In the fall of '04 I made some significant changes to my training routines, habits and mindset. The effect on race outcomes was huge. It really is true what they say about training smarter, although I still tend to think harder is better too. Character flaw for sure. The biggies were:
- Became a beta tester for the Performance Manager
- Used an altitude tent
- Discarded the concept of slow base and off-season fitness losses (think threshold power)
- Focused on core work
While it's always hard to say what really works, the 3rd item was prolly the most beneficial for power development, the 2nd the most expensive, the first the best for race preparation and tapering, and the last the most healthy. In fact, extensive core work the past 2 years has almost certainly made the injuries sustained in the recent crash less than they could have been and the subsequent healing waaaay faster than anyone expected (can I get a hell yea???).
The core work I adopted was the stuff laid out by Mark Verstegen's Core Performance. All but the most reclusive ostrich's use this program now ;) It's great stuff and easy to do anywhere, anytime. If core is lacking in a cyclists program, this can improve performance dramatically.
Verstegen has a new book out tailor made for endurance athletes, Core Performance Endurance. It was a pre-order item at Amazon a month ago and my copy arrived while I was riding my fat ass off in St George. I've been running the program through it's paces for 4 days now and have discovered some new muscles, that's always a good sign ;) One aspect of the book that is quickly leaving a big impression is the stuff on regeneration. He goes into many way to get to trigger points, relieving pain and tightness. I never knew a tennis ball could inflict such sweet pain. It's really too early for me to give it a two thumbs up, but based on his results with elite athletes and the result I had with his "made for everyone" book, it looks to be another winner.
So, fellow enduro head pack toting bike hauling energizer bunny in training, be sure to take care of that neglected region between your butt and neck and mind those energy leaks.
Here's to a healthy, strong, and happy new year!