Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Training with a Capital T

I've never really trained for a randonneuring event before... Well, that's not exactly true. I should say, I've never used a well thought-out structured training plan of any kind. I commute to work by bicycle nearly every day year-round, and I find time for a ride of some kind on most weekends. That all amounts to a decent amount of riding in a year and a lot of "normal" people might call that training. But, that's not really Training (with a capital T); it's what serious cyclists call "junk miles." Sort of the Doritos and Cheese Whiz of cycling.

Real Training involves a mix of specific kinds of riding (intervals, hill climbing, long steady distance, etc.) according a schedule, which alternately stresses your body and then allows it to recover, and then stresses it some more. Done correctly it increases the strength and efficiency of your muscles, the potential of your body to store carbohydrates (a.k.a. fuel), your body's ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles, and its ability to convert stored fat into energy. The schedule is one of the most important aspects of a real training program as it attempts to get your performance to a peak at a specific time, which hopefully coincides with the event for which you're training.

I guess that's a long drawn out way of saying, training makes you faster. Hopefully.

With a concrete yet very "stretchy" goal for PBP, I've decided I need to take training a little more seriously this year. As it stands now, I know next to nothing about real training. But luckily I know how to use one of those interweb search engine thingies (JumpStation is my favorite) and there seems to be an enormous load of information available out there for free (and probably worth every penny).

But don't worry, I'll resist any urges to turn this into one of those training blogs. I've read of few of those and while they sometimes provide some useful information, they are BORING (unlike this blog).

And for those of you who landed here because you were searching for good detailed training information, you may want to go back to JumpStation and try again. I'll probably talk a little about things I learn about training over the coming weeks that are interesting or amusing, but I won't attempt to provide yet another authoritative source of endurance training info. Like I said, there's already an enormous load of that available.

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