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Coach's Column with Eric Orton

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |August 11, 2010 6:35 PM

This week we hear from Eric Orton of TrainWithEric.com. Eric is an elite-level coach who trains some of the top MTB racers in the U.S. Eric is the former Director of Fitness at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, a certified Functional Training Specialist, a Certified Sports Hypnotist, and holds coaching certifications from both USA Triathlon and USA Cycling.

 Question:

How should you properly recover when you have 2 endurance races back-to-back weekends? In my case, I have the Park City Point 2 Point one week followed by the LOTOJA road race the next.

Answer:

Having coached athletes to both of these races, you are in for a great two weeks, as these are great races.  The key to the answer to your question is not so much what you do during the week between races, but what you do leading up to these races.  Mainly, the two weeks prior to Point To Point.  The week of August 16th should be your last hard week consisting of race specific intensity and keeping with your normal weekly intensity sequence.  The week following, August 23rd, should be your recovery week, where you drop your volume and intensity, allowing the legs to recover.  This recovery week will set the table for Point To Point race week where you would keep the volume low, but add some short, hard intensity intervals to help "open the legs” and keep them fresh for race day.  (See my column from last month where I discuss Peaking.)  The recovery week will be hard mentally, as you will feel like you are not doing much, but if you wait until race week to get your recovery, you run the risk of being stale and not fresh for Point To Point.  The key here is to go into Point To Point very fresh, ultimately helping you to recover much quicker for LOTOJA. 

Due to the all of the great singletrack at Point To Point, it might be hard to eat and fuel consistently during the race.  Make this part of your race plan and strategy. Not only will it help your performance during the race, it will also aid in a speedy recovery.  Having said this, be sure to eat well as soon as you can once you finish, getting in a performance drink immediately after the finish and then a more substantial meal within the hour.  Weighing yourself before and after the race will also give you some insight as to how taxing the race was for your system. 

Now we turn our attention to LOTOJA and I would recommend that your week looks something like the following:

Sunday – Nice easy spin to flush the legs and recovery from Point To Point.

Monday – Complete rest day, no cycling.

Tuesday – Easy endurance ride including 10-20 second pick-ups every few minutes during the last 20 minutes of the ride.  This will give you an indication as to how your legs are feeling and help prep them for Wednesday.

Wednesday - After a good warm-up, perform 4 X 3 min. intervals where you start out easy and build or progress your effort to hard by the end of each interval.  Take a 3 min. rest interval after each.  Do not force these intervals if you feel tired. 

Thursday – Very easy endurance ride with high cadence or day off based on how you felt Wednesday.

Friday – Very short and easy ride with 3 X 2 min race pace efforts at the end of the ride.

In closing, I would like to emphasize how important it is to perform a race day warm-up.  This is something that is not talked about much, especially for ultra distance events.  If your muscles are primed and ready to go, race pace intensity will be less of a shock to the system, therefore, help your race performance AND recovery. 

Great success to you!

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