This is Episode 110 of Talk Ultra. This weeks show is a Marathon des Sables special with a load of great content from the Bivouac by Niandi Carmont and then a series of post race interviews with Sondre Amdahl, Elisabet Barnes and Elinor Evans. If that wasn’t enough, we have an interview with Jasmin Paris who has just blasted the Bob Graham Round ladies record to a new level.
It’s a different show this week as we concentrate on Marathon des Sables
Marathon Des Sables
It was a win again for Rachid El Morabity and Russian, Natalia Sedykh dominated the ladies race, times were 21:01:21 and 24:25:46 for the 257km. Full results are HERE
Niandi talk from the Bivouac
00:25:32 INTERVIEW from the Bivouac
A selection of interviews of everyday runners doing extra ordinary things
We discussed this race extensively in a couple of podcasts last year, we spoke with Nikki Kimball and Jeff Browning. Jeff won the race and Nikki decided to withdraw from the race as she felt is was too dangerous. Alarm bells were rung. Unfortunately we have had news of a death at the 2016 edition. We have to be clear here that information is still a little sparse but Ellie Greenwood and Kerrie Bruxvoort have both commented on social media at the races apparent disregard for safety. We will have more information on this as and when possible.
A statement on Facebook from Ultra Fijord said:
The second edition of Ultra Fiord has been a very hard experience, marked by an exceptionally hostile climate and dramatic landscape that formed the backdrop of the race route, that was changed and shortened two days leading to the race to accommodate the impending bad weather. While some runners experienced and embraced the forces of nature, others were beyond their comfort zone. What impacted all of us the most was the loss of 100-mile runner, Arturo Héctor Martínez Rueda. Mr Martínez, 57-year-old from Mexico, had unfortunately passed on at an approximate 65km mark that is about 750m above sea level. Although the likely cause of his death was hypothermia, a confirmation can only be made in the following few days. The unfavourable weather has persisted in this mountain area since Friday, so the rescue team, awaits a favourable weather window to execute the evacuation. The race organiser takes responsibility and apologise for the poor communications to the outside world with regards to this tragic incident, simply because it is a step we could not execute without the confirmation of the status and private communications with Arturo’s family. In this difficult time, the organising team sincerely expresses its condolences to the family and friends of Arturo and ask followers for your cooperation to send peace and respect to them too.
Elisabet Barnes post MDS
Sondre Amdahl post MDS
Elinor Evans post MDS
Jasmin Parishas just elevated the ladies Bob Graham Round record to a new level coming very close to Billy Bland’s benchmark 1982 record
British humour, it’s a wonderful thing! Dry, witty and at times it can be difficult to tell if a joke is really being told… David Loxton personifies this and in all honesty, it’s this humour that got him and his tent mates through the 31st edition of the Marathon des Sables. Niandi Carmont picks up the story from within the bivouac.
Nothing like a touch of humour to help your tent mates get through a challenging event like the MDS. Humour is a natural pain-killer …
David Loxton has just finished the marathon stage and joined the ranks of finishers over the 31 editions of the MARATHON DES SABLES. He is relaxed in his tent, a bit grubby as can be expected but grinning from ear to ear. His tent mates look happy too. And no surprise as they are in good company – David is a laugh and a gaffer too.
So how did it go I ask?
“I’ve got no blisters, I’ve got very tough feet and I’ve been very quick most days, apart from the long day where I wasn’t quite as quick. What else? I hate sand, I hate sunshine …”
His tent mates crack up laughing.
Seriously, I ask if he feels he’s got in enough preparation or was the event tougher than he expected?
“Nobody told me about preparation so I thought I’d just pitch up and do it.” More laughter. “Well I did do a training camp in Lanzarote to train for this in January.”
I ask him if he had any moments of doubt during the event.
“On day 1 actually I did. I thought I can’t do this for the next 5 days. It hurts. Beyond that it was OK. Apart from day 2 and a few moments of day 3 and most of day 4. Day 5 was good apart from the bad bits.”
I ask him if he would do anything differently if he had to do it again.
“I would probably search online for some tent mates. Probably do some more work on the fitness and definitely pack before the Thursday night. We flew to Morocco on Friday.”
I know he’s not serious but he’s funny anyway and his mates seem to be enjoying his self-depracating humour.
“I’d also bring some business cards for the ladies.”
