Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tariffville, CT
Bikes: Tsunami Bikes
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I typically *start* my season about 6 weeks before my first race. I do some inside trainer work, get in at least one or two 2 hour rides, and then do some volume (3-4-5+ hours a day). This year was different but for the last few years I went into my first race barely doing a few sprints during training.
This is for someone who understands race speed.
If I were in your shoes I'd mentally schedule three or four "training camps" which last 3 days each, maybe one every week for 4 weeks. Ride hard (do intervals or big gear rolls or sprints or whatever you need to do to elevate your heartrate and your perceived effort) until you deplete your glycogen (i.e. you have to eat or drink calories), maybe 2.5-3 hours min, each day of the training camp. Force your body out of using stored muscle, fatigue yourself. Personally when I go hard I try and average over 155 bpm. 158-159 bpm is pretty hard for me - my first race in 2008 I averaged 152 bpm.
If you are doing group rides, make them part of your "camp" days. Do an extra hour or two after each ride (maybe do the group ride loop backwards). The idea is to wear down the body, use your fat/protein reserves (lean out the muscles you don't want or need).
Recover for a day then do some normal base miles. For me this is 135-ish bpm.
Mentally you can steel yourself for the "camp", and really only the second or third days will be the hard ones. Physically I think you'll find that once you get going, those days aren't bad, your sore and tired legs warm up nicely.
Doing more than 2 days in a row will shock your system and force it to break down more than normal. You will feel better once you've recovered from 3 "on" days. When in shape I used to do 4 days hard in a row virtually every week - race or group ride Sat-Sun, go long Monday, and do sprints Tuesday. I'd take the rest of the week off (occasionally doing a Thu ride), warm up for 60-90 minutes on Friday, then repeat. I was racing well from March to October for three or four years, mentally fresh, always enthusiastic.
Taper for a week - max ride is 2.5 hours, i.e. you shouldn't quite *need* to eat although you may want to. Keep doing efforts earlier in the week (Tue-Thu at latest for a Sunday race), take the second day before race day off, and then go for 60-90 minutes on the day before race.
For some reason if I ride until I get hungry, it takes either tons of food or a day or two to feel totally topped off. So I try not to do that right before a race. I want to start the race feeling topped off.
Eat lots of good food.
I'm no trainer, no doctor, don't understand how the human body works. All this is from hearsay, myths, legends, and things like that. I also believe thunder is the sound clouds make when they kiss and that if I cancel a race it won't snow on that day.
hope this helps,