Summer sMiles 😀

For those of you who have been training for events for 6 or maybe even 8 months, now is the time to enjoy those hard earned gains and the great weather 🌞 we are having in the UK. I still see many riders plugging away at indoor sessions 😓 even when the sun is shining which seems a shame to be honest. I have to admit that in the past few years I have become very shy of the indoor workout, preferring to get outside in all but the most horrible of conditions. For me summer is about having some fun, having as much variety on the bike as possible and getting the Vitd in.

But, and here is the rub, I don’t want to let go of those hard earned fitness gains either (and nor I guess do you), so how can you incorporate some of the discipline of your indoor sessions into a ride in the open air?

For many people training with power indoors is normal. Zwift, Wattbikes, turbos with power, we have all become used to seeing what power we are putting out and training to power zones. For many, having a power meter on our outside bikes is still a luxury and still out of budget, so think that we can’t train outside on a bike without power.

This is just plain wrong thinking…..🤔

Before the days of heart rate monitors and power meters we used to train based on Rate of Perceived Effort. I still like to throw sessions based on RPE into training plans because riding on ‘feel’ is an important skill to have.

As an example. Let’s say your coach or training plan asks for you to warm up and then do 2×20 minute threshold efforts at  Z4 = 220-230w followed by a cool down. Inside you warm up progressively for 10 minutes, complete the efforts exactly with the specified recovery interval, cool down for 10 then get a shower.

Now you want to ride this session outside. Think about a route that will enable you to put in a 20 minute fairly consistent effort. (If you cant find a 20 minute section of road find a 10 minute one and go there and back). The warm up can be 10 minutes or can be 30-40 minutes of endurance riding (all endurance riding is good). You get to your 20 minute effort section of road and ride at a 7-8/10 Rate of Perceived Effort for 20 minutes, continue up the road easy for your recovery, turn round, and then do the second 20 minute effort back towards home. The cool down can be 10 minutes or 30-60 minutes of endurance riding.

On the road you will have to deal with all the vagaries of outside riding, uneven road surfaces, bends, undulations, climatic variables……all the things that will make you a better rider!

So come on, have some imagination and throw the shackles of rigid structure away for a couple of months. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for structure for sure, but it’s just not July and August unless you are training for CX or something in the Autumn.

If you don’t have a coach or follow a plan what levels of effort should you incorporate into your riding to keep your hard earned fitness over the summer?

If you have been training well all winter and spring you should have covered all the fitness abilities and should continue to do so…..

Endurance – your longer rides should mean that this is rock solid by now. One long ride per week at 3-4 RPE will keep endurance fitness high.

Strength Endurance – tempo, sweet spot and threshold efforts should be incorporated into other rides. Long efforts at high tempo/sweet spot 6-7 RPE, combined with shorter efforts at just above threshold 8 RPE will keep the leg muscles accustomed to hard work.

Aerobic Capacity – short 3-5 minute full gas 9 RPE hill reps are great to keep your aerobic capacity high all summer long.

Anaerobic Endurance/Capacity – join a weekly chain gang and feel the surges…… otherwise add in 20-30 second MAX efforts, 10 RPE, to your ride with long endurance, 3-4 RPE, recoveries of up to 10 minutes and no shorter than 5 minutes. In addition do some 60:60’s of hard 1 minute efforts, 9 RPE, followed by 1 min easy spinning.

And above all ride just for fun….turn the screen to map only and just ride and feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face 😀.

Happy Summer everyone and SMILE!….we will be back for more in the Autumn