Winter Cycling - Training in the winter
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08-11-04, 05:42 PM
This season I started to bike a lot, and got a new road bike. The reason was because I started doing triathlons, and I got three triathlons in this summer. I noticed though, that I really like biking. When I train, biking was always what I was most enthusiastic about. Anyhow though, my triathlon season has come to an end because cross country for my high school is starting (I must do cross country). Right after cross country is the swim season, which concludes in february.
My question is on training in the winter. I will be running cross country from now on full time and swimming maybe twice per week (no biking) until mid october, at which point I will start swimming full time with running maybe twice per week. I probably won't be biking again until very early March.
If I were to bike on a trainer regularly during the winter, would that do a good deal of help for me, for next biking season? Next year is when I want to get in some bike races. Like I said, I will be running and swimming from now through March, constantly. Will this help my biking in any way? Would it be worth sacrificing swimming and running training, to be biking on the trainer, for preparation to next year, or since either way I will be doing athletics all the time, it won't make much of a difference?
Basically, if biking on the trainer vs. swimming and running would be greatly better for next biking season (for racing), then that's probably what I will do. Otherwise, I'll just swim and run...what do you seasoned bikers have to say for this?
Thanks in advance.
EDIT: Obviously, bike training is better for biking than running or swimming, but I'm wondering if the impact will be significant enough to sacrifice swim/run training, if next biking season is my main focus.
08-11-04, 06:43 PM
Well, as long as your keeping physically active in the winter your already a step ahead of the game. Try and get on the bike once a week, even if its only for a quick 15 mile spin. I'd also reccomend throwing in one or two days on the bike during your conditioning for cross country season. So, if your feeling a bit sore after a hard day of running go out cycling instead of doing a recovery run. This allows you to work your cardio on those days which your running muscles just aren't up to it. Of course, this also is up to your coach. Some coaches aren't going to tolerate you missing a practice or two for cycling.
Just as a general rule of thumb cross-training is usually encouraged in the off-season and the beginning of the training period. Once you get closer to competitions you put aside the cross-training in favor of sport specific work outs. If you're going to be focusing mainly on cycling and you haven't been on the bike for 6 months then March too late. Ideally, you'd begin training on the bike by January or early Febuary. In your case, however, that isn't going to work as it will be during the end of swim season.
You actually aren't at all in a bad situation. Cross country and swimming will give you an excellent cardio base. You'll be able to jump right into resistance training as soon as your comfortable on the bike again. If you ride occasionally during the off season you can probably jump straight in. If not you may need to spend a few weeks getting comfortable (spinning, posture, etc).
Best of luck!
No time to check grammar and such... hopefully there are no blaring mistakes ;)
08-11-04, 08:32 PM
I have a few comments I wished someone would have told me when I was young and in my 11 year swim careeer.
But first on to your main question: you want to know if adding cycling to your swim/run training will help your cycling training while not harming your swimming. My answer lies in the idea of variety. More variety implies better conditioning since there are aspects you can't train in 2-hour swim workouts that you need in a swimming race (e.g. I could never have the leg strength I do now just swimming) PROVIDING you do a decent amount of training in your main sport. So adding more variety while swimming will help your swimming/racing career - I attribute some of this to why I had a 3 year plateau then quit. The problem I see is that you're not adding much variety since you already run (for swimming purposes, that's similar). Keep in mind when you mix training: Don't overtrain, and don't fit running/cycling on top of a full swim training load. I found I did better on about 8-12 hours a week of swimming than 16-18 hours. If your coach gives you crap and you're paying to be there, you don't have to do everything he says.
As for answering your question about improving your cycling season, consider this thought. More background (the remaining effect of previous training) means you can have less training and still do well, or start a training season well. If you have a good background, you can take time off, pedal leisurely and start a season well. By cycling once a week, all you are doing is adding background, and not improving your speed. If you have plenty of time to train before racing season, you may not need a good jumpstart to your first week or training.
Now here are the things that I wish I knew when I trained.
1) Do something you love. I hated swimming for 3 years, and I should have quit. And when you do quit competition, you'll remember the fun you had and won't be able to see why you needed to wake up at 4:45AM EVERY DAY. That makes me wonder why you would want to be stationary on a bike in the first place.
2) Swimming gives you a lot of endurance for keeping your heart rate near max for repeats and more repeats. Value it, because mountain biking is the only thing I find that comes close to matching it, and it's insufficient. I wish I could have used that endurance for other sports... I would have been an endurance king.
3) There's something awfully addicting about needing to perform better. It makes you lose perspective on... LIFE! I'd trade the 50-70 km swim weeks for a social life (and 20km swim weeks) any day.
That was a ramble... good night
08-11-04, 10:00 PM
Actually that's pretty crazy, because I'm 17 right now and have been swimming competitively since the age of 6. 11 years! For some reason I started getting tired of my swimming season. I'm coming up on my senior year in high school. After my Freshman year of high school, I swam scarcely during the summer. After my sophomore year in school, I didn't swim during the summer. Then for my juinor year, I didn't even finish the high school season. Then from January until June during my junior year, I had no motivation to train in any sport. Then I started triathlon training, and competed in three triathlons, and absolutely LOVE it! It's so much fun, and I don't even have friends that race with me.
Anyhow, that takes me to where I am now. I have pretty much decided, that starting in March of my senior year, I am going to be fully concentrating on either triathlons or cycling. It really depends on how I do in cross country and swimming. If I do really good this year in both, I might decide to keep doing triathlons. Otherwise, my main focus will be cycling. Just not sure which yet...
08-16-04, 08:36 PM
I love riding, but hate the cold. The answer for me has been an indoor mag trainer. This allows me to train 3 nights a weeks without having to break into my lifestyle or risk being run over in the dark. I've found my 'Sunday morning" rides on the road are so much more enjoyable because my aerobic capacity and leg strength is higher.
I have set up my mtn bike on the trainer in the garage along with the stereo and tv and go for my life for 60 - 90 minutes.
08-17-04, 12:00 PM
Give cyclo-cross racing a try. Its what roadies do in the winter, just for fun.
08-18-04, 09:37 PM
sparknote_s: I was feeling the same and going without motivation only places you in this rhythm that you expect half assed swims. Consider swimming in university... the experience is worth it, and your motivation isn't yourself, but for the team. There isn't a time in a race when you let up, ever! There are people that have their 100 relay splits +0.7s faster than their best time b/c they were swimming for the team. Anyway, peace out.
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