I ask him if he met some interesting people.
“I met some of the people from the training camp in January. I made myself unpopular with the Helpful Heroes tent by accidently stealing some of their water flavours, the French guys have been good and the Japanese guys too. I’ve loved every moment of it but once is maybe enough for me.”
Is he looking forward to getting back to wet, windy and cold UK?”
“No I’m married.”
And has he learnt anything from his experience? Suddenly David takes on a more serious air, this time he’s not joking, he’s more philosophical.
“In terms of fitness it is surprising what you can do, how far you can push yourself. Sometimes your mind can overrule your body. The guys here have got some pretty horrific blisters and they’ve worked through it and they found more within themselves than they expected.”
When you are back in Ouarzazate and back in civilisation, what is the first thing you will treat yourself to?
“Apart from beer? The first thing will be beer, the second thing will be beer, the third thing will be beer …and after that I will phone home.”
And I lift my glass to David who deserves that long-awaited beer after keeping his mates going with his very special priceless sense of humour!
Read Niandi’s interview with ladies 2016 MDS champion HERE
Read a summary and view images of the 31st edition HERE
Niandi Carmont writes from within the bivouac of the 2016 Marathon des Sables, a series of insightful profiles that brings to life the highs, the lows and the inspiration from the worlds most inspiring multi-day race. Lets kick off these interviews with ‘From Russia with Love’ the 2016 ladies champion, Natalia Sedykh.
The Russian rocket takes us by surprise …
I peep under the bivouac and ask for Natalia SEDYKH. The girl sitting there indicates that it is her. She invites me to sit down. She’s a little distant. She looks calm and composed, not like an athlete who has just completed the long stage of the MARATHON DES SABLES. But then I was expecting that – her race management has been exemplary. She’s paced herself regularly winning every single stage apart from the long one. She’s gained 45 min over her closest rival and is 11th in the overall general.
She relaxes and starts chatting about what got her running and her life in Russia.
“I was in love with a boy when I was 16 and he did 100m hurdles and I wanted to see him every day. So I decided to do track. Initially I couldn’t run consecutive 400m laps because I when I was a child I was told not to run because of my health issues. But I persevered and gradually increased my distance. Since then I’ve trained really hard. If you can dream it, you can do it.”
She initially concentrated on sprint, then longer distances but she admits to being more of a track athlete. Her PB over 10km is 33min54s.
“I don’t like extreme events. Life in Russia is extreme as it is.”
Her big break came 5 years ago when a coach Serguei Popov discovered her potential. At the time she was still a sprinter. After a period of injury, she stopped for 2 years. She set herself the objective of running her first marathon.
“I am not a professional runner. I’m a professional coach so I coached myself.”
Her marathon PB is 2.46 last year. Her half marathon PB was on slippery ice with -25C. Not exactly your typical MDS temperatures! We talk a little about her life, it’s not easy living in Russia, you need determination, commitment, strength and most of all, willpower.
“I am an ordinary woman. I want to travel, keep fit, maybe get married, have a family and cook nice soups. My father is a train driver and my mother a seamstress. The standard of living in Russia is low. I hope to save and help my parents financially. They believe in me – I need to do my best for them.”
So back to the subject of MDS. How did she train?
“I did a lot of preparation for this race. Last year I got a penalty so I decided to come back and settle a score. Last year I didn’t get in a lot of preparation. I was a tourist.” She laughs. “I was living in Russia. It was sub-zero, icy, a lot of snow.”
Needless to say the conditions were not the same.
“In addition to that I was overworked. I was working in a fitness club and worked long days.”
She then goes on to explain that she’s been in Dubai for 2 months and is still coaching – novice runners this time.
I wonder if the past 2 months have allowed her to be heat-adapted?
“In March I missed 2 weeks of peak training as I wasn’t used to the heat. In Dubai you need to get up very early at 5am or 6am to go training because of the humidity.”
I ask her if training in Dubai is complicated?
“Women run with veils. They are very health-conscious. I do my training sessions early or in the desert so I don’t attract attention.”
It’s getting dark and she has to prepare for the next day. I leave her and wonder if this girl who doesn’t like extreme will be back to defend her title in 2017.
