Coaching

All of these articles are related to Coaching
  • Will Big-Gear Climbing Kill My Knees?

    A friend tells me that I can improve my climbing power by riding a steep half-mile-long hill in the big ring at a slow cadence. Wouldn't that ruin my knees?

  • Aches and Pains II: Upper Back, Shoulder, Neck Pain / Discomfort

    In 1986 Pete Penseyres set the solo transcontinental speed record of 3,107 miles (5,000 km) in 8 days, 9 hours and 47 minutes, which included all time on and off the bike! He averaged 15.40 mph (24.8 km/h). That record stood for 27 years. Perhaps even more amazing than the record itself, Pete told me he was able to set the record because nothing hurt! (That's unheard of!) Last week I wrote about saddle pain / discomfort, which is the most common problem affecting RBR readers. This week’s column covers the second most common complaint – shoulder and neck pain / discomfort.

  • Aches and Pains II: Upper Back, Shoulder, Neck Pain / Discomfort

    By Coach John Hughes  In 1986 Pete Penseyres set the solo transcontinental speed record of 3,107 miles (5,000 km) in 8 days, 9 hours and 47 minutes! He averaged 15.40 mph (24.8 km/h). That record stood for 27 years. Perhaps even more amazing than the record itself, Pete told me he was able to set the record because nothing hurt! (That's unheard of!) Last week I wrote about saddle pain / discomfort, which is the most common problem affecting RBR readers. This week’s column covers the second most common complaint – shoulder and neck pain / discomfort.

  • Aero Perfection: How to Find Your Lowest, Fastest Position

    Your power is good but you're worried if your aero position is as sleek as it could be.   How can you achieve the most aerodynamic position so you slice through the air, thus going faster for the power you're producing?  Our RBR experts weigh to help  you find your lowest, fastest position.

  • Am I Doomed By My Age and Work Schedule?

    By Coach Fred Matheny  I need your advice on my training schedule. I work 4 consecutive days of 13 hours each, then have 4 days off when I have unlimited time to ride. I usually do 2-4 hours, but especially on the first day I feel sluggish. I just turned 50, and my fitness and endurance seem to be on the decline. How can I turn things around, given my weird work schedule?

  • Can I Keep Cycling Fitness During a Business Trip?

    I'll be in China on business for the next three weeks, with only a stationary bike in the hotel's fitness room. The best I can hope for is 45 minutes a day of boring pedaling. Prior to this trip, I've been averaging 150 miles a week with interval work and climbing. Any suggestions for maintaining form?

  • Can I Survive 200 Miles on Minimal Training?

    I want to ride a double century in four weeks. I did a 6-hour century three months ago. Since then I have ridden 200 miles per month with some interval training, and run 15-20 miles per week. Can I complete the double?

  • Can I Train Effectively Despite My Age and Work Schedule?

    I need your advice on my training schedule. I work 4 consecutive days of 13 hours each, then have 4 days off when I have unlimited time to ride. I usually do 2-4 hours, but especially on the first day I feel sluggish. I just turned 50, and my fitness and endurance seem to be on the decline. How can I turn things around, given my weird work schedule?

  • Can I Train for a Time Trial in One Week?

    I've been unable to follow my regular training schedule because of work. In fact, I've done nothing but easy rides for two months. A friend talked me into racing a time trial next week. How can I get ready?

  • Can I Train Twice a Day Effectively?

    I'm reading your Basic Training for Roadies with great interest because I have the time constraints that you address. Unfortunately, home and work often limit my training to just 30-45 minutes per ride. My high school coaches loved two-a-day workouts. Can I get fit if I ride twice each day but only 30 minutes at a time?

  • Can I Train Well Even With a Job and Family?

    Although I've been riding competitively for years, I have trouble balancing my training with my wife's schedule (she also rides), the demands of our 4-year-old son, and my job. My typical training week includes one long weekend ride, a recovery ride and two short tempo or interval sessions. That's all I can manage. And our son brings home colds, which are impossible to avoid. Can I improve under these constraints? I want riding to be fun, not like a job.

  • Can You Simplify Heart Rate Training?

    I've been trying to calculate my heart rate for different training zones. I'm confused. Some authorities say to base the percentages on max heart rate while others say lactate threshold should be used. One book says to figure max heart rate using the "220 minus your age" formula, while another says I should get a lab test. Can you simplify this mess?

  • Climbing Tips for the Road

  • Coach, I Need an Altitude Adjustment!

    Do you have any recommendations for racing at altitude? I've bonked badly in events at elevations of 5,000 to 8,000 feet. Guys I beat in the valley are killing me. Basically, I just can't breathe.  My coach says it's all in my head. My doctor prescribed Diamox and some type of steroid, but I bonked even worse. Before the last race, I even took a week off work and stayed at race elevation for seven days, but it didn't help. And I've done the opposite, not going up until late the night before the race. I even tried oxygen-enhanced water!

