Wild Rockies Race Team Training Tips

Authors: Lorien Lightfield & Fritz Stafford

Published: March, 13, 2015

How much to train?


This depends on your goals and time constraints.


This is the general question that is detailed in the following specific questions. However, my perspective is maximizing competiveness of amateur racers with the minimum amount of training time investment.

How many training days per week versus rest days?


3-5 training days, 4-2 rest days per week


Age: The older you are the more likely you are to need consecutive rest days.

Bike Minimum1 long & 1 interval (contrived or disguised)

Cross-Training Alternatives: Yoga, Running, Hiking Hills, Super-set Weights or Exercises, Cardio-Machines in the Gym, Skate Skiing, Back-Country Skiing

Rest Day Alternatives: Yin Yoga, Spin w. Children, Walk Dog, Downhill Skiing, I-rest Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Bike Maintenance or Nothing (anything to decrease stress).

Companion Strength Building: Lunges, Russian Leg Curls, Kegels, Side Planks


As implied in the Training Intro page, you must first become an adherent to a regular exercise schedule prior to taking the next step to training to become competitive. This requires making your exercise schedule your top priority, and sticking to it for the long term, year around.

A regular exercise schedule consists of 4 exercise days per week of ~1 hour workouts at ~70% of heart rate maximum for 10 minutes of warm-up, 80% of heart rate maximum for 45 minutes, and 5 minutes of cool-down at ~70% of your heart rate maximum. A good schedule is Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday.

It will take a year of this for your metabolism to become that of a “regular exerciser”, and this is pre-requisite to training to become competitive.

You will notice less difficulty in pushing to and holding your heart rate maximum for longer periods, you will see your heart rate recover more quickly when you back-off from 100% efforts, and your resting heart rate will decrease. You will also be able to do more work (i.e., go faster, more watts / calories/hour) at the same heart rate. Hence, keeping a log of a once per week resting heart rate measurement (i.e., upon awakening, before getting out of bed) and “time trial” on the same “course” (or machine) is an excellent way to monitor progress.

Training to become competitive initially consists of moving up to 5 exercise days per week of ~1.5  hour workouts at ~75% of heart rate maximum for 10 minutes of warm-up, 90% of heart rate maximum for 1.25 hours, and 5 minutes of cool-down at 75% of heart rate maximum. This is approximately a 1000 calorie workout. If you have time, it is optimal to replace one of these 1.5 hour workouts with a “Long Slow Distance”, LSD, workout of ~3 hours at ~80% of heart rate maximum, and do not neglect the weekly time trial and log.

A good competitive training schedule is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday for 9 to 10 months, and then allow an off-season of 2 to 3 months with only four ~1.0 – 1.5 hour workouts per week. This competitive training schedule should enable competitive performance in races with durations up to ~2 hours. For longer duration “Marathon” and “Ultra Endurance Marathon”, more emphasis on LSD training is required (click the “LSD Training” menu item).

How Long to Train?


3-24 hours a week

How Hard to Train?


Minimum: 1 hard short day & 1 easy long day per week. More specific training information depends on your goals and current state of fitness.

Always do a warm up. SUPER low HR for 10 mins then slowly ramp it up taking 5-30 mins to warm up depending on other activities you have done for the day. If you are meeting for a group ride, do your warm-up before the ride and then be kind to your riding buddies that didn’t do a warm up.

What is my heart rate maximum?


This is a pace you can sustain for a short period of time. It is also a heart rate you have to recover from. The higher the elevation the longer the recovery. You can train your body to recover quickly after hitting this zone. HR Max is individualized and can be assessed by a coach, personally by using an interval technique (not as reliable) and by following your HR on a monitor during the training and racing season.


You may have heard the original 1962 Surgeon General’s formula, heart rate maximum = 220 – age. This is for people that do not work out regularly, and under-states heart rate maximum for those 50+. Dr Douglas Seals’ formula, heart rate maximum = 208 – 0.7*age, has become widely accepted as a starting point.

Here is a web link comparing various heart rate maximum and Lactic Threshold formulas for a 59 year old, http://www.digifit.com/heartratezones/maximum-heart-rate.asp?Age=59

Here is another web link that also includes heart rate max and VO2max discussions with considerations for various types of exercise and corrections for us more elderly elite athletes, http://www.brianmac.co.uk/maxhr.htm

Note these heart rate maximum formulas are an approximate starting point, your heart rate maximum will increase with training (after at least a year), and stress test is needed to determine heart rate maximum more accurately.

How to recognize over-training?


Bitchyness. Seriously!

You can also take your resting HR every morning when you wake up. If your HR rate jumps 4-6 beats higher than normal you are on the brink of over-training and need to take the day off and decrease any stress you may have in your life. If you are really tired but your morning resting HR is normal, then complete your workout for the day but decrease the duration of the workout and make sure you are getting enough veggies and protein. Once you have over-trained you are in a very bad place and it takes weeks, months and sometimes years to recover from.


Negative progress on weekly time trial. Unable to maintain same pace at same heart rate, heart rate increases to maintain same pace. Heart rate recovery after backing-off from 100% effort takes longer. Constant tiredness. No desire for training.

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