Natalia went on to dominate the 2016 Marathon des Sables. It was an outstanding performance. As Niandi questions, will Natalia return in 2017? Part of me things not, but then again, who knows… One thing is for sure, Natalia has set a benchmark for all the other ladies to follow, just as Elisabet Barnes did in 2015 by winning every stage. Natalia is the first lady to make the top-10 overall. A remarkable achievement.
The Lanzarote 2016 multi-day training camp got underway today with an easy 1-hour run along the coastal trails of La Santa to Famara.
In total, we have a group of 27 runners with a broad range of 2016 objectives such as Marathon des Sables (Morocco), The Coastal Challenge (Costa Rica), Big Red Run (Australia), Cape Wraith Ultra (UK) and the Everest Trail Race (Nepal).
It’s always great to see so many runners of mixed ability come together with one goal in mind; completion of a challenging multi-day race!
Tomorrow, 4-hours of classic desert terrain awaits the runners as they depart in three groups lead by Elisabet Barnes, Niandi Carmont and Marie-Paule Pierson. Ian Corless, camp co-ordinator and planner, will move through the groups, running out-and-back to ensure that everyone is on track and comfortable.
In the afternoon, a group talk and discussion followed with an easy 30-60 min run.
Lanzarote, situated off the coast of Morocco provides the perfect environment to simulate many of the conditions that runners will experience in a classic multi-day race; wind, sand, rocks, tough terrain, climbs and maybe even a little scrambling.
If you are interested in a multi-day training, dates for 2017 have been set and you can view HERE
Many thanks to the following brands for helping with this camp:
MyRaceKit, OMM, inov-8, Berghaus, PHD, Raidlight, Scott Running
The island of La Palma has always ticked many boxes for me, it’s a quiet island that lacks tourism, it has incredible all-year round weather and of course it hosts the Transvulcania Ultramarthon.
I’ve been coming here since 2012; it never disappoints. This year I’m here to find some quiet time to write content for my book, Running Beyond. But I am also here for a long overdue holiday, to spend time with Niandi (who gets neglected with all my travel) but also to get back to some regular time on the trails.
Notice I said, ‘time on the trails’ and not running. To be honest, I’ll take the running if the body will allow, it’s not important though, I just need the head space and the isolation the trails out here bring.
We have no plans other than to work and get objectives done each day and then spend the rest of time doing what makes us happy. Yesterday, I was up early and decided I wanted to be finished with work by midday. My plan was to head up into the mountains and run/ walk/ hike around the rim of the Caldera de Taburiente. In the Transvulcania Ultramarathon, this is often referred to as Roques de los Muchachos but actually Roques is the end of the section where the observatories are located and then the long 18km drop and descent to Tazacorte Port.
It’s an incredible place and one of the key sections of the Transvulcania Ultramarthon due to its elevation of 2400+m and the stunning views it provides to the east and the west. In the east one can see the islands of Tenerife, El Hierro and La Gomera and they are visible in the photos. The terrain here varies greatly from technical rocky sections of jagged and irregular rock to sandy and dusty trail. Although the trail goes up and down, in real terms most of the climbing is done by the time you reach Pico de la Nieve at 2232m.
Niandi and myself accessed the GR131 (Transvulcania route) at Pico de la Nieve as a trail, the PR LP 3 comes in from the main access road (LP4).
From the road it’s a 20-30min hike in to the GR131 and then it’s possible to follow the Transvulcania route on an out-and-back to Roques de Los Muchachos (approx 10km, 20km round trip).
Needless to say it’s a stunning section of trail and I have to say, one of my favourites in the world. Key sections are Pico de la Cruz, Piedra a Llana, Marro Negro, Pico de la Cruz and Fuente Nueva before arriving at Roques de los Muchachos.
If you are a runner, hiker, walker or basically someone just looking for an inspirational day on trail with stunning views, I can’t recommend this enough.
Yesterday for me was one of those special days; from early afternoon, through to sunset and then finishing off in the dark with just a headlight, the moon, the stars and Niandi for company.
Niandi and myself didn’t worry about pace, time, or anything for the that matter. We just moved, stopped, took photographs and soaked in a magical place.
So magical, I wanted to share the journey in images.
