Last month I wrote about the end of the season, taking a short break and then starting training again. This month my training plan really kicked off in earnest. I’m using TrainerRoad, starting off with an extended Sweetspot Base high volume plan. I’ve extended it in two ways. Firstly, the initial phase of the plan has an extra 3 weeks to fill it out so that I will be ready for the middle of April. Last season I was ready by the end of February and I struggled to hold fitness through the season so I’m hoping this will help a bit. I’ll still start racing in March with the first local TT races but will build fitness through that first month. I’m also aiming to do London Edinburgh London next year so a bit of extra base work won’t hurt. Secondly I’ve added an extra workout. Over the last 3 years I’ve adapted to being able to train for 6 days a week so it feels sustainable to continue that now. And it’s a quality workout focusing on some VO2 max and sweetspot intervals, so it’s not just adding a TSS filler for the sake of it. The result is a bigger TSS for the month than I’ve ever managed before – I’m going all in this winter!
I’ve also changed my position on the TT bike too which has taken a bit of getting used to. The saddle is further back and the bars are extended which has the effect of stretching my body out when I’m in TT position. This is an attempt to flatten the Quasimodo-esque hump in my back. It feels slightly strange but getting better. I am also trying to do at least some of the training in TT position but it hurts too much on the turbo so I do as much as I can. It didn’t seem to cause too many problems last season but the more I can manage the better.
A Word on Nutrition
The training I’m doing is very challenging. The fact is I will be 50 next year so getting the right amount of sleep and eating properly are just as important. I’m not great on the sleep – the older I get the harder it seems to get a really good nights sleep, no matter how tired I feel. Also, I’m not going to bore you by listing my diet but there are a couple of things I do which may be of interest, and I’ll share a recipe for homemade protein bars that Liz has refined/concocted from various internet sources – they are really delicious – see below!
So I eat a lot of foods high in nitrates – beetroot, celery, rocket. I drink cherry juice. I eat foods that are a source of l-carnitine such as red meat (in moderation), milk and seeds. I also create a smoothie using 175g of frozen blueberries and 300ish ml of chocolate milk, and I eat my own protein bars to aid recovery. If you’re interested it is worth Googling the benefits of these nutrients to see what you think.
We found the original recipe online and then adapted it to taste. These are high calorie protein bars depending upon the size you cut them. If you cut into 12 bars, or half the ingredients to make 6, then I reckon each bar will be 200-250 kcals but high in protein. I’m using a lot of calories in my training and my weight (and more importantly my bodyfat %) is coming down very slowly, which is what I am aiming for.
Blend 1 cup of oats until it’s like flour. Mix in 1.5tsp cinnamon, 6 scoops of chocolate whey protein powder (I use PHD), a 460g jar of smooth peanut butter, about 30g honey, 5 egg whites and about 120ml skimmed milk. Now I’ve experimented with adding mashed bananas (2 or 3) which was okay but not to my taste. Instead I added 100g chopped almonds and that was great. I then added 100g dark chocolate chips and that was even better! I imagine if dried fruit and/or raisins are your thing you could chuck those in too.
Anyway, mix the lot really well and pour it into a greased or lined baking pan – I think the one Liz uses is about 12x9cm. It’s baked at gas mark 4 for about 15 to 20 minutes, allowed to cool, cut into as many bars as you need then stored in the fridge. Mine happily last a week – I wouldn’t recommend longer.
In summary for the month I managed 428 miles with 24,893ft ascent at around 15.3mph average, which used up around 17,693kcals. In addition I spent 24 hours 45 minutes on the turbo using a further 20,340kcal. Total for the month was 2,994TSS