A 4-week training schedule … 🤔

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I am on a 4 week training schedule. I begin the month with a week with more rest, and less intensity. As the weeks progress, I gradually increase the duration, and intensity of the workouts, building on the previous month’s efforts.

I have just completed week 4. This week will see more rest, and less intensity. I will still cycle, but will reduce the mileage, ride 4 days instead of 5 or 6. And, I’ll still visit the gym, but do fewer reps. This is a recovery week.  A week enabling the body to fully recover from the stresses of the past four weeks.

This is also a time to reflect on the past 4 week cycle. I track a lot of numbers. Too many numbers some think. I track my weekly sleep patterns, RHRs, average speed, and time spent in each heart rate training zone. I do this to see if my fitness is improving, or not. This way I can adjust my workout schedule accordingly.

This is what I discovered.

  1. I lost 6 pounds. One of my objectives was to get to my optimum weight by the end of July which means I need to lose 4 more pounds.
  2. My average resting heart rate (RHR) went down by 6 beats, from 47 to 41. I use my RHR to monitor recovery. I know when it is lower, I am fully recovered. And, when it is higher, I need to schedule a rest day, or lower the intensity of workouts. Last week, my RHR was a low as 34 beats / minute, the lowest I have ever recorded.
  3. Despite the unusually wet weather, I averaged 200 km / week on the bike. When it rains, I normally do not ride. And, these 800 km are training km, not recreational rides.
  4. I spent 72% of ride time in Heart Rate Training Zone 1, and 15% in the higher, more intense zones. The goal with Polarized training is to spend 80% in Zone 1, and 20% in higher zones.
  5. I averaged over 5 hours of “deep” sleep every night. This is the sleep needed to fully recover.
  6. My average cycling speed was 24 kph. Given the high winds throughout the month, this is relatively fast. Every ride I battled a westerly headwind that would reduce my speed to 15-20 kph. Otherwise, I recorded 25-35 kph speeds, sometimes higher.
  7. My average cadence was 86 rpm. I spent most of the 800 km on the small chainring, trying to maintain a cadence of 90-100. Apart from the headwinds and a few climbs, I was able to do that.
  8. And, I learned that high repetition body weight exercises has strengthened my legs and core. I wasn’t sure. I am accustomed to lifting weights in the gym. High rep squats, lunges, hamstring curls using an exercise ball, windshield wipers, sit-ups, and leg lifts have strengthened my legs and core.

So, what is next? More of the same. More distance. Higher intensity. And, more reps.

I have a century ride schedule in 3 weeks. I plan a 75-80 km this weekend to get used to the distance. And, the week before the century, I’ll taper by reducing the volume, but keeping the intensity high.

And, I’ll maintain the same low fat, vegetarian diet of cereal with unsweetened almond milk, stir fry vegetables, vegetable and tofu wraps, vegetable frittatas, veggie burgers, homemade energy gels made with dates, raisins, lemon and lime juice, and peanut butter, and homemade post-ride smoothies made with berries, banana, peanut butter, and almond milk.

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“On the road again … “ ☺️

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We are on the roads again.

Lou and I have been cycling the quiet, rural roads that surround the cottage. There are no stop lights, the occasional stop sign, and very little traffic. A few cars. The cottagers. A few pick up trucks. The locals. And, the occasional tractor heading to the next field.

These roads are different than cycling in the city. I use the bikeways and bike paths at home. The traffic on them is more relaxed but there are still a lot of cars, commercial trucks, and pedestrians to circumvent all times of the day. And, there is a lot of stopping, and starting.

Cycling here is safer, faster, and more enjoyable. Today, Lou and I did a 40 km loop, west to the big lake and back. I do this ride frequently. Sometimes clockwise. Other times anti-clockwise. It depends on the wind. There is always wind here. No big hills. But wind. A lot of wind. I usually head into the wind on the way out so that I have its help on the leg home. Sometimes, I never figure it out. Sometimes it feels as if it is hurting no matter what direction I’m heading. Those rides are the most taxing. Two hours of fighting a 15-20 kph headwind is exhausting, and at the same time, exhilarating.

I am here at the cottage for 6 weeks on my own. I love it. I think of my visits here as training camps. A time to build my base, lose some weight, get stronger, and faster. My solo time here is focused on cycling. I do a lot of other things. Clean. Shop. Renovate. Repair. Swim. Fish. But my days are centred around my bike rides. I train in the mornings, and if I have energy left, I’ll take on the household chores. I keep the place spotless. It’s easy. It’s just me to clean up after. I cook. A lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. Salads. Wraps. Sandwiches. Pasta. Frittatas. Veggie burgers. No sweets. No alcohol. By the end of my visits here, I’m an expert in the kitchen, more confident on the bike, and lighter.

I am usually here in the summer and fall months. This is the first time I can remember being here during the spring. It’s fascinating watching the place awaken. Leaves beginning to form on the tree branches. Geese teaching their infants to swim. And, the weather is different. Colder and wetter. On the wet days, I weight train, or take a rest day. On the cold days, the fire is on.

This is a different experience. Spring also means more pot holes. The winter months plays havoc with these rural roads. I cycle with my head down just in case. Because there is so little traffic, the pot holes are easy to avoid. Thank goodness.

Warmer, drier weather is on the way within the week. Then, I will cycle more, and take on the outdoor projects. A canoe than needs repair and fresh paint. A floating dock that needs to be repositioned. Unusually high water has moved it away from the connecting dock by several feet. An out building that needs a coat of stain. Eaves that need to be cleaned. There is no end to them.

These projects take longer than normal to complete. There isn’t much time left following our rides. 😉