Friday, April 18, 2008

Cycling Continues / Nerve Analysis

I've been doing pretty well with my training program so far. Last season I set my plan up for about 400 hours of cycling for the year. This year's plan is set up around 300 or so hours. I'm not going to be racing, so I don't need the sort of duration that I did last year. Plus with my recovery in mind, I didn't want to get trapped into over doing things. When you've got daily workouts and durations scheduled for months at a time it's a little tempting to follow the plan too religiously; not taking days off where your body tells you it needs it. So, I'm trying to under promise and over deliver this time out. When I feel up to it I'll put in some extra hours on some of the long rides.

I've gotten my power up to about 180 Watts when riding aerobically. Much better than the 100 or 120 Watts I was at when I first got back on the road. I'm probably 75% of the way back to where I was. At this point I'd say my aerobic capacity is getting close to where it was last season, the shortfall to getting back to 220 Watts at 157 beats per minute is a lot more related to the strength in my left leg, rather than my heart.

In other developments, I'm going to be heading back to the neurologist next week to have another EMG (Electromyogram). If you've never had the chance to get yourself an EMG, consider yourself lucky. Basically what happens is that a guy connects some wires near your nerves and starts sending some current down your nerves to try to make your muscles move. It goes something like this: (I'm making up the amperage for the point of example) zap at 1 amp, nope foot didn't move; zap at 2 amps, nope; zap at 5 amps, still no; 10 amps, still no. As this escalation in pain quickly continues you're just wishing your damned foot would move. As the appendage doesn't the pain gets greater and greater. Then the next thing that happens is that they stick some sonic pins into your muscles and listen to hear whether the sound in your muscle changes when you flex them. When one of these pins goes into an area with a lot of nerves like the bottom of your foot, it's a giant party.

Based upon the output of the EMG, I may have another surgery to take a look at my perineal nerve and determine whether it is compressed, severed, etc.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Back on a Training Plan

I've been felling stronger and stronger on my bike these days.

Last Saturday I rode the SDBC "B" ride again. Unlike the first time I went out, where it took me 3 or 4 days to recover, I felt great the next day. So much so that I went out for a ride on Sunday as well.

To date I've been riding an hour or so on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then doing whatever felt good on the weekends. Now that I'm able to ride 6 to 8 hours per week, while continuing to get stronger it's time to start organizing my training a little more.

Even though people like my mom have been pushing me to get back into racing, I'm not ready to get too intense with the training just yet. Last season I put together a training program that went through 3 four week base phases, a couple four week build phases, and then some alternating peak, race and build phases. By the time you get to the build phases you're doing some pretty intense high heart rate interval training. I'm no where near that sort of physical capability right now. I'm also not planning to go racing this year, so I'm going to focus on repeated base phases that incorporate some increased intensity as I feel ready for it. These will strengthen my aerobic capacity and put me in a good position to achieve my goal of doing a century ride towards the end of the year.

For those who are looking for an organized cycling training plan, the program I've found that works best for me is Joe Friel's Cyclist Training Bible. It's not the sort of program where the author tells you exactly what to do every day and you just following along like a lemming. Joe's book requires you to read and understand the concepts of the program and then combine them with your personal weaknesses, season goals and available training hours to create something that is specific to you as an individual.