article by Anthony Walsh, A1 Coaching
I am on a mission to dispel the culture of disinformation that has built up around training principles and philosophies.
Over a coming series of articles I am going to take you step by step on a transformation from the rider that you are to one who is maximising his or her available training time to fulfil your true potential.
We are all looking for a way to get more speed with less effort; a way to get more return on our hourly training investment.
The answer isn’t to repeat the same preparatory steps from last season and hope for a different result.
Too many riders are riding around without asking the ‘Why?’ questions:
If you are time crunched – balancing work, family and relationships with cycling – you need to start asking these hard questions.
Our time is valuable so it’s important that we learn to maximise the fitness return on our training investment.
Over the coming series or blog-posts and videos I’m going to reveal a step-by-step formula for success.
If you follow these steps I’ve no doubt you’ll be more likely to achieve your targets next season.
Through working with a countless number of athletes over the past few years, I’ve seen common trends in the mistakes that athletes make.
From this experience, and drawing from the most up-to-date research, I am going to teach you those strategies and techniques which will make you a better rider.
At A1 Coaching, we know that these strategies work. The topics covered will include:
Setting your Training Zones and Using them Properly
Most athletes are riding around at the same speed all the time or using flawed metrics like average speed or Strava for judging improvements. You will learn how to set and use the correct zones for training.
Periodize your Season
Your season should be broken into different periods of training to hit your priority events in the best form. You will learn about the preparation phase, base phase, build phase, specific phase, race phase and taper phase.
Get the most out of your Training Time by Utilising Intensity
Our body needs training stress to make a physiological adaptation (take it up a level and get fitter). I am going to show you the best way to increase your training stress so that you can achieve the same results in 8 hour’s training as your peers who are doing 15.
Get Free Speed through Technique Drills.
A proportion of riders are throwing away free speed by ineffective pedal stroke. I will outline how an even application of force over 360 degrees can bring you significant increases in power.
Set Effective Goals
Effective goal setting is a key part of preparation and I will discuss how goal setting, incorporating visualisation, will pull you towards that goal and act as extrinsic motivation through a long season.
Get Faster while Doing Nothing by Adopting Cutting Edge Recovery Strategies
Hard training only allows for the possibility of increased levels of fitness. Increased fitness only happens after we ‘absorb’ the training and I will outline some of the best ways of doing this through the best recovery strategies.
Embrace the intensity revolution.
If you like this article and want to know more about building a perfect winter base program, click here A1 Coaching for free access to A1 Coaching’s Winter Training Video Series.
Anthony Walsh is the founder and Director of A1 Coaching.
He grew up in a house enveloped by a love of cycling and it became a core part of his life from an early age. Anthony’s father was a bike mechanic and his apprenticeship began at an early age, working on bikes long into the night in a makeshift garage in the family home.
Anthony’s father was also a true fan of the sport and Anthony absorbed a love and appreciation for the sport that would one day turn into his profession.
Initially the bike was a tool of utility for transport. As a child, it allowed Anthony to explore beyond the boundaries of his local neighbourhood and expand his horizons. This, in time, led to summer-long romances and life-long friendships. The initial tool for transport would later morph into a means by which Anthony would earn his living.
Anthony took up cycling competitively in his early 20s as a student in University College Dublin (UCD) – a string of injuries had ended a long soccer career that included an All-Ireland Winners’ medal with Bohemians Football Club.
After a degree in Economics, Anthony’s academic career changed focus and he turned his attention to Law. He earned an MA in Law and a Barrister at Law Degree from The Honorable Society of Kings Inns.
Anthony excelled on the domestic cycling scene while balancing the demands of full-time study and his performances acted as the springboard to a professional career. He would go on to compete for the Irish National team and sign contracts in France with Division Nationale Team, Super U; in Canada with Jet Fuel Coffee, and in the US with Astellas Oncology Pro Cycling.
Anthony’s academic background gave him a particular perspective which helped him to learn within the professional environment. He fostered relationships, worked with top coaches and respected directors, and interacted with some of the world’s top riders against whom he competed. He soaked up the knowledge gained from these experiences while also studying everything he could find on up-to-day scientific training methods.
The analysis of all this input, viewed through his academic lens, gave Anthony a unique perspective and insight into top athletes’ successful training and conditioning regimes.
By 2011 Anthony had begun to advise friends in a structured way on how to prepare for events. Word soon began to spread about the successes gained on the back of his advice. In this way Anthony had, unintentionally, made the first steps in establishing a professional coaching service.
As the demand for his services grew, Anthony envisioned a coaching and mentoring approach based on the best available scientific evidence, combined with a high-level of practical experience and common sense. This would be blended with sensitivity to the unique physiology, ambition and life circumstances of every individual, and also respect cycling’s rich heritage, culture and handed-down wisdoms.
When his professional career ended due to injury, Anthony set aside his legal career to establish A1 Coaching based on this vision, and to return to domestic racing with his old UCD club.
The results were nothing short of astounding: National Road Racing Champions and Triathlon Age Group Winners as examples. He has advanced the career of every athlete he has touched and riders in his stable are achieving their ambitions and winning races all over the world.
As the business grew, Anthony recruited a team of coaches which would bring as broad a spectrum of expertise and experience as possible. While each coach brings a particular perspective and unique experiences, each shares the vision and approach that Anthony articulates for A1 Coaching.
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