  • Cross-Train for Fun and Fitness this Winter

    I prefer to cross-train through the winter, still riding occasionally but not exclusively. I turn my sights to something else I enjoy. If riding this winter is for any reason more of a chore than a pleasure (nasty conditions, desire for more family time, need for a mental or physical break, HATE the trainer), then try one or more of these activities: mountain biking, walking, dancing, running, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, etc. You might find that the biggest benefits are the added family time and the fresh excitement for riding in the spring.

  • Cross-Train for Fun and Fitness this Winter

    XC ski season started for me several weeks ago. I prefer to cross-train through the winter, still riding occasionally but not exclusively, and I really enjoy XC skiing. No matter which of the numerous non-cycling activities you like to do to round out your off-season workout regimen, cross-training in the winter delivers myriad benefits to your cycling and overall health. Even if you live in a climate that allows you to ride year-round, taking a break from full-time riding and working some other activities into your routine is still a good idea. Here's why:

  • Cycling Sports Medicine Tips from an Expert

    Andy Pruitt’s name has become synonymous with sports medicine for cycling. As director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, Pruitt has made a career out of treating world-class riders. He has served as chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team and is an elite athlete in his own right, too. He lost his lower leg in a hunting accident at age 14 but still wrestled and participated in track, eventually winning 12 high school varsity letters. When he took up cycling he earned a category 2 ranking in able-bodied racing and was twice a world champion in disabled cycling. We've got a sampling of Pruitt's cycling wisdom.

  • Did Endurance Camp Include Intensity, Too?

    I wondered if all rides at your high-mileage training camp were the same intensity, or were they like they've been described in Coach Fred Matheny's eBooks? Were you riding often in "no-man's land?" Did you use a heart monitor?

  • Do Training Rides Need to Be as Long as Events?

    I'm 48 and in the past rode 12-15 hours per week but was usually overtrained. This season I'm trying to recover better by doing 10-hour weeks including weekend rides of about 100 miles and building up only for major events.  I'm planning to ride one of Australia's toughest "classics" in September, Grafton-Inverell. It's 140 miles, starting at sea level and ascending to about 4,000 feet, with an 11-mile climb of 7 percent. It'll take me about 8 hours. Do you think I need to do training rides of the same distance? Is an 8-week build-and-peak phase adequate?

  • Do Training Rides Need to Be as Long as Events?

    By Coach Fred Matheny  I'm 48 and in the past rode 12-15 hours per week but was usually overtrained. This season I'm trying to recover better by doing 10-hour weeks including weekend rides of about 100 miles and building up only for major events.  I'm planning to ride one of Australia's toughest "classics" in September, Grafton-Inverell. It's 140 miles, starting at sea level and ascending to about 4,000 feet, with an 11-mile climb of 7 percent. It'll take me about 8 hours. Do you think I need to do training rides of the same distance? Is an 8-week build-and-peak phase adequate?

  • Do You Have an Endurance Ride Planned this Summer?

    Just seven weeks ago RBR Premium Member Michael Povman asked us for advice on how to train for a 300K (187 miles). His longest ride to date had been an 80-miler. Coach John Hughes provided him with detailed recommendations in an Ask the Coach column: How Should I Best Train for a 300K? On Sunday, Michael wrote Coach Hughes to let him know that he successfully completed his 300K:

  • Does Fatigue Depress Heart Rate?

    I race in the 45+ masters division and use daily bike commutes for training. After a day or two off the bike, I can stay above my lactate threshold heart rate for long intervals. However, after commuting 30 miles per day for a few days, it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve a high heart rate. Is this normal? Or is it old age? 

  • Does High-Altitude Simulation Work?

    My gym has a "hypoxic" enclosure outfitted with a stationary bike and treadmill. Would training in the simulated high altitude two or three days a week improve my fitness? 

  • Does Stationary Recumbent Riding Help Road Bike Riding?

    The gym in my office building has a stationary recumbent. Does using it provide the same benefits as riding outside on my road bike?

  • Eating While Riding: Is Sugar a Bad Thing?

    By Coach John Hughes  Spring is beautiful in Colorado! The hills are green from the early spring snowfalls and the lakes are full from runoff from the mountain snowpack. Last week I rode up to Carter Lake and back, a 3:30 jaunt that included exploring a dirt road variation. At the lake I kicked back at the marina, drank a Coke (not diet), ate a half-dozen fig bars and soaked in the sun and the beauty. On the way I’d eaten a banana, apple slices, a granola bar and drank a bottle of tea sweetened with white sugar, and a bottle of water. Over the course of the 3:30 ride I ate almost all carbs, much of it in sugary foods and drink.

