Coach Rants: Hear you nothing that I say?

Ironman bikeThe conversation goes something like this:

Athlete:  “I want an individual training plan, specific to me and my fitness level, so I can train smart.”

Coach:  “Excellent. Let’s  talk about your workouts. We’ll set up a periodized plan—”

Athlete:  “Can I still go on group rides?”

Coach:  “Group rides, hmm . . .”

Athlete:  “I heard that’s how you get fast in cycling.”

Coach:  “Well, you do ride at the speed of the group. . . .”

Athlete:  “And my group is fast! We did a three-hour threshold ride on Saturday. Total hammerfest!”

Coach:  “Actually, if you held that pace for three hours, it wasn’t a threshold ride. You did a hard tempo ride.”

Athlete:  “But it was a great workout!”

Coach:  “I’m sure it was a great workout, but you weren’t going hard enough for it to be a threshold workout—a workout where your body makes a physiological adaptation to the workload, increasing lactate tolerance.  A lactate threshold pace is one you could only hold for one hour max.”

Athlete:  “Oh, ok. Makes sense. Got it.”

Coach:  “In fact, not only are group rides normally too slow for a threshold workout, but they’re usually too fast for the low intensity workouts you need, too—the ones designed to build oxygen carrying capability and teach your body to metabolize fat for fuel more efficiently.”

Athlete:  “So depending on the time of year, there’s a good chance the group ride’s pace isn’t the best pace for me.

[Insert clouds parting, a chorus of angels, and a slow smile breaking across the coach’s face.]

Coach:  “Exactly. Unless you specifically need a tempo workout, there’s a good chance you’ll be going either too fast or too slow for your given workout on the day.”

Athlete:  “Got it. Loud and clear. Really, this makes too much sense.”

Coach:  “Great. So let’s talk about that periodized plan—”

Athlete:  “Can I still go on group rides?”

Coach:  Sigh . . .

2 thoughts on “Coach Rants: Hear you nothing that I say?

  1. Peter Ney

    Life is an endurance sport. Can’t really change things quickly without some type of injury. Words of wisdom from the guy who over did it at the beginning of last year and immediately got injured. You guys always put things in great perspective: patience, perseverance and reserve.

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