The above photo of "spinscan" found on computrainer is meant to illustrate why you might find yourself doing the one legged spin drill once a week for a speed skill workout on the bike. Until I finally got computrainer I never realized how much I was still mashing down on my downward pedal stroke. I actually took pride in having a powerful downstroke. Little did I know that as I mashed I also crashed...so to speak because I was wasting so much energy. I was not applying an even amount of force throughout the pedal stroke and this became very apparent once I finally found myself on the computrainer. After analyzing my own pedal stroke with spin scan. I found a whole new meaning to the one legged pedalling workout and now find myself focusing on my upstroke constantly. Once you begin to focus on eliminating your dead spots within your pedal stroke you will start to realize how much easier it is to maintain a higher power output with less energy. You really don't need a computrainer to work on your pedal stroke but it is quite beneficial to get on one for a workout or two just to see what it means to be applying equal force to the pedals.
If you want to add rocket fuel to your dreams then start focusing on goal setting. Setting goals, no matter what aspect of your life, has been proven to get you there faster and more efficiently. The same holds true in athletics. However, setting goals is not quite as easy as it may appear at first glance. There are different types of goals. Outcome Goals? Performance Goals? Weekly Goals? Three Month Goals? where do they fit in and how does one make sense of it all. Getting to the real essence of why you do what you do and defining that in your own personal terms is the seed of lasting motivation and peace of mind. Then, deciding on what it is that you really want to accomplish is the sunshine that makes the seed grow. Then you have to do the work of watering the seed every day and analyzing and measuring progress. As with any development, change is part of the process and as one grows towards a better understanding of their dreams, goals, and aspirations things become more clear. Distractions lessen. Focus becomes a normal state of being. Success happens as you define it to be. Just as a coach can help you with your training plan to reach your athletic/fitness goals, a coach must also listen and allow the athlete to define what those goals are and mean to you. In this case the sum of the parts (Training Plan & Goal Setting) are greater than the whole. Setting goals as they pertain to you (not the coach) is where real progress develops. Click here for an illustration of "how goal-setting works"
Taking those small steps towards a better diet, more rest, consistant training, less stress, and better overall life functioning will not only make you a better endurance athlete...it will also make you a happier one.
Please click to enlarge the above photo. This is meant to illustrate the usefulness of WKO+ analysis for your critical workouts and all races. The above picture is an example of the type of file you would receive if you were to request a workout or race anaylsis as a Balanced Training Solutions coached athlete. In order to create a file such as the one above, it is necessary for the athlete to have a device that measures power on the bike (ie. Power Tap) and/or a device that measures pace and heart rate on the run (ie. Garmin Edge 305). The above illustration is a track workout file I completed on myself to demonstrate the difference WKO+ can make in guiding training development. When looking at the above photo you will see a series of 5 intervals of 9 minutes in length with a one minute rest interval between each to be run at 1/2 marathon race pace. What is important to look at is how the subject's heart rate responds to pace and duration. In this case, it is evident that the first interval is a bit fast, which is typical of most first intervals. The subject was unable to maintain this pace on the subsequent intervals, however, heart rate was below lactate threshold for interval #1. The next interval's pace drops off by 20 +or- seconds which indicates pace is regressing to a more realistic level. Then on the next three intervals the pace stabilizes at 7 min. 24 seconds which is the pace this subject should shoot for in future interval training sessions of this type. Notice that heart rate stabilizes as well at around 161 beats per minute which also indicates that this pace is appropriate up to the 5th interval. However, if heart rate were to continue to increase it would indicate that the pace may still be too fast if this subject's goal was to remain below lactate threshold. The usefulness that this information provides is that it allows the coach to not just prescribe workouts but actually see minute by minute how those workouts are executed and the subjects response to the workouts. In this case it would be advised for the subject to stick to a pace of 7 min 30 seconds on this workout in the future. If in the future heart rate drops then the pace may be increased, indicating the subject has been adapting quite well to training stress.