  • Eating While Riding: Is Sugar Bad?

    Spring is beautiful in Colorado! The hills are green from the early spring snowfalls and the lakes are full from runoff from the mountain snowpack. Last week I rode up to Carter Lake and back, a 3:30 jaunt that included exploring a dirt road variation. At the lake I kicked back at the marina, drank a Coke (not diet), ate a half-dozen fig bars and soaked in the sun and the beauty. On the way I’d eaten a banana, apple slices, a granola bar and drank a bottle of tea sweetened with white sugar, and a bottle of water. Over the course of the 3:30 ride I ate almost all carbs, much of it in sugary foods and drink. 

  • Follow-up on Intensity and Spring Training

    Several readers wrote in with questions about spring training. Before answering the questions, a bit of context. The Spring Training eArtice includes four programs based on how active a rider has been over the winter, and the rider’s goals. Each program is divided into two 5-week blocks so that a rider can pick the best program for you and either do 5 or 10 weeks of training. Now, on to the reader questions.

  • Follow-Up on Intensity and Spring Training

    By Coach John Hughes  Several readers wrote in with questions about spring training. Before answering the questions, a bit of context. The Spring Training eArtice includes four programs based on how active a rider has been over the winter, and the rider’s goals. Each program is divided into two 5-week blocks so that a rider can pick the best program for you and either do 5 or 10 weeks of training. Now, on to the reader questions.

  • Giving Back to Cycling

    If you are a reader of RBR then it’s safe to assume that you spend some serious time in the saddle. But have you ever thought about using some of that time to give back? There are a number of ways to do this – whether sharing your talent/knowledge or raising money for a good cause. Over the years I’ve used my skills and my bike in a number of charitable ways and am writing this article in hopes of encouraging others. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.

  • Giving Back to Cycling

    By Sheri Rosenbaum  If you are a reader of RBR then it’s safe to assume that you spend some serious time in the saddle. But have you ever thought about using some of that time to give back? There are a number of ways to do this – whether sharing your talent/knowledge or raising money for a good cause. Over the years I’ve used my skills and my bike in a number of charitable ways and am writing this article in hopes of encouraging others. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.

  • Happy (Cycling) Wife, Happy (Cycling) Life

    By Sheri Rosenbaum  I think we've all heard the old saying, Happy wife, happy life. It goes both ways, of course, and you don't have to be married to want to do what you can to please your significant other. If your spouse or partner doesn’t share your passion for cycling, it can cause some friction from time to time. But I’m sure there are many of you who wish your spouse or partner would share your love of cycling, for a variety of reasons – from mitigating that occasional "friction" to enhancing your relationship to paving the way for doing tours and cycling vacations together, and more.

  • Helping New Road Cyclists Get Started

    If you've been in this sport for long, you've probably seen it happen. An enthusiastic person shows up for his (or her) first ride with the local club. He's a bit intimidated by the lingo he overhears, but that's nothing compared to his anxiety about what to do and how to do it once the ride gets underway. Before long he's trailing behind, spooked by the interplay of bike wheels and feeling as wanted as an IRS agent in a Super Bowl pool.

  • High Cadences, Used Appropriately, Can Save Your Legs

    I think I was recently reading that the best cyclists have a cadence of 110 rpm. This seems very fast (at least for me). I am probably in the 70-90 range. Do most riders do better at higher rpm? Is there benefit to sometimes powering up hills at lower rpm? I asked a question earlier in the year about maintaining cycling shape while doing bouts of backpacking. The advice I received was very good. The first ride after getting back is slow and heavy but after that it comes back quickly. Thanks.

  • High Cadences, Used Appropriately, Can Save Your Legs

    By Coach Fred Matheny  I think I was recently reading that the best cyclists have a cadence of 110 rpm. This seems very fast (at least for me). I am probably in the 70-90 range. Do most riders do better at higher rpm? Is there benefit to sometimes powering up hills at lower rpm? I asked a question earlier in the year about maintaining cycling shape while doing bouts of backpacking. The advice I received was very good. The first ride after getting back is slow and heavy but after that it comes back quickly. Thanks.

  • How Can a Fast Rider Develop Endurance?

    I'm a reasonably accomplished velodrome racer but I want to switch to criteriums and road racing. I train on Wednesdays with Pete Penseyres' group in San Diego.  I suffer on the climbs but have improved. Would I be better off avoiding hills in midweek training sessions and doing flat, fast speedwork instead? My teammates say I should forget the hills because of my genetics. 

  • How Can a Small Guy Ride So Strongly?