Episode 94 of Talk Ultra is all about the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and UTMB. We have some post race chats with Emelie Forsberg, Florian Reichert and RD, Shane Ohly about Glen Coe and then we have a full and in-depth interview with race winner, Joe Symonds. UTMB was a race of drama and instead of speaking to the top 3, we chat with Damian Hall and Richard Ashton, two Brits who finished in the top 50. Niandi Carmont is my co-host
Episode 90 of Talk Ultra is playing catch up. Yes folks we missed a show… Speedgoat discusses Scott Jurek on the AT. We talk Western States and have an interview with Rob Krar. We have some Richtersveld Wildrun chat from South Africa with Nikki Kimball and Georgina Ayre. We also speak to Stevie Kremer on Ultra Skymarathon Madeira. Talk Training, the News and Niandi co-hosts.
FKT for Gary Robbins – In Washington on the 95-mile Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier, Gary Robbins ran 18:52 to cut just over two hours from Kyle Skaggs’s previous supported record, which had stood since 2006.
Mayonnaise, gin, cheese and taulas ……..what do these words bring to mind? No, you got it wrong! The answer is ………Menorca!
Yep, not many people know that mayonnaise (and who doesn’t love dollops of it on chips) was invented by the Duc de Richelieu on encountering and adapting the Menorca aioli. As for gin this little island is home to Xoriguer Distillery and is well-known for producing its own distinctively fragrant variety of the spirit.
But where is Menorca might you ask? This Balearic Island is located in the Mediterranean off the Spanish coast not far from Mallorca. Menorca means windy island and hardly surprising as there is a gentle breeze on most days due to its relatively flat relief. A little wind is welcome if you consider that the island enjoys 300 days of yearly sunshine.
Booze, sea and sun ….convinced? Well what enticed me to the island were none of the aforementioned but more the opportunity to take part in what I consider to be a fantastic and scenically beautiful trail race. The Cami de Cavalls is the backdrop of several trail races organized on the island in May. It is an ancient hiking trail/path of 186km that takes you around the coastline of the island. This long-distance walking route is the GR223 of the Senderos de Gran Recorrido network in Spain. Historically-speaking the Cami de Cavalls was built in order to connect the watchtowers, fortresses and cannons distributed along the coast. It was patrolled by soldiers mounted on horses hence the word cavalls meaning horses in Catalan.
In the 2015 edition there were several distances: 185km, 100km, 55km (trekking), 32km (trekking).
The 85km race (TMCS, Trail Menorca Costa Sud)) takes on the whole southern coastline from Es Castell to Ciutadella. This is the trail race I decided to do as I really wanted to experience as much of the historic Cami de Cavalls as possible but had only just recovered from Marathon des Sables 4 weeks prior. Taking that into consideration it seemed the best and most reasonable option. I arrived in Menorca on Thursday and my race start was on Saturday so this provided me with the opportunity to relax a little, do some sight-seeing and pick up my number and chip without too much stress. Thursday on arrival in Ciutadella I picked up my number and chip after some leisurely tapas and rosé in the port and attended the race briefing in the late afternoon for the 185km. This was followed by a cocktail with some local dignitaries involved in the sponsorship and promotion of Trail Menorca .
The Friday was spent walking around the cobbled streets in the old quarter of Citadel and having fresh grilled squid al fresco with 2015 MDS winner Elisabet Barnes near the town-hall and an early night in anticipation of the early race start the following day. Saturday I was woken by my alarm at 5am. Some instant porridge and I was off to catch the shuttle bus at 6am to the start in Es Castell. What is practical about the different races is that they all finish in Ciutadella, the 185km and 100km (TMCN Trail Menorca Costa Nord) starting a day before. Shuttle buses at the finish in Ciutadella take the runners to the start of the different races so logistically it makes sense to book your accommodation at the finish and it is completely hassle-free. Also should you drop out (highly unlikely of course) or not make the cut off times shuttle busses are laid on at the checkpoints to take you back to the finish).
An 85km drive along the coastline and the bus of excited runners arrives in Es Castell. During the journey Elisabet and I exchange worried looks as the rain starts pelting down – this must be one of the 65 days of rain on the island! However, it proves to be just a short-lived downpour and at 8am we start the race in cool and pleasant temperatures.
The course is well marked with the over 2.200 GR 223 landmarks making it hard to get lost with added signage and red & white tape in urban areas on lamps or posts. These are reinforced with spray paint, biodegradable tape and red leds for runners running at night.
