Blog

Fuelling on the bike

People often ask me how much they should eat on the bike when on a long ride. When I tell them they usually then say – ‘HOW MUCH!!?? I can’t possibly eat or drink that.’

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So here is a guide to fuelling on the bike – all I can provide is some basic guidelines and then you have to work it out for yourself through trial and error. Nutrition is complex and very individual; what works for one person will make someone else feel ill.

RADSPORT - Oesterreich Radrundfahrt 2012

Practice is crucial. Your body needs to practice being able to absorb nutrition and it needs to work out what it likes and doesn’t like.  It is not fun discovering what it doesn’t like on the day of an event.  So long training rides are about practicing nutrition as well as developing your aerobic base. If you constantly get it wrong in training you reduce your body’s ability to recover, compromise your immune system, potentially lose too much weight, lose power production, feel cold, lose your mojo, get sick. In an event you may vomit or just bonk – that means run out of energy and feel like the guy in the photo – not the feeling you have trained for months to attain.

Back to the question of HOW MUCH?  Ingest between 40g and 90g of carbohydrate an Continue reading “Fuelling on the bike”

OK? Not OK? The margins are small

Anxiety and uncertainty – there is a lot of both around at the moment. All the way through COVID 19 everyone has been juggling uncertainty in their own ways and most people would admit to having days when things are less than OK. Our household felt a bit like standing on a plateau of molten lava, atop a volcano. lavaWe both lost our three streams of income at once, with no guarantee that they were going to return.  We went from a household of two to a household of six. Two adult children arrived home jobless, one bringing a jobless partner, and the third came back to sit online university exams with no guarantee of his third year going ahead.  Uncertainly was rife.  My husband then returned to hospital with an attack of Atrial fibrillation, a heart condition. Nothing to do with stress!? Things have since calmed down a bit, and we are one of the lucky families so far.  No bereavements and financially we are secure compared to so many.  I felt so guilty at not being able to ‘pull weight’ as I saw it. Being asthmatic I was nervous of volunteering to help, which is one of my drivers in life.

But help is given and received in many ways and mental wellbeing is not a static state, it is a shifting picture. Which is why I love the picture below.  Continue reading “OK? Not OK? The margins are small”

Cycling Technique hints

Pedalling 

Aim for a cadence of between 80 and 100. Therefore if you are cycling inside I suggest aiming for 90. Just in case you have forgotten, cadence is the number of times you turn your pedals over in a minute. Cadence will fall when riding outside due to variations in the terrain, so practice higher cadence inside to accommodate this.  Practice cadence and variations in cadence. Pedal at a high cadence (100 – 120) in an easy gear to refine technique and train your neuro-muscular system to be more adaptable.  This makes holding a cadence of near 90 for general riding easier.

Think about more efficient pedalling. This is how you propel the bike and you do an awful lot of it, so the better it is the better your cycling. A two hour ride involves turning your pedals over 10,800 times if your cadence is 90. Think about pushing across the top of the stroke to improve the force in the drive downwards. These two are the most important parts of the pedal rotation. In order to put the power on early you need to have flexible joints so don’t forget that yoga and mobility work. Also don’t forget a decent bike fit.

forces

Position

Elements of style – toes pointing more or less ahead, knees pointing forwards, sit bones on your seat, bending forwards from hips, not middle of your back. Engage your core to hold a good position, this also takings strain off your back. Shoulder blades are down and shoulders relaxed, elbows slightly bent to act as shock absorbers and hands covering the brakes but relaxed. Look forwards to where you are going. Continue reading “Cycling Technique hints”

Covid Reframing

‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’

Mike Tyson

We have all just been metaphorically punched in the mouth big time and our athletic plans and life plans have been torn up overnight.

Time for a re-write. No one is saying this is easy.

For some it helps to make sense of things by using models. This article looks at what has happened in some different ways.

The Kubler-Ross grief curve was originally formulated by Elizabeth Kubler in 1969 and described the five stages of grief people typically pass through when mourning a death. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. This has since been applied to our reactions to change and is commonly adopted as a ‘change model’.

kubler_ross_change_curve-optimised

Continue reading “Covid Reframing”

Strengthening the immune system against the Corona virus.

‘Ring a ring a roses,

A pocket full of poseys,

Atishoo, atishoo

We all fall down’

This rhyme originated at the time of the Black Death in the 1300s. The Black Death was a global epidemic of bubonic pneumonia with symptoms of sneezing. Flowers are now out as protection. Hand sanitizer and loo roll are in apparently, along with the odd dose of black humour, to protect against the coronavirus.

 

But what else can we do?

We can continue the normal measures for our everyday persona such as hand washing and social isolation. We have all read more than enough about that I’m sure.  So this article considers what we can do within our athletic personas to maintain good health.

All advice indicates it would be wise to proceed with caution. Training sessions can suppress our immune system which makes us more vulnerable to illness. This is most likely to happen when ‘sessions are prolonged, of moderate to high intensity and performed without food intake.’ (Gleeson M) Interestingly ‘long’ is being talked of as anything over two hours so take particular care around your longer bike rides as the weather gets better. If we get ill in the current situation most of us should recover relatively quickly but we could easily pass the coronavirus on to someone else, who may become seriously ill.

It is a game of minimizing risk.

Things that can minimize our risks- Continue reading “Strengthening the immune system against the Corona virus.”

