This week our training question goes to Travis "TJ" Woodruff.
Travis Woodruff is a
USAC Level I (elite) certified coach who holds a B.S. in Kinesiology with
emphasis in Exercise Science. Heís coached riders to five MTB National
Championship wins and has over 10 years of personal racing experience. Since
2005 heís competed as a pro mountain biker and has coached full-time. His
business, Momentum Endurance LLC, is based out of Tucson, Arizona where he hosts wintertime
Question - I know I don't need to be training on the bike right
now but what are some things I should be doing to stay in shape and ensure that
I have a great 2012 race season?
Answer- Thanks for the question! The cross training
that you are doing now likely wonít have a big impact on your 2012 race season.
Cross training will help keep you generally fit and ready to train, but itís
not likely to help you in the going faster department Ė to get faster you have
to ride more and ride faster. The Ďoff-seasoní is the single longest period of
time that you can use to boost your fitness for the season ahead, but youíve
got to do this work on your bike. Donít
despair however, because itís important to take a break too. As long as youíre
having fun and keeping active your cross training will do its trick for the time being.
Now happens to be a great time to get away
from the bike especially if your first high priority races might be sometime in
the April or May window. There are some important things that you can (and should)
be doing while youíre not turning the cranks. Letís focus on what you can do while taking a hard earned break from the
Outline the 2012 racing schedule
Outlining your race schedule is the basic
first step. Which races do you plan to attend and which are those that you
really want to do well at? Write them
all down and make note of each raceís importance in the grand scheme of your
season. This overview can always be
adjusted, but itís helpful to have a template to start with.
Evaluate and change your training routine
In order to maximize your bike training you
need to take a close look at your normal day to day schedule. How well did you balance your training with
your other responsibilities during 2011? Modify your weekly schedule so that
both Ďreal lifeí and your riding can benefit. Perhaps planning for two or three days of no riding
each week will allow you to train more and with better quality on the other
days. If you typically ride in the
evenings, consider doing some of your training in the morning. This can free up
your evening (bonus family time and/or less stress about getting out of work
late) or it can allow you to double up and put in a little more training
volume, thus adding to the workload youíre able to do in a given week.
Plan for better recovery too
As important as it is to balance lifeís
responsibilities with training, it is equally important to plan for good rest
and recovery. How much sleep are you
getting each night? Chances are youíll
train and race better with more of it. Adjust your evening schedule so that it
might allow you to have a consistent bed time and a little extra slumber time.
Evaluate what might be some of lifeís biggest stresses and put some time and
energy into them so that they might become less stressful. Also, how restful
are your Ďrest daysí? Make them count just as much as your hardest training
Kick start your bike season a little earlier
Use your off-season as a great opportunity to
generally catch up, evaluate things, and then prepare to implement changes once
you resume training. If your goal is to
make 2012 better than the other years, Iíll encourage you to start your
training a little sooner rather than later relative to what youíve done before.
The indoor trainer wonít replace singletrack, but it will certainly allow you
to boost fitness for the season to come.
If youíre looking for an early season escape
from the snow and cold, Iíd encourage you to plan a training camp in a warmer
location. After taking a wintertime
break, a training camp is an excellent way to refocus and get things started
right for the new season. This can be a great chance to put in some bigger
miles and catch up on some extra rest and relaxation. Perhaps your teammates would be interested to
do a camp with you, or you can consider joining Brian Matter and I at our Tucson
Training Camp January 17-22, 2012. Weíll be doing some great rides and helping
riders like you sort out their season plans.
Wrapping it up
The most beneficial things that you can do
during your break arenít cross training related at all. Invest the time to evaluate the bigger picture
and figure out how your training and recovery might be able to work better with
everyday life this season. If you can do
this, your training and racing will be better than ever. While not training this time of the year, be
sure to enjoy your time away from the bike. Keep active, have fun in the snow,
and plan ahead for a bigger and better season in 2012. When youíre ready to go,
all youíll have to do is go for it!
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