Julia presented to me in October of 2015 as an experienced and good for age runner. Her motivational goal for summer 2016 was to complete the full Gran Fondo course of the 138km, 4000m Maratona dles Dolomites. Julias cycling experience was much more limited than her running achievements, having completed only a few, much less challenging public events (shorter distances/ climbing) around the UK such as the Tour De Yorkshire for the first time in 2015.
Julias work/ life balance is very tricky to maintain, with multiple work trips and time consuming commutes into central London, which she occasionally runs, but rarely cycles.
After a brief medical condition in early 2015, Julias training programme lacked any strength training to benefit further endurance gains. Typically, intensive long distance running is a catabolic process which should be well managed with adequate diet (positive protein balance) and preservation of lean muscle mass through resistance training. Transferring purely to cycling meant Julia needed to perform strength sessions in her local work gym twice a week as a staple part of the programme. As Julia wasn’t training with power on her own bike, twice per week interval sessions were performed on a Watt bike using power readings /heart rate and RPE to monitor effort and quantitate training. To make the programme more suitable for a novice cyclist, we tested Julias 3-minute power (a testing protocol that is currently being validated in sports science circles) and used information from that to set relevant training zones across her energy spectrum according to Coggans seven distinct pathways. From this unique data we designed personalised pyramid style interval sessions targeting lactate threshold/ VO2peak aerobic capacity and anaerobic conditioning indicated by an convenient to follow colour-coded system. To make this easier, Julia was on a premium Training Peaks account where I was able to prescribe blocks of weekly sessions, according to the overall training phase she was in.
Julia made steady objective progression, and developed much stronger cycling muscles and core strength which helped her accomplish the first training target of the TdY in a satisfactory time. After the change to daylight saving hours, Julia was able to perform sessions outside, to a better sense of effort on the bike and was performing hill-repetitions and longer rides more regularly with further gains. As rest and recovery becomes more important with greater intensity training, we factored in a higher frequency of ‘off’ days which coincided with travel and work-trips.
By event day, Julia had be riding in excess of the Maratona distance, but was still nervous of completing the climbing, typical of less experienced competitive cyclists. Julia rode within herself on all of the climbs, but just failed to finish within the maximal 10hr time limit, for ‘social’ reasons and waiting for friends. Overall, Julia was very happy to be able to complete the full Maratona course, and has set herself a solid goal to beat for 2017. Julia has since ridden the 2016 Ride London 100, and is now continuing her training for the CEP winter Ball Buster.