Coaching using Micro-energy Management

Written by Kath Finn and Jane Senior, who speak from bitter experience. They have both spent many months ill and have finally and successfully taken the slow road to recovery. They would like to support others to make this journey a little faster than they did. They are Triathlon coaches and coaches with the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and Association of Coaching.

 Coaching for recovery from illness … and getting back to training

Simple, we just get better and return to normal training, right?  Not quite, it pays to build up slowly.  Training before you are fully well can lead to long term problems of various kinds. It has been linked to a higher possibility of developing chronic fatigue syndrome and increased ongoing respiratory difficulties.  Training with a virus can also cause tachycardia – a speeded up resting heart rate.  So patience is a virtue. One many of us haven’t got.

On occasion we don’t respond as we expect during a gradual recovery, then a new a new softly, softly approach is required. People who don’t recover as expected often experience a huge amount of frustration and are likely to try the yo-yo approach of too much training followed by periods of illness for a while.  They unable to believe that the paltry amount of exercise they are doing is too much. Eventually some re-framing has to come into play.

Recovery through micro energy management

When we are struggling to recover from something we are already in a personal energy crisis and we need to take charge to move ourselves out of this crisis. We have to re-frame the way we think about our energy use.

Our energy comes in different forms – physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. All strands of energy need to run at a reasonably high level over time for us to function and train effectively. People’s energy is finite and sometimes, like a car, we dip near the bottom of our reserve energy tank. Like a car, we tend not to function perfectly until this energy tank is topped up again.  When our energy reserve tank is very low it is likely that all types of energy are low, possibly due to illness or life stresses, and all types need to be rebuilt. Lets consider the different types and some ideas for measuring them.

Physical 

Physical energy forms the platform that our other energies are based on and this is the one that we are often most familiar with.  The ‘more is better’, ‘no pain, no gain’ approach to training is currently unfortunately popular. However this is not sustainable, we are designed to need a recovery phase to ensure that we have the energy required to push again, both in training and in life.   Recovery is not a luxury, it is essential to improve and sustain our performance. This is true when both training and recovering from illness.  People find their own way of scoring things but a 9/10 here is ready to go out and race or ride your favourite long route, feeling on top of the world, fit and strong.  A score of one might be able to walk slowly up the stairs but not much more. 0 and you are in bed….all day.

Continue reading “Coaching using Micro-energy Management”

Scotland?…or maybe not

I could almost be in Scotland. The views are big, the roads are empty, the gradients constantly unrelenting.  I can hear the odd song bird, see the odd animal. The early morning air is sharp and I struggle to understand people. But I am most definitely NOT in Scotland.

WP_20171025_013The early morning nip gives way to a hot 26 degrees at the end of October, the animals are lizards scuttling for cover and crickets landing on my mitts. Beautiful autumn colours in the leaves are reflected back in the colours of the house walls and every village has a church or a castle dominating its skyline with a plethora of little streets and hidden bars beneath.

My wheel bounces off fallen almond nuts and I catch glimpses of red and orange as ripe pomegranates and oranges peep from under laden boughs. The olive trees are speckled green and brown and black as this year’s crop bends the branches and splashes of yellow announce the presence of some lemons.

We climb out of this richness and wend our way across barren scrub land plateau before climbing once again. Our reward is a wide angle view of the sea and the coastal plain and we then plummet towards some larger settlements where we find good coffee and sandwiches in a shaded town centre square. Continue reading “Scotland?…or maybe not”

Heart Rate Zones Explained

 Heart Rate Zones for Mapdec Cycle Studio 

Within three minutes of a question on heart rate being asked on the Mapdec weekly check in we had neatly demonstrated the complexities of the subject. We had 3, 5 and 6 zone models, all developed by different people such as Friel and Steiler, and all in use. Not to mention those models which have 4a, 4b or 5a, b and c….I could go on. So we have taken a bit of a mish mash and come up with a working  Heart Rate Zone model.  This model uses the Sufferfest model used at Mapdec with one or two tweaks – no 4a and b zones, that’s just splitting hairs and I know no garmin which uploads 4a and b religiously onto Strava.

The takeaways are –

Continue reading “Heart Rate Zones Explained”

Training Stress Score explained. TSS

So far we have just been using Training Peaks as a diary of sessions. This is absolutely fine and this programme was set up to support people to exercise and stay healthy. However now we are starting to get a lot of questions around training to be fitter instead of purely exercising. The difference is outlined nicely in an article on the Mapdec App. If you are interested in the training aspect then please read on.  If not – STOP RIGHT NOW…. and continue to enjoy lots of varied exercise.

Continue reading “Training Stress Score explained. TSS”

Base training explained…

Why are we doing what we’re doing at Mapdec?

We are to some degree following The Training Cycle…..several of you have mentioned that you haven’t ever trained ‘properly’ and would like to know more about the process. So here I have tried to construct a thumbnail sketch.

You don’t have to consider yourself ‘an athlete’ to benefit from this process, many of us don’t hold that as a self image. You also don’t have to be heading to a main event such as the woman’s Kendal Cycle Club trip or the Kendal Cycle Club Mallorca trip to benefit from using the training cycle. You may just wish to arrive at the British summer feeling ready to enjoy your cycling, gardening and walking.

So, in outline, the training cycle lasts all year. It normally looks very roughly as described below. It should be noted that this year, due to the current situation, the Beginner’s Group is currently working in the Base phase. (May 2020) In a normal year people may well be in ‘Build’ by now and we may progress there, depending how long Covid 19 lasts. Continue reading “Base training explained…”