There are 7 well-equipped feed stations on the TMCS offering water, coca cola (ice-cold), isotonic drinks, fruit juices, fruit, nuts, dates, bread, Nutella and local ham and cheese. I found it unnecessary to take any additional food supplies although the race is supposed to be “self-sufficient” and runners are encouraged to do so. The support, friendliness and encouragement at the feed stations are amazing. When you do this race you really don’t feel like a number when you are cheered as you enter the feed station and cheered when you leave!
I was incredibly surprised at the beauty of the course. I had been told that the TMCN along the North Coast was more scenic although much more technical but to be honest the TMCS was absolutely stunning. The variety of the course is unrivalled – beach sections, little coves of azure turquoise water, tiny coastal villages, luscious green flowered fields and cliffs overlooking the island’s multitude of pristine bays.
The course is partly exposed and partly shaded providing a certain amount of respite from the midday sun. Temperatures at this time of the year can vary and although the day spent sightseeing was quite hot (36°C), on race day it was pleasantly mild. The only technical parts of the course are along the sea-front on hardened rock formations where you can easily trip up especially once fatigue starts setting in and the last section of the course although flat was quite technical and rocky with the head-on wind from the North Tramuntana complicating matters! At this point I was walking as I really didn’t want to trip up on the rocks and no longer had the energy to battle against the wind.
The final kilometres of the race take you through the coastal seaside resorts into the finish area at Ciutadella where a welcoming crowd of local supporters and giant paella and free beers await the finishers. The icing on the cake? The beautiful medal with the words Live theLegend……..and I really felt I lived the Cami de Cavalls ….. until 2016 that is!
Ciutadella and the surrounding area is extremely Spanish and beautiful – take a look.
Race images are available to view and purchase HERE
A new year can be a daunting thing… the excitement and buzz of Christmas is over and suddenly 12-months lie ahead. Many of you may well have already planned early season targets or even objectives for the whole year. However, as I know only too well, for every person who has planned key targets, there will be another person who has planned nothing. So, before you do anything, take some time out and decide on your targets for the coming year. Please remember, these targets do not need to be racing targets. They could be FKT’s, personal projects or even an expedition. Once you have dates in a diary, you will find structuring your training so much easier. It provides perspective!
Did December go well for you?
December can be a tough month. It’s so easy to be distracted and miss training but don’t worry. If you maintained 3-4 sessions per week you are going to be in a great place to build your fitness in 2015.
It goes without saying that if you weren’t injured you will have been out running, be that on the trails or the treadmill. We hope that you managed to include a couple of cycling sessions? Ideally you will have done one easy session spinning the legs to help recovery from running and one ‘faster’ session either on the road or on an indoor trainer to help build stamina and strength
Niandi has been doing several indoor sessions as recovery and she wrote about them HERE
Me? Well you know what, the winter arrived in the UK, the ice came and so did the snow. For me it was perfect. I love running in the cold and snowy conditions. However, cycling outdoors was not an option. Thank goodness for the indoor trainer (Turbo Trainer) and I applied the session we outlined in Article 5 (Here) and I also cycled easy for 30 minutes with a high cadence for recovery.
Here is a summary of the session:
Warm up for 10-minutes ‘spinning’ your legs in an ‘easy’ gear. This is all about getting blood flowing, loosening stiff and/ or tight muscles and preparing for the session ahead.
Session: Perform 2 minutes at 80% of maximum heart rate (keeping cadence on or around 90) – You will need to use your cycling gears to add resistance and provide the necessary difficulty level for you elevate your heart rate. Monitor your HRM with a quality item – We use Suunto Ambit 3 Peak and Ambit 2 units
Recover for 2-minute ‘spinning’ your legs as in the warm up.
Repeat the 2-minute session with 2-minute recovery for an additional 5-times (making a total of 6 in week-1). *In week 2 do 7-repetitions, in week 3 do 8-repetitions and in week 4 do 10-repetitions.
I hit the reps building up the 2-minute intervals over a 4-week period and it felt great.
If you are anything like me, you will not want to loose those gains made over December and January so in February we are going to build with four sessions that you can do indoors or outdoors.
If you don’t already know, training indoors on a bike is hard; I love it! You have no escape, no rest and your cadence, HRM, legs and sweat rate do not lie. Did I mention sweat! Boy do I sweat indoors. Even with a window open and a fan on me I am like a running tap with water pouring out of me. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated particularly during and after all sessions.
