This will be my first year riding all seven days of The Tour. Not because I’ve not wanted to do The Tour for many years, but because I was always on a strict triathlon training plan in preparation for a big event in the spring and I didn’t want to compromise my training in other disciplines. This year, I’m going for it. I still have an important race in early May (I hope, but still TBD), but this year I find myself wanting to do things a little differently. I’m trying to incorporate more events and adventures that are different from what I’ve done in the past in order to keep things fresh, interesting, and challenging…and this feels like a fitting challenge! So I’ve come up with some advice for both myself and you- my fellow Sufferlandrians and Wahooligans on how we multi-sport athletes can participate in The Tour of Sufferlandria without compromising our goals or training in other disciplines.
- Most importantly- Choose either the “Focused” or “Get Me Through It” option. There’s no need to go nuclear and completely destroy yourself. That’s a sure-fire way to burn out quickly and will take much longer to recover. These two options allow you to complete the tour, while not compromising your training in other disciplines or future goals.
On the “Focused” Tour plan, some sessions will be set to 100%, and others at reduced intensities based upon your rider weakness profile. If your health is good and you feel that your cycling fitness is strong, then I recommend this option.
On the “Get me through it” plan, all stages will be set at reduced intensities to ensure that you don’t wear yourself down too much too early and can’t complete all 7 days. If you’re concerned about getting worn down and sick, or not as confident in your fitness when it comes to riding for 7 consecutive days, then choose the “Get me through it” option.
Use The Tour as a “bike focus” block. Allow your swimming and running to take a bit of a backseat for the week while you focus your energy on the bike. This bike focused block can give you a boost in bike fitness IF you don’t burn yourself out.
Don’t try to do hard running and swimming workouts during the Tour; focus on technique and fitness maintenance in these disciplines.
- Keep your run sessions short, and include drills and strides to maintain neuromuscular coordination. 2-3 runs from 15-45 minutes will be plenty during Tour week.
- Consider making 1-2 of your runs brick sessions (at an easy run effort); perhaps the shorter or lower intensity Tour sessions. This is great durability training for your running legs and allows you to get the run session over with right away, rather than having to summon the motivation to do it later in the day.
- Use swims as recovery sessions, and maybe swim with a pull buoy, or with paddles AND fins to take some pressure off the legs. Do lots of drills and easy swimming. Some short, fast efforts (25-50yd) are ok to maintain neuromuscular coordination, but give yourself plenty of rest in between.
- This week’s strength goals should be about maintenance, activation, and mobility exercises rather than gaining strength.
- Don’t start a new, more challenging level of strength this week. Either remain at the same level you’ve last completed, scale it back a level, or even fire up the Recovery Week strength sessions instead.
- As the week progresses, you’ll get more fatigued and sore. Before each stage, do a few activation exercises to improve range of motion, get the muscles firing, and maybe even spin easily for 5-15 minutes before hitting play on the stage workout. Or choose one of the yoga Pre-ride activation or mobility workouts.
- Mobility exercises can be done both after a ride to help improve recovery, or before to help improve warmup and readiness for the next stage. Choose a yoga session from the activation or recovery categories based on the area of the body you feel needs it the most. Or do more than one since they’re only 15 minutes each!
- Recovery! Foam roll, massage, compression, stretching, etc. Whatever recovery technique you prefer, use it after every session. If you have multiple, use them all!
- Focus on sleep! Sleep is the best recovery tool of them all, so make it a priority.
- Stay hydrated! Every cell in your body needs water in order to function properly, as well as for you to sweat during the next stage, so stay hydrated with water AND electrolytes!
- After riding each stage, keep the body moving throughout the day to reduce stiffness. Take short, frequent breaks from work- get up from your desk and move around a little, stretch your hips, etc… Especially if you have a swim or run planned later in the day. If you have or can create a standing desk, that’s great. Change positions from sitting to standing frequently. If not, get creative! Move your computer to somewhere you can stand, kneel, or sit on the floor in a pigeon pose- whatever position feels good on the body! I tend to do it even when it’s not Tour week!
If any of you multi-sport athletes have additional suggestions, feel free to add them- after all, we’ve got 4 more days of this glorious suffering!