    I began riding last year and recently met my first professional cyclist in person. He's a good climber on a small U.S. pro team. I'm astonished at how small he is! He looks skinny, emaciated and weak. But I know he can ride circles around me even though I'm an athletic 6-footer and 190 pounds. How can such an unimposing person put out so much power? I want to climb like him!

  • How Can Get Better at Riding Hills?

    The most common question I'm asked as a coach is "How can I get better at riding hills?" The answer isn't really a simple one, but I can distill it into three parts: 1) Change Your Gearing; 2) Change Your Weight; 3) Change Your Training.

  • How Can I Find Training Time and Energy?

    I'm a mail carrier who walks six miles every day. Also, I'm taking two night classes. I want to start road racing this year, but I come home exhausted and barely have time to study, let alone ride. What do you suggest?

  • How Can I Get Better at Riding Hills?

    By Coach Rick Schultz  The most common question I'm asked as a coach is "How can I get better at riding hills?" The answer isn't really a simple one, but I can distill it into three parts: 1) Change Your Gearing; 2) Change Your Weight; 3) Change Your Training.

  • How Can I Get Fit Fast for an Upcoming Event?

    By Coach Fred Matheny  I confess – I didn't ride very much during the winter. But I want to get in shape for a metric century on the Memorial Day weekend. Is there any hope? Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Don't panic, Calvin. You and everyone who had a less-than-productive off-season can gain sufficient fitness for a big spring event. If you want to do a 62-mile (100-km) ride then, let's assume that you have 9-10 weeks to prepare. That's enough time if you start now. Here's how.

  • How Can I Get Used to Clipless Pedals?

    You'll really like clipless pedals once you learn the "twist out" style of release. It will become a reflex.  We've got some tips to help you shorten the learning curve.

  • How Can I Go Faster at the End of a Ride?

    I got my first road bike three years ago and fell in with a group of racers at work. We've been doing fast 30-mile lunchtime rides with a good deal of climbing. I'm improving quickly, but I still get dropped near the finish. My friends say, "The only way to ride at 30 mph is to ride at 30 mph." How do I get to the next level? 

  • How Can I Improve My Breathing?

    When I'm riding hard and breathing heavily, I notice that occasionally I can open my lungs more than normal and take in more air. On those breaths I feel great. For the next 5-10 seconds my breathing slows and isn't as labored. If I could duplicate that feeling on every breath, my cycling performance would take a giant leap forward. How do I work on this skill? 

  • How Can I Improve Seated Power?

    As my mileage increased this spring, I noticed I felt stronger when out of the saddle but was not improving while seated. Are there specific things I should work on to improve power in the saddle? 

  • How Can I Improve Speed on Long Rides?

    I just finished a 600K (373-mile) brevet with 15,000 feet (4,500m) of climbing. Next, I'm signed up for several double centuries. How can I improve my average speed in these long rides? I hate structured training plans, and don't lecture me about nutrition!

  • How Can I Maintain My Speed Up Hills?

    I'm 70 and take a spinning class two days a week and train on the road two other days. Then I ride with a group of 40-somethings on Sundays. On climbs, I can stay with the group nearly to the top before I reach my max heart rate and have to back off. I've tried slowing my cadence and standing as well as increasing cadence and sitting, but I reach my max at about the same place on the hill. Is there specific training that could help me hang with these youngsters?

  • How Can I Overcome My Fears of Riding?

    I have been reading your Newsletter for a while. I am a novice at biking and want to get better but am having a hard time. My problem is that I learned to ride a bike as an adult and somehow I struggle getting comfortable on the bike. I forced myself to ride on roads (prefer trails), I have done a couple of short triathlons and I have taken a couple of biking trips in Europe (one trail and one road). This year I have another trip planned but I find myself still a nervous wreck even though I find biking fun. 

  • How Can I Overcome My Fears of Riding?

    By Coach John Hughes  I have been reading your Newsletter for a while. I am a novice at biking and want to get better but am having a hard time. My problem is that I learned to ride a bike as an adult and somehow I struggle getting comfortable on the bike. I forced myself to ride on roads (prefer trails), I have done a couple of short triathlons and I have taken a couple of biking trips in Europe (one trail and one road). This year I have another trip planned but I find myself still a nervous wreck even though I find biking fun.

  • How Can I Remedy a Weak Leg?

    By Coach Fred Matheny  While riding, I sometimes feel my left leg drop off significantly in its contribution to powering the bike. Is there a training technique for dealing with this?

  • How Can I Train Despite Limited Time?

    I'm a doctor, often working 12-hour days and on call some weekends. I rode some centuries last season but was undertrained. How can I get the most benefit out of training a maximum of 10 hours per week? 

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