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Peaks Coaching: Why Do We Use Intervals?

By Stephen McGregor, PhD, PCG Master Coach

Why We Do Intervals - Peaks Coaching Group
When I was a wee lad, I played soccer in high school. My coach at the time was a conditioning freak who used to make us run intervals. A lot. We would do Indian runs or suicides or half-mile intervals, etc. We would run as hard as we could until we thought we were going to puke. Between drills my teammates and I would curse the coach and ask ourselves, “Why are we doing these?” We never really got a satisfactory answer, so we just kept on doing what we were told.

Later I became interested in cycling, and when I learned about the training for this sport, to my horror I found that many coaches recommended intervals in cycling, as well. Again I asked myself, “Why are we doing these?”

Most coaches prescribe intervals, and many athletes perform intervals, but it’s often not clear why. In particular, the athlete may not be aware of the intended objective of the interval training and may just be “doing what I’m told.” Is the goal of performing intervals simply to make the athlete tougher and more resilient? Are they simply being done to mimic the high-intensity repeated efforts of racing, or are there specific physiological adaptations sought after by using intervals in training? Is there more to performing intervals than just being able to go “as hard as you can” for two, five, or ten minutes? Are some intervals better than others (i.e., is there a reason to perform two-minute intervals over ten-minute intervals)? Click through for the answers…

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Peaks Coaching: Fixed Gear Winter Training

By Todd Scheske, PCG Elite/Master Coach

Peaks Coaching Group Fixed Gear Winter Training

Winter training can mean very different things depending on what part of the country you’re in. Here in the northeast we have cold, snow, ice, and more cold. Those factors often make roads challenging to train on, and the cold temperatures present a number of other challenges, especially when trying to log enough base endurance miles to prepare for spring racing. There’s always the option of a stationary trainer, but trying to ride all the hours needed indoors can result in a mental meltdown by March or April.

To solve these dilemmas, or at least minimize their effects, many years ago I adopted riding a fixed gear bicycle in the winter. Not a single-speed (an important distinction); a fixed gear. There is no coasting on a fixed gear bicycle, ever. When the rear wheel is turning on a fixed gear bicycle, so are your legs. A single-speed allows you to coast just like a road bike; your gear choice is simply limited to one. The fixed gear keeps you pedaling the entire time you’re moving.

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Peaks Coaching: Stack Your Deck of Cards

By Sam Krieg, Peaks Coaching Group Elite Coach

Peaks Coaching Group Winter Training Deck of Cards

A deck of cards is built like the purest of hierarchies, with every card a master to those below it, a lackey to those above it.  – Ely Culbertson

Training in the winter for bike racing is a brutal activity that very few people can comprehend: hours spent suffering quietly so you can emerge in the spring ready to race and brawl against all your rivals and mental demons. I live in Idaho, which means I get to choose whether to go outside and brave the elements or suffer for hours on the trainer. Neither is very pleasant, but each and every one of my winter training experiences builds a foundation for the coming road season. The one thing I know for sure is that the harder and longer I train, the more indestructible I become. Click through to read why… READ MORE ->

Peaks Coaching: Four Keys to Powerful Winter Training

By Hunter Allen, PCG Founder/CEO and Master Coach

Peaks Coaching Group Winter Training
What you do this winter can really make or break your season in the coming year. Winter training is different for everyone since we live in different areas of the world; some of us spend a solid five months indoors while others can ride outside year around. There are some vital components to creating a very good winter training program no matter where you live, and of course a power meter has a lot to do with it.

Before you embark on your official winter training plan, though, you’ve got to make sure you’re well rested and recovered from the long season. Hopefully you’ve taken a couple of weeks off and given yourself at least two weeks of easy cross-training; this is essential to recharging your physical and mental batteries.

Once you’re rested, recharged, and ready to go, your winter should contain the following four important components: focused indoor training workouts, solid workouts at your sweet spot, a cross-training routine, and balanced rest periods. These four components combine to create a strong winter program that can give you one of your best winters ever. Click through for more on each point so you can use them all to the best advantage… READ MORE ->

Peaks Coaching: I Don’t Care if I’m Getting Old, I Wanna Go Faster!

By Tim Cusick, Peaks Coaching Group president and elite/master coach

Peaks Coaching Group Masters Faster

Peaks Coaching Group athlete Brad Clemmons

I’m 48 years old, and I wanna go faster! There, I said it. This happens to me every fall; it’s something about the cool night air, changing colors, and Sunday night football. I start thinking about next year and planning ways to get faster. I love it. So few sports give us the opportunity to look for ways to improve even at the “mature” age of 48 (and way beyond).

