Springing Into Action The Correct Way

It’s time to think about what your early Summer training should look like.  The GranFondo Whistler will be here before you know it.  Many of the main riding routes roads have been cleared of winter debris, salt and sand and are in descent shape to ride.  And dare I even say, the sun has been out a few times!  It is time to transition from the comforts of spin classes and compu trainers and start rolling your wheels outside.

I follow some basic rules with my athletes when I start to transition them into the next phase of development to what I call later base work.

Many people are so excited to get back outside and start riding that they jump right into high intensity training, doing intervals and hill work and then wondering why 6 weeks down the road they are fatigued or injured.  It is critical to begin back outside with a gradual plan, focused initially on just getting some time in the saddle with good form while building mileage.  At least 80% of your training time should be done while riding at conversation pace.  Focus on your technique, breathing, posture and leg cadence.  The upper end, more taxing workouts will come soon enough but this is not what the majority of your time at this time of year should be.

Steady state riding where the distance is gradually increased week by week will strengthen your heart but will also prepare your muscles to resist fatigue.  Going from a 1hr ride one week to a 4hr training session the next is not the way to progress.  Instead, increase mileage in consistent increments (20, 30 or 40mins for example) and continue to mix in some other forms of training into your plan (running, hiking, strength etc.)  I also encourage steady state miles on terrain that mimics that of the GranFondo.  Aim to stay seated on your climbs right now instead of attacking them.  Practice smooth shifting and riding in a pack.

Rest days are equally as important as your training days.  Athletes are so quick to by-pass quality rest in exchange for more and more training. You need rest and failure to allow for it on a regular basis only leads to bad things.  Pay attention to your energy levels and how well you are sleeping.  Use a training log to identify patters of sleep, irritability, weight gain/loss, unusually elevated heart rates etc if you are not working with a coach.  And most importantly, all athletes require different amounts of rest to work ratios.  It’s critical that you provide your body with adequate time to recover each week.

Continue your strength development through the Summer.  You will need powerful legs to climb those hills and resist fatigue and a strong core to be able to hold good bike form for several hours.   Don’t forget to take the time to stretch on an ongoing basis.  Most of us are so guilty of hopping off the bike and forgetting all about stretching.  If this means ending your workout 5-10mins early in order to allow time for this, please do.  I’m a huge fan of the foam roller for athletes, learn how to incorporate fascia rolling techniques into your stretching in order to really tackle all those big muscles that are working hard for you.  Consider a yoga class 1+ times a week to learn some new movements for opening up the joints and lengthening the muscles.


Consistency is the key now. You should have good structure to your weeks that are progressive.  Plan ahead and don’t skip training sessions. What you do now is setting the platform for success at the GranFondo.  Tackle some smaller races in the months ahead, this will keep your training on track and keep motivation high with smaller goals along the way.


– Jen Segger, Challenge By Choice


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