Part of the fun in being a sport scientist is the opportunity to dig into the minutiae of scientific training. Much like the joy most people have thinking through every bike component or upgrade purchase to squeeze in the slightest advantage over opponents, scientific training has a lot of details to decipher through to get the most out of your body and your gear.
However, you can also overthink yourself, and sometimes it's best to just go with the basics and trust your judgment.
Here's four tips to keep the science in your training simple.
Don't Overthink Your Training
Being an exercise scientist and having written a book titled "Cutting-Edge Cycling," I'm obviously an advocate of smart and focused training and using the latest scientific tools. But it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I'm an advocate of science, as long as it has a stopping point.
Much as scientists may hate to admit it, training is as much art as it is science. What works for one cyclist may be the absolute antithesis of what another cyclists needs or wants. Every cyclist brings a unique set of physiology and capacity to respond to training load, not to mention mental makeup. There are just so many variables that it's impossible to prescribe a standard template of training that will work for everyone.
With that being said, there are tried and true principles that we can all follow and mold to fit our own personal agenda's. If you look at almost any cycling discipline, there are really three fundamental requirements for success in my opinion, which I've listed below.
- Aerobic fitness
- Event specific fitness
- Event specific technical ability
Plan your training around those three principles, and you can't steer too far off course. For myself, my big goal in 2012 was coming back to Ontario and upgrading from Masters 3 to Masters 2 in cyclocross, a goal that has eluded me the three prior seasons. Keeping my personal goal in mind helped to develop a better plan as it relates to those three stages of my training.