This month we have four sessions for you, one for each week and most of them include the same warm up and warm down. I call this: 5,4,3,2,1.
How does it work?
Your bike gearing will usually have two cogs at the front, for simplicity, we will call this the big ringand the small ring. Typically, a racing bike will have a 52/39 set up. The numbers refer to teeth on the cog. The ‘39’ makes gearing easier in comparison to the ’52.’
At the back you will have a selection of gears, if your bike is relatively new it will probably have 10-cogs.
The rear cogs start small (harder gear) and get larger (easier gear) and step up/ down progressively so that you can maintain an ‘ideal’ cadence (90) irrespective of the terrain. Your rear gearing may look like this:
12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25
The above numbers refer to ‘teeth’ on the rear cogs.
For example, 39×23 may be used on a steep climb when you need an easier gear or by comparison, if you are riding down a steep hill with the wind behind you, you may use 52×12.
If you are not used to cycle gearing, the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 will help you.
Depending on your experience, strength, fitness and experience. You may do this session on your small ring (easier) at the front of the bike or the big ring (harder.). I do my sessions on the ‘52’ cog. I am an ex cyclist with experience and bike strength and therefore adapted to pushing harder gears. Remember, you are using cycling to enhance running!
Start as follows:
52*x25 for 5 minutes aiming for 90+ cadence
52*x23 for 4 minutes aiming for 90+ cadence
52*x21 for 3 minutes aiming for 90+ cadence
52*x19 for 2 minutes aiming for 90 cadence
52*x17 for 1 minute aiming for 90 cadence
*Note, if you wanted this gearing to be easier you would replace the ’52’ (big ring) with say a ’39’ (small ring) for example.
By the time you reach the final minute you will be completely warm, your heart rate will have slowly elevated and the gearing will be ‘challenging’ but sustainable. Your heart rate will be in the 70-75% zone of max hear rate.
Now the sessions:
The sessions below can be done on the road or on an indoor trainer. It goes without saying that for such specific sessions, an indoor trainer would be preferable as you can control the whole session. If you do try the sessions outside, you will need a good long stretch of flat road. Undulating roads would make this session impossible.
Hints ‘n’ Tips
Use a heart rate monitor. It’s great to get the feedback. I have included my hear rate profiles recorded via my Suunto for the sessions below.
Have water handy – you will need it.
If training indoors use a fan or train near an open window.
Keep your pedalling technique smooth, don’t fight the bike.
Week 1: 40-minute session
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 warm up
*Move up 1 additional gear, for me this would be 52×16 and maintain a 90 cadence for 5 minutes. You can expect your heart rate to rise as you maintain the effort.
Drop back down to 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 and repeat the warm up – this loosens the legs and adds souplesse.
Repeat the above set* but in the final minute push really hard to maximal effort. At the end of the final minute you will have a good idea of your maximum hear rate (MHR).
Cool down with 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 but in reverse finishing with just 1 minute in the easiest gear. This works as a great cool down.
Week 1 heart rate data – Ian Corless
Week 2: 1-hour session
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 warm up
*Stay in the final gear you used for the 1-minute in the warm up and maintain a 90+ cadence for 30 minutes building your effort throughout the session.
Cool down with 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 but in reverse finishing with just 1 minute in the easiest gear. This works as a great cool down.
Week 2 heart rate data – Ian Corless
Week 3: 40-minute session
4, 3, 2, 1 warm up (we miss the 5-min section this time)
Move up 1 additional gear, for me this would be 52×16 and maintain a 90 cadence for 4-minutes and then step up 1-gear (for me this is 52×15) and work hard for 1-minute. At the end of 1-minute drop back down one gear, for me 52×16 and repeat 4min/ 1min for four more times (total five repetitions)
Cool down with 5-minutes spinning in your start gear, for me, this would be 52×25
Week 3 heart rate data – Ian Corless
Week 4: 1-hour session
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 warm up
Move up 1 additional gear, for me this would be 52×16 and maintain a 90 cadence for 4-minutes and then step up 1-gear (for me this is 52×15) and work hard for 1-minute. At the end of 1-minute drop back down one gear, for me 52×16 and repeat 4min/ 1min for five more times (total six repetitions)
Cool down with 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 but in reverse finishing with just 1 minute in the easiest gear. This works as a great cool down.
