- I always use a power meter. In all my rides. Not only helps me to understand how I'm progressing but also gives a fair clue on how to control training load, that is how hard should I train and how much should I rest/recover (see point 3).
- I have a plan. Towards the end of the year I write down a draft plan for the whole season and them I change and adapt it when life gets in the way. My plan has one main objective (L'etape de la Defonce) and two secondary objectives (Milan-San Remo and Millie Miglia). Everything else goes around these objectives.
- I try to control how my training load evolves. I use CTL, ATL and TSB to track my progress. For this year I have a target CTL I want to be in the third week of June and based on that I have a target training load for each week that started very low in January but it is increasing slowly to peak early June. 2015 was a funny year for me, but here is my 2014 PMC chart and the analysis I do at the end of the year.
- I think recovery. I like to believe that I follow the pattern of three weeks of training load increase and one week easing off but life (travelling in particular) comes into play and I end up planing my daily training sessions for each week one or two weeks in advanced. I tend to be very detailed on what each session is going to be, I even assign a target TSS for each session. Still I always have the question "how am I going to recover? in mind"
- Turbo is my friend. 2 or 3 Turbo sessions a week. Mostly 4x8mins with 2mins recovery at maximum sustained intensity for the whole session seems to be the best time/effort/improvement combination for most (see From polarized to optimized) but moving towards under/over threshold, winter loops, afternoons in the hills as my training load needs to increase or races are approaching.
- I try to be consistent. This is the most difficult part for me. Family, work, did I mention travelling? seems to be always in the way. It also appears to me my brain is excellent finding excuses to skip training sessions. One it likes particularly is I'm too tired I should skip today's session at the turbo. The way I deal with it is no matter what I go to the turbo. I do the warm-up and give the planned session a try. If it turns out it is true I was tired I fall back to an easy session. My strategy is don't skip sessions just adapt the intensity.
- I use the weekends for longish/hard rides. I can only ride one day in the weekend so I try to make it count. I tend to join rides with riders stronger than me, that gives me an extra motivation.
- I commute on the bike (28km/17miles each way) but almost always is in recovery mode; riding really, really easy, with the idea of saving my legs to smashing it in the next turbo session or training ride. If someone overtakes me I classify the rider as "Faster than me" or "Slower than me", feel happy with my assessment and keep riding easy.
- I read a lot about training/recovery/nutrition. These are topics I really enjoy. I found myself starting with articles in magazines them moving to books and now exploring science papers. Somehow my knowledge about the material (bikes, clothes, etc) is less developed but it is an area I'll make the concious effort to improve on.
- I ride long distances. Not only I enjoy riding Audax events but I have also found that throwing a SR series (200k, 300k, 400k, 600k) helps me to improve a lot. I believe that riding long distances I get better endurance and train my body to recover faster. This allows me to train harder in the 6/8 weeks before my main objective. VaVaVeteran makes the same point here.
Now, looking at this list you could be fooled on to thinking that I have any idea on what I'm doing/saying. Don't get it wrong I'm clearly a chopper and I know it. Data and planning geek yes, but also my results don't sustain all my quackery.
Javier Arias González