FAQ ~ Holidays & Missed Sessions
Roy Booty ~ holiday training?
I will be taking some time off on a family holiday
and will have to miss multiple sessions of my programme.
What's the best way to "tweak" the programme when I get back...
Ashley Baker ~ UK
A "top ten" in our most asked questions, especially from lots of our "local" riders. Jersey is an offshore finance centre (not a tax haven!) so many of our riders are often travelling, in hotels. or away with work for extended periods of time. But the answer is usually straightforward and similar.
But first off, there was a second part to Ashley's question, and it took the form of a very, very perceptive statement...
"When I was younger I would have been very upset to disrupt my training, however time has taught me there may be some positives". And he's absolutely right. So we'll cover them first.
Obviously, it all depends on the reason for the "unscheduled" down-time, and it's duration. There's a load more info on the mid to long term effects of de-training here. But for now, we'll assume one to two weeks of holiday is our timescale of choice.
One of the main benefits of a mid-winter break, is as much having a mental holiday as well as a physical one. Where the mind goes, the body will follow. Removing yourself from the stresses of modern day living will heal the body and mind as well as the soul. Which will allow you to train harder and longer when you get back; so embrace the remission.
If there's sun involved, the extra vitamin D and released endorphins, apart from the boosting of the neuromuscular and immune systems, will help with calcium metabolism, so what's not to like. Especially in the depths of a cyclist's winter.
There will obviously be a small dip in (blue) fitness during the downtime, the main thing is to make sure there isn't too much of an upswing in weight. So calorie and portion control is a factor you should be aware of.
The dip in fitness will, if weight remains stable, be more than compensated for, by the huge decrease in fatigue; or more accurately, an increase in your physiological freshness. Shown here by the rapidly rebounding and up-swinging, yellow line
As discussed above, removing either mental or physical fatigue from your life will have the same positive effect on your training outcome.
Remove both and you more than double your return.
Our Season Preparation Programme
Month by Month and Session by Session
The "normal" way to return to a programme is to go back to reference the last proper session that you completed successfully and use that as your baseline. You are not going to do this session, just use it as a reference point for your "comeback".
Let's assume, that one of the last sessions before you went away, was the FTP Development Pro, at say, 2 x 20 minutes @ 250 watts. Even if you don't use wattage you will have a speed, or distance you covered for that last session.
When you get back, you will need to leave it another clear day before you have a Recovery Ride or gentle leg stretcher.
Remember, your immune system will be okay, but you've spent "travelling time" with the great unwashed. You don't want to suppress your immune system with a full-on turbo ride and make yourself ill a few days later.
Get back from your "trip". The next day, do an hour recovery ride or thirty minutes turbo. Then the day after that, start your controlled, progresive, comeback training efforts.
No matter what your last session was, you go back to it and you choose the Grey Week version of that session. Which in this case would be the single 20 minute FTP effort at 250 watts.
The outcome of this session will tell you how you are doing, and if you need to re-align your expectations for getting back in to the groove. If all is good (it's a relative term), you're safe to dive back in.
The next step, is to reset the start date, on the penultimate page of your programme to align and pick up the sessions from the Green Week. Not with the aim of hitting the top performance at the first go, but with the aim of being back on track within a couple of weeks.
Which, if you look a the blue line in the chart above, you will see is easily doable. Within a month you wouldn't even know you've been away. Apart from maybe a fading sun tan...
Everything in moderation, you can't claw back a weeks holiday with a weeks double hard training. Sadly, (and luckily) life isn't that simple.
You could end up like this...
Roy having a Ramp Test, before he went on holiday!