means not climbing specific, which is all attached to your fingers) in this phase. Then I’ll transfer it to performance in the next phase, and then roll it over towards mega-endurance for ultra events during the latter part of the year.
One big change in this year’s program is that I’m combining the same training focus for different, NON-RELATED sports. I generally break these up so that when I’m, say, training for power in climbing I’d be training endurance on the bike. This makes a lot of sense but, as a lab rat, I feel it’s my duty to try something new. After all, the ultimate goal here is not my own performance, which is only a barometer to assess training effectiveness, but a growth in my knowledge of training that I can then impart to you.
That’s enough for today. As the pic suggests, party time is not quite over. The actual workouts and structure will be reported as I go.