How To Get Through Epic Training And Survive!
Have you ever had a great opportunity to get out and train, but it was a bit more than your body was used to?
But you didn’t want to turn it down because it just sounded fun?
Well that’s what happened to me this Labor Day weekend. I haven’t been training much for the last few months because my extra time has been going in to working on my coaching and a really cool triathlon training product. (You can get your hands on it here.)
Here’s how it unfolded: Friday was my regular group ride from Cafe Velo. We covered about 13 miles, which is pretty much all I’ve been riding lately. That and a few Joy Rides and WMBA rides helping out with the beginner groups.
Then the North Colorado Springs Cyclists sent out a meet-up for an ice cream ride. Who can turn that down? Since the meet-up point was just about 3 miles or so from my house, I rode over. And, since I haven’t been riding much, I wanted to test out my legs so I did my best to stay with the front group of guys. All good until the last little bit of the final climb and *bam* I just slogged the rest of the way up the hill. But we weren’t far from the ice cream shop. Let me tell you that hot fudge sundae tasted gooooood. Here’s the full scoop on that ride.
OK, so a bit wiped out after this and I’m sitting on the couch recovering, watching college football, and building athlete training plans, the idea solidifies. Sunday, the next day, is the Divide Volunteer Firefighter pancake breakfast, and my parents are going since they live there. So why not go? I went last year. And why drive up the pass when you can ride! Yeah, today’s ride was hard enough on my legs, so why not go after them a little more with a 45 mile, 4500ft+ of elevation gain ride.
I got no takers on Facebook so I texted my friend Sarah, and she was up for the adventure, especially when a pancake breakfast was the pot of gold waiting for us! Now, I should have known better than to ask someone who just finished the Breck Epic on a single speed to ride with me. But ya know, a Drummer’s got to ride with Musick every now and then.
I set off from my house around 5:40am, met Sarah smack on time at 6:30 (6:29 really). We met Allen Beauchamp, our aid station master, a little en route to our “aid station” so we moved it over to Einstein’s Bagels. Some coffee, PB&J, and some chain lube later, we were on our way up the hill. (See the green line below…that’s elevation.)
Here’s the full data file. So yeah, I rode from 7000 feet down to 6200 feet and then up to 9200 feet. With a few rollers along the way. I even got to try some EnduroBites at our quick pit in Woodland Park.
From Woodland Park to Divide we were joined by David from SeekOutCycling.com. Fortunately he didn’t have his camera because by then I was moving pretty slow!
But we made it for pancakes, got to hang with my folks a bit, and then my dad drove us back down the hill.
The training volume of riding in 48 hours (~7hrs, 92 miles, ~7600ft of gain) was WAY more than I had done in the last several weeks. And although I wasn’t super speedy, I had solid rides. And I was hardly sore at all the next day.
Here are the keys to getting through a high volume burst of training:
- Eat! Make sure the nutrition is high quality and you get enough calories to fuel your effort. Hydration is important as well.
- Recover between rides. I sat on the couch most of Saturday afternoon and evening with my feet propped up. I wore my compression socks. When I took a shower after my ride, I ran cold water on my legs as a quick substitute for an ice bath. (The cold water out of the tap here in Colorado is plenty cold!)
- Sleep! Get to bed as early as possible to allow your body to the recovery it does when you snooze.
- Get in a recovery ride when it’s over. Monday I got in about 7-8 miles on my mountain bike for an easy spin. My legs thanked me for it, as going up and down stairs later that day was no problem.
What kind of Epic training do you have planned?