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Absorbing overload or volume training

Posted By: KP
Date: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, at 12:12 p.m.

Once in awhile I do a big bike week for fun. I think there is a certain fitness boost from cycling overload but it comes with some risk as well. Last week I had a lot of fun. I did my first high volume bike week in 25 months. When I do serious volume it's helpful to have others involved who are in on the fun. There will be days during a volume phase when I wake up and think about whether I want to get out of bed or not, let alone back on the bike. A group helps get me moving. This past week was a mix of solo riding and riding with C&B (4 solo, 3 group). But even the days when I rode alone the group pulled me along. As well, the Epic Camp, which had just finished halfway around the world in New Zealand, was another carrot. Those guys inspire me!

So I accomplished some good bike volume. Going forward, what needs to be done to protect my investment (financial, emotional & physical) and promote fitness gains commensurate with the training stimulus? I want to receive maximum value from the overload. The first thing to remember (for me) is that the little voice that whispers "you need to get going" // "don't waste that good work with time off" // "sitting still means you're losing fitness" // will lead me astray. Through experience, I know this to be true; and I prepare for that. I make a plan to absorb my bike camp before I ever start it.

During the camp (Sun to Sat) I used two of the seven days as easy, more active recovery days (Tues & Fri). Post camp I took three a full days off from swim, bike, run. I stretched twice a day; I did physical therapy on myself for 2-3 hours a day, got chiropractic adjustments and ART work done as well. I actively pursued recovery and assimilation of the quality training. Today (Wed) is day four post camp. I did my first swim, will go to the gym (upper & core only) and get in an easy ride. I will stretch, do PT, get adjusted and head off to see my ART guy. On Sunday, my first off day, I had the urge to keep it rolling. I reminded myself that the full force of my fatigue would be delayed 48hrs. I am also aware that my immune system is working overtime and that there is a period where I will be more susceptible to colds and injury. The body has a tendency to ‘let down’ as we mentally let down. Getting through that emotional lull is a critical sign that recovery is on track. Take whatever time is needed. For me, after this planned event, not training at all until the fourth day post camp was calculated, as was the hours of stretching, PT, ART and adjustments. As was solid nutrition and extra sleep. If you choose to do overload training, plan your post training week as carefully as you planned the training week itself. Stick to your post training week as closely as you held to the overload week.

coach KP

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