1 step back, 2 steps forward

Racing is done for 2015 so it is time to start building for 2016. Through this year I have been following plans that

Lynda Wallenfels

helped me stack against my schedule which basically looked like this:

Jas & the turtle @ Kanza

March 15 -

Rouge Roubaix

March 24 -

24 hours of Iron Maiden

(12 solo)

April 11 -

Skyway Epic

(60 miler)

April 25 -

Cohutta 100

May 30 -

Dirty Kanza 200

August 22 -

Trans North Georgia

September 6 -

Rebecca's Private Idaho

The goal this past year was to try a variety of endurance length formats which were essentially all firsts. Roubaix is an awesome race which gave me a taste of fast, packed road racing but not really my style (and I sliced my tire 66 miles in).  My first 12 hour race at Tannehill was a lot of fun....116 miles in just under 12 hours with a second place finish.  Skyway Epic was really an unplanned add-on race and Lynda recommended I just do the 60 so I wouldn't carry too much fatigue into Cohutta.  Very fun and challenging race.  Cohutta was a great race and I'd recommend it to anyone looking to do a 100 miler.  DK200 was insane and I can't wait to do it again next year.  I didn't hit my goal but dealt with a really bad mechanical and finished the race.  TNGA was basically a perfect race to end my season and confirmed that I am in love with long format multi-day ultra-endurance sufferfests.  RPI was a beautiful fun race and mini-vacation with Wendi.

My plan stack looked something like this:

As I was framing up 2016, I reached out to Lynda to see if she had time to coach me full time and she agreed.  We talked through next year's schedule and came up with an off season plan based on a TON of work travel I have committed this fall.  The four point plan looks like this:

  • Get healthy, stay healthy - Fully recover from any minor injuries and nagging issues.  No real problems here other than that tendonitis in my lower left leg and finger numbness.
  • Maintain body weight - Basically Lynda told me to not get fat.  Training volume will be massively decreased and I'll need to decrease caloric intake accordingly.  When I travel I can be like a fat kid in a candy store eating all kinds of garbage but I have a plan for this I'll talk about in a future post.
  • Build Core Strength - I found the core work that Lynda put me on this past year to be some of the best time spent off the bike.  My goal for the off season is to put that type of work into overdrive.  10 weeks of Mark Verstegen's Core Performance program.
  • And finally.....the hardest part of Lynda's off-season plan.  Spending less time on the bike, not following a plan and getting my getting my CTL down to 75.....essentially letting fitness dwindle.

All of the training through my 2015 season added up to a TON of volume throughout the year.  If you are a user of TrainingPeaks (or other software), you may be familiar with keeping track of metrics in Performance Manager and hopefully watching your blue line (CTL) go up through your training blocks.  If you are not familiar with this metric it is essentially a measure of overall fitness (measured in training stress) on a rolling 42 day average.  Whether you know it or not, you are working hard to build this cumulative capacity and it feels like you are getting robbed when you see it dip or are told to let it go.

My plummeting fitness

My first question to Lynda was naturally "Why do we do this?  Explain to me the physiology behind this strategy".  She gave lots of reasons like adrenal fatigue and completely recovering but framed it up simply as "taking one step back to take two steps forward".  Some how this simple phrase worked for my analytical, engineering brain.  Fully recover, travel to a few continents, enjoy life, ride your bike with your wife.  In December we get back on plan for 2016.  It works.

Weird stuff

So the past month or so I have been doing that.  I've been watching that blue line fall fast and am not freaking out too much.  In a couple of long weeks traveling domestically to SoCal and Georgia I've really enjoyed getting back on some serious strength training.  Some of the exercises in the Core Performance program look pretty goofy when you are in a gym but the function of them is painfully (literally) obvious.  It is essentially a lot of traditional strength movements executed from a very unbalanced positions.

The other big mental challenge with all of this is not having an immediate goal in front of me like a race.  Everything is very far off right now.  I listened to a good podcast the other day that helped me rationalize that problem though.  A hyper-focused, goal oriented person must have a goal but it does not have to be a race.  It can just as easily be more generic like

"stay healthy, get strong"

.  This is my off-season mantra.

Till next time when we talk about how I'm taming my inner fat kid while traveling to far away places.

My life balance

Jason Shearer