The Daily Grind: Final Preparations and Tips for Race Week
As we have touched on in earlier Daily Grind posts the true value of a cycling coach comes from the constant interaction and feedback that is at the core of every successful coaching relationship. Off-the-shelf online training plans are perfectly viable but in our experience they cannot match the benefit of being able to rapidly shift strategies and training routines based on real-world illness, fatigue, off-the-bike stress or any number of other factors.
Reflecting this no single list of bullet points can replicate the value derived from our ongoing coaching relationship with Jacob Fetty from Cycle-Smart but after recently putting the finishing touches on our training for Intelligentsia Cup the team spent an hour walking through the ins and outs of the upcoming days of racing the team faces. A few selected bullet points from that conversation that may be helpful as you approach any multi-day race like Intelligentsia Cup:
Proper warm-up is important but needs to take into account the race conditions - if it is hot and humid as was the case at Intelligentsia Cup last year then a shorter warm up is entirely appropriate. Run through all of your zones during the warm-up but don't add unnecessary training stress in the process of attempting to warm-up.
Adjust your race strategy to account for the length of the series - coming off a lot of weekends with one or two days of races and going into ten days of racing at Intelligentsia Cup requires a more conservative race strategy to reflect the consequences from front-end loading too much fatigue. Race hard, but race smart.
It is absolutely essential to cool-down post race - without a proper cool-down your form will suffer during the course of the week. There are different approaches to the cool down based on the context but in every instance make sure to cool-down and then quickly start to refuel and recover. Have food available to eat immediately post cool-down.
Recovery has to take priority with caloric intake - for a criterium heavy series you will likely gain weight during the series but that is far better than the risk associated with under-eating and not recovering appropriately during the course of the races. Have a good breakfast and make sure you have snacks available throughout the day.
Be smart about the length of your days, especially if hanging out at the races with friends and teammates - stay in the shade, stay off your feet if possible and make sure to hydrate and fuel appropriately throughout the day. If its hot bring a cooler for drinks and to have ice for ice socks.
As always if you're interested in exploring a cycling coach we wholeheartedly stand by our experience with Cycle-Smart. To learn more about their offerings head over to the Cycle-Smart website or feel free to reach out to any of us.