Wednesday, December 12, 2012

winter training. Spinning classes? really...


    As winter roars on, day light become more scarce, holidays keep coming and time to train becomes, well, non existent. It is vital to maintain a structured training program that keeps you motivated, improves your weaknesses and gets you ready to achieve next seasons’ goals.
Spinning classes are a great way to beat the winter cold. They’re offered at many gyms and if not at yours look to another club near by. Most clubs have a drop in rate that will allow you to take a class as a non-member. One problem that many triathletes and cyclists have with these classes is that they are unrealistic, an aerobics class on a bike.
The classes at Rallysport where I teach in winter are anything but. True cycling workouts and rides. Accurate power meters on every bike make these classes the best I have seen. 

  There are ways that you can turn a less than ideal spinning class into a great endurance and technical workout for you and your needs.
First off this is your workout not the instructors. If you’re doing the 10 minute “climb” in the saddle then stay in the saddle no one is going yell at you.  Further more, you control the tension, on the fly wheel, right? You control your intensity.  Then keep it at your intensity not Joe spinner’s next to you who doesn't even commute to work. 
Many times these classes are only one hour long. To short for you? Come early or stay late. Try to push past that key 70’ mark. I will be doing a webinar at Training peaks HQ on how to find your weak areas and talk about some tools and methods for maximizing your time in the winter months. This we will talk more about this there. Don’t miss it!  January 8th! 

  Spinning classes offer one of the greatest opportunity to work on technique. For starters you don’t have to balance the bike, steer,  be wary of traffic etc. Take this “stabilized” time to really focus on your pedal stroke. In the beginning of class take a few minutes to pedal with one leg. Do 2x30 seconds on each leg. Then, take some 30” or 1’ intervals to really focus on a perfect pedaling, both legs, smooth and efficient.  Most spinning bikes have semi fixed or totally fix cranks. This will carry your legs through the circle even when they start to wear out and get sloppy at the end of class. This is a great time to do some fast pedals (30 sec. bursts of high cadence, low resistance, in the saddle sprinting).  These are for technique, not power. This will recruit fast twitch muscle fibers when they are most tired, training your legs to be the fresh at the end of a hard ride or race.  This makes you more prepared for that inevitable attack at the end of a road race, the hills coming into T2 or the 3 minutes you have to close down in the run for first place at a local triathlon.  

Look be realistic. If you live in a state with 4 seasons its cold in winter, the roads are icey and it gets dark at 5pm.  trying to train to many hours will have you burnt out before the first training race in spring. Consistency is KING! this big picture and be in for the long haul. 

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