“He’s done two ZWIFT sessions on the wind trainer so far and we’re seeing Braden’s highest heart rate and power levels sustained for the longest period of time. He’s broken records for those races. This type of racing is so important during isolation to spark that stimulation and help bring him up to that next level” – Val Burke (Coach).
Week three in lockdown has resulted in somewhat of a silver-lining when it comes to training within the limitations of isolation. For obvious reasons, I’ve been forced into my hurt-room for some quality time with the wind trainer and my coach is calling it ‘a golden opportunity’. Why? Because this is the place where she, along with my previous coaches have always wanted me to spend more time. Historically, I’d always max-out my cycling time outside not only because I preferred it, but also because I’d struggle to find the space to focus on the significant improvement of this discipline, the discipline that has always been my greatest opportunity.
I’m now training like a cyclist for the first time.
The main focus of this training block is to raise my cadence and build strength so that I can be stronger on the bike. Cadence is something I’ve always struggled to improve; I have to re-programme my brain to be able to work at a higher frequency without fatigue setting in. It’s all about frequency of pedalling at that higher cadence which is really hard to do whilst remaining smooth and consistent.
Val Burke (Coach): “We are focused at achieving cadence of 100-130 revolutions per min parameters, which is very key for the production of peak power. Power equals ‘force times turnover’ so we are working on force generation and turnover as well”.
I’m enjoying the consistency and having a revised programme to follow so that I can still progress. The beauty of the wind trainer is that it’s un-interrupted, consistent and controlled. No matter what the day, what the weather or the traffic conditions you know you can always turn on the heater or the fan and get a solid session done that fits the weekly plan; it’s always guaranteed. The wind trainer allows me to hone in on the nuts and bolts of this particular discipline. It’s taken me a whilst to get my head around it – I’m not used to training in this way – but now that I’ve explored ways to use it more productively, I’m actually enjoying it.
Getting to know and use the ZWIFT platform has kicked in that external motivation of having some sort of race. I’ve been joining the TriNZ races each Saturday morning and I’ll continue with this. Everything else will be quite specific. ZWIFTis stimulating and I definitely push myself harder than what I would if I were riding on my own, but it’s also very un-prescribed (you never know what the race is going to be like) so for me, it needs to be managed within the workload so I’m not enticed to do it every day.
Val Burke (Coach): “Were keeping him at one ZWIFT session per week because we don’t want him to peak too early in the case Kona does go ahead”.
Although the wind-trainer is the main piece of equipment for training in iso-life, I also use rollers as a good way to diversify. I’ve been using them in my warm up for high cadence work. They are great for improving core stability and balance on the bike.
I’m engaging in strength-endurance sessions each week. The session for cycling is about heavier lifting; isolation makes that challenging because of limited access to gear and weights but I have enough to challenge myself in that way. Lots of lunges and squats are key too.
Val Burke (Coach): “We’ve been honing in on power conversion work where the power generation from deadlifts, hamstring curls, basic core and some box jumps are transferred straight onto the trainer”.
To get the most out of this iso-cycling block in terms of strength and range; the key elements to maintain is keeping subtleness in my hips, abductors, hamstrings and quads so that my legs don’t get really bunged up. With lower running volume, I also have the space to focus on trying to get the range back in my hips and hamstrings.
Lockdown has definitely exposed the opportunity to significantly improve what has always been my area of greatest gains. Now that I’m training like a cyclist, hopefully that when the times comes when we can race again, I’ll ride like one too!
PHOTO CREDIT FOR ALL IMAGES IN THIS EMAIL: SEAN BEALE