I train with power, so my performance goals for next season are in watts. Somehow I will find away to squeeze a few more watts out of these old bones. I don’t care who says I’m too old or past my prime. I know that if I can find ways to improve my training, I might make it happen. Sure, the odds are against me: things don’t work as well anymore, there are a few more aches than last year, and occasionally I wonder how much gas I have left in the tank, but I DON’T CARE! I’m going for it anyway!

So as I sit down and start thinking about my 2015 plans, I figured I’d share a few of my tips. Click through to read them! READ MORE ->

Peaks Coaching: Winter Power Training

Peaks Coaching Group Winter Training

Image Credit: ztopics.com

Yeah, I know. We don’t want to think about the W word yet. Winter’s a long time away yet! But I believe in preparation, and what you do this winter can really make or break your season in the coming year, so there’s no time to lose in planning to reach the next level. There are some vital components to creating a very good winter training program, and of course using a power meter is a big part of that. Once you are rested, recharged, and ready to go from your season, your winter should contain at least two important components: focused indoor training workouts using wattage and cadence, and solid workouts in the sweet spot zone. Click through to find out why… READ MORE ->

Friday Roundup – Bicycle Bits & Pieces

  •  Universal Sports will be covering the Vuelta a España starting this weekend.
  • Don’t miss Rebecca’s Private Idaho: August 31st Rebecca Rusch will lead two, fully supported gravel rides through the beautiful mountains of Ketchum, Idaho, with an after party that will pay you back for the hurt you just took climbing 6,500ft in nearly 100 miles. (There’s also a shorter option of 56 miles.)
  • Take the Campanoglo Grande Giro Challenge - join the Campagnolo Riders Club on Strava and challenge yourself to ride at least 1000km in 30 days – 1/3 of the distance of a Grande Giri: The Tour de France, Gira d’Italia, and Vuelta a España combined.
  • The USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championships will be held during the 2014 High Point Cycling Classic on September 4-6th. The three day festival includes an art exhibit featuring the bikes of 5 leading custom frame builders, swap meet, vintage bike show, and of course, the races…
  • Did you know Rapha will repair your kit if you have a crash? Repairs can take up to 4 weeks, but it’s nice to know you don’t have to throw away an expensive kit with tears in it.
  • CGTrader, a 3D model marketplace, is holding a 3D Printed Bicycle Accessories Challenge. Winner receives a FlyKly pedal assist smart wheel and the opportunity to sell your accessory to FlyKly customers and promotion on CGTrader. Submissions must be made by October 8th.
  • Sport Chalet is celebrating their redesigned website by offering six Adventures of a Lifetime sweepstakes. One, a 10 day cycling adventure through New Zealand.
  • Our friends and monthly contributors at Peaks Coaching Group are excited to announce new affiliate groups based in Brazil: coached by Cris Solak, and Japan: coached by Takashi Nakata; and their continued international expansion coaching two pro teams in India: Team Trek Foxfire and Team Specialized.

Peaks Coaching: Three Common Racing Mistakes and How to Fix Them

By Tim Cusick, PCG President and Elite Coach

Peaks Coaching Group Racing Mistakes Avoid
One of my favorite (and most frustrating) things about racing is how hard it is to win. There are very few sports that rank with cycling in terms of all the things that must align to capture that elusive victory. As a professional coach, I have the luxury of replaying hundreds of races through my clients’ eyes and have learned that there are a few common mistakes repeated time and time again as riders learn to race. Click through for my solutions to three of these mistakes… READ MORE ->

Peaks Coaching: Efficient Use of Recovery Time

By BJ Basham, PCG Master Coach

Efficient-Use-of-Cycling-Recovery-Time
Cycling is all about efficiency. It’s easy to find stuff we can buy for our bikes that’s supposed to make them faster, but the benefits of an efficient training schedule far outweigh any gains that a new set of wheels or carbon bars can provide.

A well-thought-out training plan involves the two main components required to improve performance: overload and recovery. Your coach can give you specific workouts, and there are several tools (such as power meters and software) to provide you with the most efficient means of getting the right amount of overload, but it is really up to you to make the most efficient use of the time provided for recovery. It’s important to remember that just because you’re not on the bike or in the gym doesn’t mean you’re getting the rest you need to recover from the overload of your last training session.

So what can you do to make the most efficient use of the recovery time built into your training plan? Click through for some ideas… READ MORE ->