Tag Archives — Writing

Banish Race Day Nerves

One of my latest articles on MapMyRide/MyFitnessPal is on race nerves and how to optimize your ‘excitement’ for race day.

It goes through visualization techniques, avoiding common mistakes that ‘back of the pack’ riders make, developing a routine and training for Race demands.

Remember the goal is not to avoid being nervous but to focus your energy on the elements you can control and reduce the number of things you have left to chance or that you are unfamiliar with by preparing for the event and its demands.

Check it out in Full on MapMyRun 

How to Train For Cycling Indoors

You may live in a sunny area with no rain or snow or frigid temperatures. But for the rest of us there is a yearly shift in our training patterns as inclement weather pushes us indoors. There are many reasons you might want to include some indoor training into your routine even if you ‘skip’ winter. This article helps you make the most of your indoor time.

Embrace the chance to ride indoors. There are many advantages to the isolation of the pedaling technique in the absence of (much) balance, traffic or wind. I compare the indoor trainer to a batting-cage or punching-bag. It is not the real sport but it lets you work on an element of the game. For cyclists the element of pedaling against resistance is important, why not isolate it?

Don’t ride like you ride outside
If you ‘just sit there’ you will be bored in approximately 59 seconds, the time it takes to make sure your garmin is setup and the James Bond Movie is at the perfect volume. Rather you *MUST* have a purpose for the ride. While I am not a fan of videos and ‘turn your brain off’ suffer videos (more below), whatever tools you use you should have a purpose for relating to your limiters/goals and should be broken into mini-blocks (intervals). The warm-up, main-workout and cooldown are a basic three-part ride. There can be more divisions but knowing you have 20 minutes of ramping up slowly to a goal Heart Rate over 20 minutes, a 20 minute ‘threshold’ interval and then a 20 minute cool-down with some high-RPM and one-leg work will pass the 1 hour much nicer than staring at a 1 hour timer.

More on Structuring Your Ride
There are some workouts that don’t work as well on the indoor trainer but some that are much better. Why not use the indoor trainer for those things you can’t do outside? You can do a long(ish) endurance ride or cross-train for most of your endurance work but intervals are very nice on a trainer because you have a chance to really dial in the intensity and be steady without concern for cars or other riders. Low RPM, High RPM, One-Leg and short but very hard intervals are great on the trainer.

One-Leg (Isolated Leg) and high cadence drills are common on the trainer because they work really well there (and they break up the time/loading). While the pedal stroke aspect is generally good the bigger reason to do the one leg especially is to learn to interact with your bike in varied situations. If you find yourself falling over on the road/trail, failing to unclip, don’t know what ‘outrigger’ or ‘tripod’ means and/or dread clipping in to start a race then you should do a bunch of one-leg this winter.

Take it Easy, Get some Numbers 
Not every ride needs to be long and/or a suffer-festival. Include a couple of  30 minute spins in your week. Do it as a ramp ‘test’. 5 minute stages progressing from 45% FTP up to 70% at end of the 30 minutes. The time goes by fast and you get a mini test of how your HR:Power is progressing. If you don’t suffer everyday you can better work hard and effectively on your limiters a couple times a week without burning out or getting injured. Those hard days should be progressive and be repeatable soon after, if it is so hard you are getting nausea or tasting blood you will be mentally burnt come race season, if not before. save it for race day (note you still work hard just don’t have to be ‘max’ all the time).

Be Cool
Have a big fan. This is important. Use a fan and consider a cold room or garage for your training areas. You likely need a bigger fan. While heat adaptation is a possible intervention for indoor trainer it will definitely make the time FEEL harder and drop your performance (this happens at altitude or in hot environments). It amazes me how many athletes skip the fan but really want their power to increase indoors.

Take a Break
You can get off periodically. Think of how often you coast, soft-pedal, stop to pee, stop for lights, stop for coffee on outdoor-rides. It is ok to stop and do a few strength/mobility motions, go to washroom, refill a bottle, answer the phone. Don’t do it all the time but divide any long-ish rides you do like this and the time goes much quicker and your butt will thank you.

You Don’t Eat an Elephant Whole (or something like that)
The biggest mistake is thinking about the 3 hour workout you have planned. Put your shorts on and get on the bike, starting is the important part.

Use the lap timer not the ride timer. This is a common mistake, the lap timer is important and will make your interval work better. It also prevents you from thinking about the ride as a 2 hour ride. Rather do 15 minute laps broken up by 10 push-ups or coordination drills.

Don’t be so Hard on Yourself
The Trainer is very hard. If you are saying ‘should’ it will make you stressed out. If you have an interval you want to do, ease into it and do what you can on the day. This applies almost always but especially on the trainer where the unrelenting resistance can really clamp down on you quickly if you are a bit fatigue and pushing more than you have on a given day.

