Help with climbing clinic outline

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Sthenic, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. Sthenic

    Sthenic New Member

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    I'm an amateur bike racer that focuses on climbs. I've had some success and I've been asked to give a clinic on climbing for club members plus the general riding public. Now, I have a pretty good idea how to train myself and I need to put into words what I think will help other people. I'm doing a practice speech for some firefighter friends this week before the big one. Um, and public speaking is not my forté.
    Okay, so here's my outline of things I'd like to cover. It's rough, but if you could point out something that is missing, or wrong, I would greatly appreciate it.
    Thanks,
    Darien

    Climbing

    The basics of climbing? Weight, power and knowing how to use it.

    Personal experience – started as a non climber and thought it's a good start. If I could do well climbing I thought I would do better at races.
    Again, the main areas to improve your climbing. Power (FTP), weight & pacing. What should you focus on? Power takes continuous work, weight takes some restraint and pacing can give you benefits right now. They are all important, but best to work on your weakest area first.

    I'll cover stuff I think is important. What do you think is? Is there something you think would help you? My opinion...

    After each section I'd like to take a few questions while we are on the topic.

    Perception of effort vs. reality. Starting out without a power meter, it's very difficult to judge your effort. Skilled time trialers can pace themselves well without, but a good number of people I see climbing are off considerably. Typically start off to hard.

    Outline

    1: Training
    a. for a particular climb
    There are different training strategies for different climbs. Steady, varied, long, short. You should have some idea of the type of climbing you would like to improve on. Kitt Peak/Graham difference.
    b. for a particular length
    Stress certain intervals over others. I typically do three types of intervals, but tend to work harder on intervals that match the type of climbs I'll be doing.
    b. what is ftp
    effectively the pace you can hold for an hour. Sort of a tipping point between what you can hold and what you can't.
    c. intervals
    Short, four minute. Good for changing pace/recovery. Power climbs. More of a typical road race climb.
    Medium 12-20 minute. Good for raising your threshold pace. Doing well on those longer climbs.
    Long 90 minute+. Climbing endurance. Also threshold pace. Interval of one. Good for endurance over many repeated climbs or climbing time trial.
    Different types of workouts help you do more hard workouts a week, even while working on the same goal.
    Work up to longer and more repeats of intervals. Small gains.
    d. eating
    What & when. Carbs in the morning & right after rides. Vegetable/protein evening. The more intense the ride, the smaller breakfast I eat.
    Eat while doing workouts. I prefer non solid foods.
    e. weight
    Why is it important (time example?)? How much can you loose? I've lost weight with a consistent diet change and more radical quick losses.
    f. standing
    You should work at it if you like it.
    g. core training
    I personally do mine while on the bike. Large gear riding, standing workouts.
    h. Strength
    Large gear riding - goes to core training as well. One workout a week.
    i. Rest
    Rest after rides, between rides. Limited hard efforts in one week.
    j. Pacing
    At the least start paying attention to mile marker times, efforts on different grades. To hard at the beginning of a workout means you aren't working hard enough at the end of your workout.

    2: Practical
    a. taking advantage of sections
    Importance of at least paying attention to change in gradients. Small gains in time, keeping speed while recovering.
    b. carrying speed
    Worth the extra effort at times. Why it pays to know your climb.
    c. pacing
    Negative splits, but why? Less pain early means able to take more later. To hard early costs to much later.
    d. aerodynamics?
    Is it important? I think about 15 mph is the crossover point. I've tried aerobars, elbows on the handlebars, or just lowering my head. Comfort is important.
    e. standing
    How much does it cost? Don't accelerate (unless for a good reason). Steeper climbs can be equivalent to seated.
    f. warmup
    Sprints (openers). Higher cadence and downhills work for me. Something better than nothing and good practice for an event warmup.

    3: Event prep
    a. how much rest. Unfortunately different things for different people, but here's my schedule.
    b. eating
    Don't change. Eat in events what you eat during training.
     
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  2. Sthenic

    Sthenic New Member

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    My "practice" speech is tomorrow so I'd still appreciate any comments even if it's to say it's basically okay. I'm mostly trying to give some training structure to a variety of people, many of whom don't have power meters or even heart rate monitors.
    Thanks,
    Darien
     
  3. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    If it was just a plain training clinic then you have the bones of the subject matter - but for just climbing it's a bit overkill.

    All there really is to climbing is, power, weight and pain.

    Power - more of it.

    Weight - less of it.

    Desire - willingness to suffer.

    Technique - in the saddle or out. Maybe show a video of some of the top climbers during key moments - Pantani setting the Alpe Dhuez record. Lance climbing up the Alpe, Luz Ardiden etc... Luis Herrera, Iban Mayo, Contador/Rassmusen. Contrast these 'out of the saddle' styles with videos from bigger riders like Indurain, Theunisse, Merckx or even Mr Chicken Peck - Robert Millar.

    Talk a bit about gearing and learning how to figure out what the best cadence/gearing is for you 'at this point in time'.

    If you're in a hot climate then maybe something on cooling and hydration.

    Of course, once you get to the top you gotta get down... and in my experience more people need help with going down hill fast and safetly.
     
  4. Andrija

    Andrija Member

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    Psychological aspect of climbing should be mentioned, in my opinion. Very often cyclists are discouraged by the fact that they aren't going as well as they've planned. That brings crisis earlier than expected and crisis lasts longer. Concentration and measured effort depending on how well you know the climb and own abilities are crucial. It's better to start slow and to increase the tempo depending on sensations, than to start ambitiously and get in red before you've planned. Rising tempo brings huge motivation, while falling tempo brings defeatism. Cyclists shouldn't be shy to spin lower gears, if they need - they always can shift to higher one.
    Personally, I love to push bigger gears, but my experience is that higher cadence has stimulative effect, it feels really good to spin fluently, gives impression that climb isn't that steep and hard.
    As you've mentioned, Sthenic, weight is important aspect. It's not just physical thing, it's psychological too, 'cause climbing is fighting with invisible enemy - gravity.
     
  5. Sthenic

    Sthenic New Member

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    Got it. Much appreciated. I should mention something about hydration as I do pay a lot of attention to that as well. Helpful for training as well as racing. Technique – I'm using a blackboard, but I'll see what I can do. Cadence – will do. Andrija – I think you are talking about pacing which I do think is important and will spend some time on. Both for events and for training.
    Thanks,
    Darien
     
  6. Bailsibub

    Bailsibub New Member

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    One thing you might want to add....

    It's better from a power perspective to hit the steeper parts of a climb harder, as you will be traveling slower and there will be less air resistance. Some people hit the shallower sections harder, where they will have to put out much more power to go just a little bit faster (again, due to air resistance), which isn't optimal.
     
  7. Sthenic

    Sthenic New Member

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    Thanks again. It went pretty well. Never thought I could talk about hill climbing for over an hour. I don't think I'll be quite so nervous for the real one.
     
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