Saturday, November 19, 2005

A good day - for many reasons

I know this is a cycling blog, and most of you will not be interested in cross country skiing, but I have to mention today's results of the World Cup event in Beitostølen, Norway. Tor Arne Hetland and Marit Bjørgen came in 1st. This promises well for the 2006 Olympics. If you would like to read more, please visit www.langrenn.com. Today was a good day. I ran for 1 hour as a warm-up for a strenght-training session. My body was responding well today, very well. It was one of those days where you are looking, impatiently, for the next hill to climb/run, so that you can use some of the boundless energy you seem to have available. You can feel the body respond well as you increase the pace. I hope to feel the same tomorrow, during my 6 hour ride. The weather has improved a bit and we had a nice day today. Sunny and warm. From one thing to another - Jan Ullrich. The big German. In my opinion, he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, talent of the last decade. Unfortunately, the press seems more interested in his weight and less in his great results. It's hard to say what Jan himself thinks about all the fuss. Chances are he does not even pay attention to it - most successful athletes have the very important ability to focus on the positive things and disregard the negative items. Stressing over negative items only steals away important energy and concentration that could be used towards training and racing. Weight is important in cycling, no doubt about it. Extra weight will result in a greater energy expenditure, especially when climbing. On the other hand, many athletes take this to the extreme by limiting their caloric intake too much. The number one limiter of training is simply "how much you can eat". Of course, the food needs to be correct, but aside from that - the more I can eat, the more I can train. If I restrict my food intake too much, I cannot recover in time for the next session. Many cyclist gain weight in the off-season (winter months), which is ok. But too many cyclists don't try and lose the extra weight until spring arrives. The idea is that the harder training and early season races will lower the weight. This is true, but the problem is that the higher intensity sessions during the spring puts higher caloric demands on the athelete. This is not the time to restrict your intake. A much better approach is to start restricting the caloric intake during the base period(s) before Christmas. Of course, you should not gain much weight in the off-season, maybe only 5-6 pounds or so. Anything more would be "excessive".

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