Want more great thoughts to make your training better? Have Questions about Training, Nutrition or more awkward questions like Saddle Sores?

Join us on one or all of 3 Nights/Venues = Trek Store Toronto (Tues Dec 6) OR Aurora (Dec 7) OR Barrie (Thurs Dec 8) 2016

A free event! Please bring friends and your questions

Sign up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1289415717746062/


Smart Athlete in the news and in the blog-o-sphere

Check out these articles that have been written about or featuring Smart Athlete in the last few WeeksDirk Sorenson on Leadville and how one might change their approach after several years at an event. Ideas on doing it self coached and with a coach. Some great tips from Dirk, check out his site.

Lady Lean on How traditional Low Carb and Paleo Ideas might fit into Endurance Training and Health.


Canadian Cyclist on Integrating a Paleo / Evolutionary Framework into an Endurance Cyclist’s Training.


Canadian Cycling Mag. Interview about Paleo Template in Endurance Athletes ( They would have great tempura)

    I finally found the article that Canadian Cycling Mag and Cheryl Madinger put together from an interview we did in the fall on the art of being Paleo while being an Elite Endurance Athlete. I have had several compliments from it and even a few  people who were inspired to give it a try, so super job and many thanks to C.C.Mag for letting me spout off about sweet potatoes and other kooky things.


    For clarity/disclosure/addendum, I personally use Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Magnesium at the moment (not fish oil or Vit D), I am not positive what I said on the phone so will call my bad on that. I avoid Gluten from all sources. I use white rice and organic corn occasionally if we are out for Mexican or sushi but mostly just to supplement carbohydrate when training load is high and 10+ sweet potatoes is too much. During rides I use maltodextrin based powders/gels for intense and/or long rides as well as BCAA and sea salt/electrolytes, the occasional ‘Jenny’s Macaroon’ finds its way into ride food as well. I consume limited Nuts/seeds and fruit  but this is not to say they are bad or to be avoided by everyone everyday.   Most people, on most days will get enough calories from a more normal paleo template (meat + veggies + fruit + good fats) .  The message that you do not have to be perfect and that everyone’s ‘template’ will be different was/is my primary message and this was captured well in the article.

Please let me know if I can help you in your journey or if the article sparks any questions/ideas.

  **follow me on twitter – If I can get 30 more followers I will begin tweeting and sharing ideas to help you up your paleo and/or endurance game **

Going paleo

By Cheryl Madliger – Published February 1, 2013

If your choice for pre-race nutrition tends to be linguine or rigatoni, Peter Glassford’s nutritional approach might shock you. The Collingwood, Ont.-based cycling coach and Trek Canada Mountain Bike Race Team member uses an ancestral diet omitting grains, dairy and legumes to fuel himself and his athletes. Extreme or not, Glassford’s diet is working for him. He is the Canadian record holder at the Leadville 100 and the 2012 Ontario provincial crosscountry champion. His approach to nutrition is based on the Paleo diet. It’s something cycling coach Joe Friel often recommends. In The Paleo Diet for Athletes, Friel and co-author Loren Cordain, the original expert on the Paleo diet, explain things simply.
“The essential dietary principles of The Paleo Diet for Athletes are straightforward: you can eat as much lean meat, poultry, seafood, fresh fruit and veggies as you like,” the book says. “Foods that are not part of the modernday Paleolithic fare include cereal grains, dairy products, high-glycemic fruits and vegetables, legumes, alcohol, salty foods, fatty meats, refined sugars, and nearly all processed foods.”
As Glassford explains it, the approach is about maximizing nutrition, which in turn maximizes performance. “The Paleo diet is basically the use of an evolutionary framework to establish an optimal diet and lifestyle for an individual, starting with the most nutrient dense and non-problematic foods. Start thinking about your food in terms of nutrient density,” he says. “What do you get for each calorie?”
Grains, dairy and legumes – which some suggest we’re not fully adapted to – are considered problematic. They’re also less nutrient dense than foods emphasized in the Paleo diet, making them less optimal choices. For example, rather than a pouring a meat sauce over bed of pasta, someone following the Paleo diet might add it to abowl of veggies, such as spaghetti squash or zucchini. According to Nicole Springle, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Toronto, the Paleo diet is growing in popularity. Springle admits, however, that without grains, legumes or dairy, meeting nutrient requirements could be challenging, but not impossible. “You can satisfy dietary requirements without these foods, but it requires careful planning and supplementation,” she says. “Most individuals don’t realize the amount of careful selection of food required to meet their dietary needs.”
(read more at Canadian Cycling Mag)