CwP coaching philosophies:
– A coaching relationship is finite: cycling is a complex, ideological, intricate sport. Your coach paints a picture of this landscape through his perspective, which guides your training and other aspects of event preparation. This perspective will influence how you think in the sport in many ways. However, after a period of time, you will have learned most or all of what you will from a particular coach. Sometimes, an athlete will grow and learn more in their long term career if they change coaches every so often. The period of optimal productivity may be as few as one or many seasons. Thus, it is possible there will be a period of time where one or both of us feels that it is appropriate for you to move on to other coaching. This will be a normal and healthy part of the evolution of our relationship.
– Regarding training effort: if you are attempting to complete a workout and you really have to force yourself to do it, something needs to be examined. During the hardest, most productive training periods of my career, I never felt as though I had to force myself to do what I did. In fact, during times when I did force myself through a block of training or even a single workout, the results were never what I wanted. Hard work and dedication are required to achieve a high level of success at any task, but there is a fine line between hard work and unnaturally coerced training. There are many potential motivations which could drive an athlete to force themselves to do something they should not.
– Conversely, hard workouts should be very hard. On days in which you are healthy, motivated, fresh and ready to rock, training should be very demanding. Your hard days will be very hard, and your easy days will be not only very easy, but days in which you take care of yourself and facilitate recovery.
– Quality vs. Quantity: generally speaking, I have come to believe that less is more in training, with an exception made for ProTour level athletes. When I prescribe a concentrated block of endurance training, it usually comes in relatively short but very productive cycles (typically 9-12 days). When I recommend intervals, I always prefer that the rider perform every interval with the highest possible quality as the first priority, and complete the recommended number of intervals only if it is possible to maintain that quality throughout every repetition. If the intensity of the interval drops, it is time to be done. Performing VO2 intervals at sub-VO2 power levels does not get you what we are looking for from the workout.
– Change is as good as, or better than, a break: in my experience, very few riders are ever over trained in the clinical sense. What they actually are is sick of doing the same thing over and over. By making some basic changes at key times in a rider’s program, we can enable them to keep training through a period in which they normally would take a rest. A very important key to maintaining freshness and longevity in a rider’s career (both annually and long term) is to provide a changing stimulus. This may mean that at times, the training recommendations I make are unconventional. If a rider really has the drive to make it to the highest levels of the sport, they must accept that cycling is a repetitious sport that requires large volumes of work to be truly competitive.
– Follow an examined path: I feel that the most effective way to help my athletes reach their potential is to be receptive to new information, input, techniques, equipment and philosophies all the time. The sport of cycling, and athletics in general, are always changing and evolving, and to not change with the sport is to remain stagnant and not maximize potential.
– Training programs are recommendations, not requirements: when I send you a training plan, it is my expert opinion. This does not mean it is cast in stone. If you have questions, suggestions, or what I sent you does not work for you, let me know and tell me why. I respect your input into the training I have written, but ultimately you know your body better than anyone, so don’t let me forget it.
– Train your weakness, race your strength: this advice may sound cliché, but I think it is a valid training idea. Cycling is somewhat unique among sports in that it requires proficiency in many different athletic qualities, including but not limited to; speed, strength (or maximum force), aerobic endurance and anaerobic capacity. Part of effective coaching is understanding what the specific requirements of your chosen event are, which of those qualities are natural strengths and which require emphasis in training. Without this analysis, a rider will be ineffective at actualizing their potential.