Team Rio Strada Foundation Phase Training – Wrap-Up and Reflections

photo-16Mission accomplished for the Rio Strada team, foundation phase training, which wraps the end of December. We had our final group structured workout for this phase last Thursday night, capitalizing on a starry-filled night to take training to the streets.

The workout started with a warm-up spin to the Folsom dam road, which was the evening’s training venue, providing an ideal consistent 4-6% grade.

The workout consisting of short anaerobic efforts, ranging from 30-45 seconds, in and out and saddle, focused on muscular force development in addition to the physiological aspect. In the workout, we rolled at a slow roll in to the grade, and focused on efficiently generating explosive power directly into the pedals.  Beyond the obvious benefits of efficient rapid, linear force development, the workout extended the opportunity to hone every aspect of our cycling efficiency – engaging and maintaining trunk stability; training optimal body position/posture; driving the pedal from the powerful hips; developing upper body strength; coordinating upper and lower body strength and skills; breathing efficiently under the pressure of intensity; and sharpening economy of movement/mechanics.

Training and implementing efficient powerful movement demands several components including muscular activation and strength, endurance, range of motion (muscular and joint), technique and mechanics, and rapid force development.  In foundation, we began training these elements which we will continue to challenge and improve as we focus on preparation phase training and peak toward race season.  During foundation, we trained these objectives through the following workouts – mini-band exercises to train glute activation; slow frequency repetitions (SFR) to develop  specific cycling strength; long rides with teammates in hilly terrain at lower intensity zones to build muscular endurance; yoga to facilitate improved range of motion; single leg pedaling drills and intervals at higher intensities to hone pedaling mechanics; and off-bike plyometrics and workouts like Thursday night to develop explosive power.

But beyond these more physically tangible benefits, Thursday night’s workout reminded me of the too often under-estimated mental aspect of training. Every workout affords equally valuable mental and physical conditioning. Every training session presents an opportunity to train positive mental mantras. The mental state has a powerful direct result over the physical in terms of relaxation and improved performance. We have control over our thoughts – but like everything else it demands practice/training to progress toward the ultimate goal. Every time a negative thought or doubt enters our mind – it is our opportunity to sweep it away and replace it with a positive/desired outcome. Every time we succeed in replacing a negative with a positive it is a victorious step.

Training also affords a mental dress rehearsal for racing. So many times at pivotal points in races – I have mentally drawn on a training session that replicated that exact race situation. Training provides mental empowerment, confidence and performance momentum.

Way to go Rio Rippers – make the most of rest and less structure during the holidays – so you are recharged, and ready to rip in to the preparation phase of training.