We also talk seriously about the fact that forcing yourself to do more when you feel tired is not a good idea. Riders are encouraged to shoot for the low-end of training time when they aren't feeling as peppy. If they are really tired, I encourage them to cut the session even more or skip it altogether.
You can see the first six weeks of Ray's training plan here. You can find the training intensity zones described in the note section at the bottom of the chart. Unless otherwise specified, a ride in Zone 1 or Zones 1 to 2 is an aerobic ride on a flat to rolling course. Details for the workout code "P2" is listed at the bottom of the chart.
Notice that the first two weeks of training are aerobic sessions and recall they are to be done on an indoor trainer. Ray's first week of training totaled about 2 hours and 45 minutes, a long way from his pre-training volume. At the end of the third week of training, some intensity is added but it is restricted to an accumulated 10 minutes of Zone 3 time, within a 45-minute workout.
The pink-highlighted workouts are workouts that were considered stressful to the athlete at that point in time. A highlighted workout is intended to push the athlete to a new level of fitness with volume or intensity. At the end of week 1, for Ray, an aerobic ride for an hour was a stressful workout. Notice that in just a few weeks, this same workout is no longer color-coded as stressful.
Because everything went well during the first three-week training block, volume and the intensity increased in the next three-week block. In weeks 4 through 6, the short, high-power intervals I told you about in another column were added on Thursday. Less structured, accelerations were added on Saturday and long ride time went to two hours.
In addition to the aerobic training, Ray was going through physical therapy for his arm once per week during weeks 1 through 6 of the training plan. His physical therapist was aware of his race goal, and she pushed him. The therapy was very, very painful.
I mentioned that the first goal race was a two-day stage race. Each day of racing would amount to some two-and-a-half to three hours of riding on hilly courses. With only 13 weeks between day one of the training and the stage race, would there be enough time for Ray to adequately prepare, or would he have to scrap the race season altogether?
To find out the rest of the training plan unfolds and if Ray was able to race or not, be sure to read Part II.