By Ron Berry P.T., PHASE IV Director of Rehab Services
Self confidence can be very powerful when working towards a goal. Recently, I recall listening to students talk about their final exams. The students who seemed to be prioritizing their school work throughout the school term had more confidence going in to finals week, and no surprise they were the students who came back saying that they did well. This is a similar situation as when one prepares for a challenging athletic event. Do your homework it will make you feel good!
For the past 2 months I have been preparing for a week long bicycle tour in France put on by the bicycle tour company, InGamba. The tour culminates with an ascent of Mt. Ventoux on August 4th. The week will have 5 days of climbing more than 3600 feet. The final day up Ventoux will have 5200 feet of climbing. This is much more climbing than I'll have ever done in a week. It was daunting initially but recently I have been developing confidence that I'll be able to really enjoy the week of riding. It's a confidence that I feel I’ve earned and it feels good.
What led to this confidence? Good preparation and following a plan based on science has helped me see several signs along the way that I'm getting ready. Last week I entered the build phase of my training in which I'm putting in multiple days of significant climbing. On the second ride of the week with 3200 feet of climbing in 30 miles, one of the signs that buoyed my confidence revealed itself. I was able to climb one of the more challenging climbs in the Santa Monica Mountains, Latigo Canyon, in a time that I hadn’t done in several years. For the past few years I’ve tried to make it to the first summit, the driveway of the big copper dome roof, in the same time as my age. It’s been a very reasonable goal for my level of fitness the past few years. I made it in 42 minutes last week, 8 minutes faster than last year. And, even more important, I felt great the rest of the ride, and that evening, and the next morning. It was a nice bump of confidence going into another week of building climbing strength and endurance, per my Phase IV training plan.
My PHASE IV Training Plan
My Phase IV training plan started with a VO2 Analysis which gave me a heart rate zone to ride in during the earlier phase of my training. Even though I was working towards a goal with many miles and feet of climbing, my initial rides were 18-20 miles and mostly flat and in a relatively low heart rate zone, per my VO2 analysis . This allowed me to train my body to access my fat as my primary fuel source. Trusting that riding slow and flat was a good strategy to achieve my goal of becoming a climber was like doing homework, not especially fun and exciting and at times difficult to trust. I was also doing strength training exercises to improve my core and hamstrings consistently. Doing my homework in the base training phase has allowed me to feel confident now in my build phase. My physiology has been prepared, my legs and spine are stronger and I have grown accustomed to being in the saddle for over 2 hours, so my training plan will progress my rides to be longer and with more climbing. The training plan will also include pre determined short periods of rest and recovery.
It’s the confidence that I've developed in my riding and the trust and confidence that I have in my training plan that will allow me to appreciate the recovery days, not always easy to do when you feel the goal is fast approaching.
Confidence is a beautiful thing and definitely helps lead to success, especially when it's a confidence born of putting in good work that is based on scientific analysis. Like Stephen Curry shooting thousands of jump shots in the offseason allows him to throw up ridiculously far 3 pointers knowing they're going to go in, I intend to arrive in France feeling confident that I’ll have done what I need to do to have a great week long tour of challenging riding.
For more information on Phase IV training plans, strength training for cyclists, and effective recovery methods please contact Phase IV. For more more information on bike tours put on by InGamba go to ingamba.pro.