Return to Racing: A Post-Crash Training Plan—Part II

Though we didn't do anything to specifically address the frustration, Ray says it didn't bother him too much. He did feel some anger, but he says the majority of the anger was directed at the loss of high fitness. It wasn't long before that anger was redirected into positive energy, the motivation it took to achieve his goals of riding at a high level again.

If you crash and you're feeling shaky about riding in a pack again, know that feeling uneasy is normal. You can do things to help speed up the process. That written, don't be so hard on yourself and take the necessary time to regain your confidence.

The Second Block of Training

You can find the training plan for weeks 7 through 13 here. Ray had responded well to the first six weeks of training, so we bumped up the volume and intensity of training. On Wednesdays of weeks 7 and 8, he started doing Zone 3 intervals. When I begin the process of threshold training, I begin with Zone 3 intervals before progressing to work in Zones 4 to 5a.

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I wanted to keep some power work in his schedule, especially since he wasn't doing any strength training. His power intervals moved to Saturday in weeks 7 and 8.

To compliment the Zone 3-structured intervals, we added "incidental" intensity into the group rides. I intentionally placed the power intervals the day before the group ride because his body would need to be ready to do two days of racing. The power intervals aren't easy, but they are not as taxing as threshold intervals.

Additionally, the incidental intensity during group rides allowed him to place the intensity at key locations, specifically the climbs.

Weeks 10 through 11

Normally, I would include Zone 3 intervals in a training plan for some four to nine weeks before moving to threshold intervals (Zone 4 to 5a). I believe doing this gives the athlete a deeper reserve of fitness. Ray, however, did not have time for more than three weeks of Zone 3 intervals.

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The final Zone 3 intervals were in week 10, with threshold work beginning within the short ride at the end of week 9. On Wednesday of week 11, we went to threshold intervals on Wednesday and the Sunday group ride included all intensities. Also notice that the distance of the Saturday ride increased to three hours, putting the back-to-back weekend rides at the same length of total time estimated for race weekend.

I ramped up the volume and intensity to these levels due to Ray's riding history prior to the crash.

The biggest week for total volume and intensity was week 11, two weeks out from race day. With mid-week intervals and two rides on the weekend that were relatively long, and including intensity, this was a tough week. Recall that a short 10 weeks ago, his weekend rides were 30 and 60 minutes long.

Ray followed the training plan nearly to the letter. One thing he commented about during the process was that he noticed he was gaining strength quickly during the key workouts. He noted that he thought one reason for the big gains was that he took his easy days seriously. Easy days were easy. He planned to remember this even when he was healthy, because too often in his pre-crash training he had made the easy days too hard.

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