Zwift...what's it all about?
Lately, there's been more and more online and computer based training tools specifically geared towards your indoor cycling workouts. Several decades ago, Computrainers ruled this domain on a NES like system. Despite the blocky graphics, the data provided was very scientific and helpful when analyzed by a trained professional. Today, there are many online and computer based options. Some are helpful for passing the time and motivation, others are for data collection only, and some are a mix of the two. Currently, a very popular choice among cyclists is Zwift. Zwift was launched in the Fall of 2014, and has continued to grow as a rapid rate since then. What is it? Here's what Zwift has to say about Zwift:
CYCLING IS SOCIAL.Here at Zwift we believe that the best parts about cycling are the places you go and the people you go there with.
Outdoor cycling is great. But weather, traffic, time constraints and distance from other cyclists can take the fun out of it.
That’s why we’ve created a new destination that places you and your bike into immersive, detailed, 3D landscapes with other cyclists from around the world.
Now you can ride with anyone at anytime.
Packed with real-time stats, stunning lifelike graphics, and the latest in massive multiplayer online gaming, Zwift has kicked up the indoor cycling experience.
We think it’s the greatest innovation in cycling since the bicycle.
Kevin E., a BJL Coaching Athlete and Cycle Craft Employee, wrote a super blog post about Zwift. Check it out here:
Kevin's Zwift Review
Maybe it's the "old school" mentaility of someone who's been riding indoors while staring at the TV screen on those super cold days and dark nights since 1995, but I haven't ventured to Zwift Island yet. I imagine next winter I'll be checking it out and enjoying myself and looking for you on Zwift!
Until then, get OUTSIDE and ride your bike!
"It's hard to hit the ball when all you can think about is striking out." ~ Unknown
If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you spend hours and hours on your bike, both inside and outside, training to reach your goals. We upload our data to Strava, Connect, and Training Peaks, looking at the metrics that are important to us. Most likely, you know your weekly volume and/or distance, and may go well beyond this with your average speed, maximum speed, elevation gain, average power, normalized power, kilojoules, average cadence, intensity factor, training stress score, variability index, and on and on.
When was the last time you sat down and trained your brain? We ride hard and purposely go out in adverse conditions and call this developing our "mental toughness." And while this is true and can help us to cope with difficult events and less than ideal environmental conditions, most of us can spend more time training one of, if not the greatest limiter: our brain. At some point, and unfortunately for most, it's at many points in our cycling career, we experience times of self doubt and mentally "cracking."
And the list goes on and on.
I found a great resource to at least get you started on properly training your brain. Sports Psychology for Cyclists is a wonderful read, co-authored by Dr. Saul Miller and Peggy Maas Hill. It's not just the theory behind what is becoming more and more popular in all levels of sports these days, but techniques with drills to practice these techniques. It takes time and effort, and is perhaps not as much fun as going out and riding your bike, but the results will speak for themselves. The book has a great flow switching back and forth between the authors, with many anecdotes to help the reader see the connections.
If you find this intriguing, there are also some great resources available on Youtube that are worth checking out. Here's a few for example:
It's All About the Mind: The Psychology of Cycling
Applied Practice in Sport PsychologyThe Psychology of Suffering - How to Handle the Pain
Take your next rest day to train your brain!
BJL Coaching and Cycle Craft teamed up again this winter for our seventh annual Winter Trainer Sessions. The block of ten classes is now complete and was a success. Congratulations to all who attended and chose to get in a solid mid-week workout on the dark and dreary winter nights. And a special shout out to the folks who were able to attend and complete all ten classes:
Chip (been there all 7 years)
Well done, ladies and gentlemen!
Our final class was extra special this year, as we had a guest speaker, Lisa Fleming, who presented on Nutrition for Endurance Athletes after the class was complete. Lisa is a personal trainer, nutritionist, and health coach. In addition to numerous certifications and specialties Lisa has a BA in Sports Medicine and an MS in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Currently Lisa is the tier 4 manager at Equinox Summit where she leads small a team of elite personal trainers and nutritionists who focus on optimizing performance.
Lisa gave us a super presentation, and was kind enough to share the slides (see below).
If you are interested in learning more about this very crucial component of endurance athletes and how it can integrated into your own training, give me a shout (BJLCoaching@gmail.com), and I'll put you in touch with Lisa.
Avoid these mistakes as the weather gets better here in the North East, or wherever you may be riding. This is a super article, published on CTS, that is filled with good advice for the novice and experienced cyclist alike. I can't say enough about these 11 mistakes, and they're all mistakes that I've helped cyclists overcome. With that said, the best way to avoid these mistakes and make the most of your season, is by working with an experienced an qualified coach. Enjoy the read!
11 Surprising Mistakes Cyclists Make When Getting Back in Shape
We asked CTS Coaches to share some of the common mistakes they see athletes make early in the season when enthusiasm is high and athletes are motivated for the season ahead. Our coaches came up with 11 mistakes they see pop up year after year that disrupt athletes’ training, and they offered these easy solutions to keep you on track. Avoid these early season missteps and follow our coaches’ advice and you’ll lay down a foundation for a successful season.
Have you set your goals for the 2016 season yet? You don't need to be a hard-core competitor to benefit from setting goals. Not everyone enjoys setting goals, and often hesitation is due to a fear of failure. Once a goal is "on paper", there it is...it's real. One might not achieve their goals. Failure to accomplish a goal does not make one a failure. By not meeting a goal, we can often learn much about ourselves.
Training and racing without goals is certainly feasible, but it's a fairly sure way to make sure you'll never reach your potential. Goals help drive us, help coaches to create training plans, and give us an idea if we "did it" or not.
This is a very good article on this very topic that was published in Velonews.com several years ago, and it's worth revisiting as the season really starts to get underway.
A cycling coach can help you set realistic and attainable goals. However, goals certainly can be a bit of a reach. And while some folks find motivation by posting their goals on social media, goals can also be private between you and your coach. I do recommend, however, getting your family and support group on board, so they have an understanding of why you do what you do.
So if you haven't set your goals yet for this year, read this article, give me a call, and let's make them a reality!
Set goals the SMART way to achieve real success
Coach B.L. is the head coach at BJL Coaching and an avid racer and cycling enthusiast himself.