Updated 8th September 2019 Paddy Doran cycling coaching Blog
Pushing to the limits and holding
Competition Anyone who has ridden a bike competitively will know that if you want to be competitive there are times when you have to push to your limits and beyond.
And they will also know that this will hurt. And takes great mental drive and willpower to persist with.
Often the crucial part of a bike race is comprised of a few minutes of flat out racing on various types of terrain.
This is usually the highest pace of the race when cyclists either go forward or backwards. It’s usually accompanied by plenty of pain.
Dealing with the pain
How can you learn to to deal with the pain of these times?
Heres one method that I learned. When I began racing I remember asking John Lackey how to improve my ability to ride at top speed for longer
Lackey was a cyclist who won hundreds of bike races before I ever began racing. So when he spoke you listened.
He had a very simple solution. Sprint flat out to telegraph poles! Pick a pole to sprint to.
Then when I reached that telegraph pole at my physical and mental limits and was beginning to slow down. Try to maintain the speed to as close as possible to the next telegraph pole.
This was really, really difficult and painful by the time I would eventually crack.
But over time it did indeed allow me to cycle at high speed for a longer duration and more telegraph poles. After a few sessions of this, pain tolerance seems to change.
East Germans willpower training
When I studied Cycling Coaching in East Germany one of the things mentioned was willpower training! And how used they do this?
On the track they would instruct the rider to make a flat out effort for a certain distance then just as the rider finished the effort instruct them to continue for longer at the same pace. You can just imagine how that feels for a rider.
The same as John Lackeys session
This struck me as the very same method Lackey had instructed me to do when I began cycling.
So this could be introduced closer to the racing season by sprinting for landmarks and trying to maintain the speed beyond them for as long as possible. And when I say sprint I mean sprint flat out.
How often should it be done? Only for a limited amount as if it was carried out too often it could lead to over training. Maybe once a month or less would be enough and it’s essential that there’s a good training background, and level of fitness before doing it.
If you haven’t trained for a long time, are an older cyclist or have any health issues this is a session to leave alone until you have a good amount of training done and or get medical clearance to train that hard.
I will deal with some other strategies for breaking through the pain barrier in some future blogs.
Paddy Doran Cycling Coach www.peakendurancecoaching.com