Week 4 heart rate data – Ian Corless
NOTE: The above cycling sessions would replace a faster run session in each week and I would still recommend one or even maybe two other cycle sessions per week for recovery. On the recovery sessions just use an easy gear and ‘spin’ with 90+ cadence. Make sure you drink if training indoors, it gets really hot!
On a track, I feel like a hamster.”- Robin Williams
I’ve always felt the same as Robin Williams about the indoor trainer. To me, training indoors on a bicycle is just like running on a track or treadmill. Yet, like track and the treadmill, cycling indoors can provide a huge advantage to your training if used in a structured way.
First and foremost when the weather is horrendous (like it is in the UK at the moment) you can get a good workout indoors in a warm, safe and controlled environment. I am new to cycling and although not inexperienced, braving winter conditions on a bike would be a step too far for me at the moment. This is where the home trainer becomes a useful piece of equipment.
I can still get my fix for the outdoors with my running… to be honest, I love running in cold temperatures but I also incorporate one treadmill session which allows for faster running (hills or intervals) with some fast-paced loud music which is difficult to do outside.
In a research project at John Moores University, researchers found that when participants exercised to faster-paced music they “chose to accept, and even prefer, a greater degree of effort”. As well as enhancing performance, music lowers the perception of effort. It dulls or masks some of the pain associated with training. We know from scanning the brain that when athletes are played loud upbeat music there is an increase in activity in the ascending reticular activating system.
For all these reasons I have also been using the home trainer to get in some recovery training after racing or long run sessions. At the beginning of December I completed a 72km trail race at night in sub-zero temperatures. Conditions were very muddy, icy in some parts, with a head-on wind to contend with and as it was at night with poor visibility, the going was tough. Also I forgot to mention I flew out to Lyon on the Saturday, picked up my number, took a shuttle to the start in St Etienne, started the race at midnight, ran to Lyon through the night and flew back to London on Sunday, took a coach, another train ….All a bit crazy and exhausting to say the least. Over the next 2 days following the race, I suffered DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness). This meant no running for a few days. I had a fun run planned in Paris the following weekend so I decided to use cycling as “active” recovery. Like running on the treadmill you can quickly get hot very quickly on an indoor trainer. I set myself up near an open window to allow for some ventilation. If you were doing a hard session, an indoor fan would also be a good idea.
Recovery is all about spinning my legs, easing away muscle soreness, getting the blood flowing and I suppose not having too much structure. However, I find indoor training easier if I have a plan to follow and music!
Hints ‘n’ Tips
Use your own bicycle. I am using my SCOTT bike fixed to my indoor trainer via the rear wheel. This is perfect as I do not compromise on my cycling position which I have worked hard to make perfect.
Need some free music to help you with your indoor session? Try HEREfor 50minutes of audio. I personally recommend that you make your own playlist that is specific for your session. Using something like iTunes makes this really easy. Alternatively, a company like Audiofuel provides specific music mixes with or without coaching.
Length : 44 min
Warm-Up : 10min in a very easy gear allowing me to ‘spin’ at a cadence of 90
Main Set: 24min alternating 3min at 90 cadence and 3min at 110 cadence. Gearing should be easy and light to allow your legs to spin around. The faster cadence session of 110 allows me to concentrate on cycling technique using the up and down of the pedal stroke and adds souplesse to my legs.
Cool Down: 10min easy gear at a cadence of 90
Warm-up: 10min in a very easy gear spinning at 90 cadence
Main set: 15min broken down into 30sec at 90 cadence and 30sec at 120 cadence
Cool Down: 10min very easy gear at 90 cadence
Initially you will find your legs struggling to get used to using different muscle groups in this recovery work-out. The aim is not to PUSH the gears or have resistance. We don’t want to stress sore muscles. These two sessions are all about spinning legs with an easy gear on the bike and allowing the muscles to recover. This is what is so great about cycling… you can exercise in a non weight bearing way. However, the increased cadence sessions of 110 and 120 will allow you to raise your heart rate.
I shall be doing a turbo session at least once a week as active recovery in my build up to my next long distance run, Paris Mantes 50km towards the end of January. This will be followed by a week off running but 2 turbo sessions before a trip to Costa Rica and the opportunity to run The Coastal Challenge stage race.
Happy New Year and remember, cycling is great for running if used sensibly.