Speed on the Bike by Coach Amari Holmes

I use the below Bike Speed Workout with my clients for the following reasons: 

  • It is a great benchmark of fitness for the early season.  
  • It will show how your heart rate and power correlate (how much effort it takes to the produce the same power through fatigue as the session repeats).
  • Last but not least it shows the clients cadence comfort zone (does the athlete mash or work the cadence to produce the same power through fatigue during the workout).

BIKE SPEED WORKOUT- 

*This workout can be done as shown below or within a long ride, dependent on the your goals or A race.

Warm Up:
5min warm up
5min: 15-20sec pick up pace through high cadence 100+rpm / 40-45sec easy recovery spin

MAIN SET- repeat 3x's:

4min @ 40k effort/ goal watts (mid RP watts)

1min @ IM or training pace effort/ watts

3min @ 40-20k effort/ goal watts (top RP watts)

2min @ IM or training pace effort/ watts

10min @ 20k effort/ goal watts (top RP-HARD watts)

5min recovery spin

Cool Down:
5min easy spin cool down

I like this workout for my clients because it tests the athlete Physically, Metabolically and Mentally.  

  • PHYSICALLY: can they sustain the race goal watts/effort, and at what point in the workout do they breakdown. If the athlete does breakdown that will give me as a coach a better understanding what workouts they need between the benchmark and the race.
  • METABOLICALLY: This workout allows the athlete to practice hydration, electrolyte, and fueling needed for race specific efforts as well as trying different fuel sources and timing of those sources.
  • MENTALLY: Can the client sustain the focus needed throughout the duration of the workout and their race goal

See you on the Bike! 


Wes' Workout of the Week

Have you ever wondered why you are not getting faster or your long runs are not getting easier?  Your run form could be to blame.  Incorporate the following drills and workout into your training routine for improved running speed and efficiency. The workout below is best suited for the track. The focus for this workout is leg position through the drive and recovery phases of running.  

Warm Up:

Light jog for 1 mile.  Incorporate a few speed pick ups. 

Main Set:  All Drills will be performed 15 yards down the track then you will sprint 15 yards back to the starting point. Drill will be performed 3 times through. 

A Skip Run Drill
1/4 Mile at 10K Pace

High Knees
1/4 Mile at 5K Pace

Butt Kickers
1/4 Mile at 1 Mile Pace

Backwards Run
1/4 Mile at 1 Mile Pace

Cool Down:
Light Jog for 1 mile. 

Drill Descriptions:

A Skip Run Drill: The A Skip Run Drill recruits and strengthens the primary muscles used in running including the glutes and hamstrings.  To perform this drill you will skip forward brining you knee up to waist height. Your back leg will stay straight as you come off your toe.  Your arms will maintain the same motion as running.

High Knees: The High Knee Drill will focus on what I call the drive phase of running.  To perform the drill you will drive your leg down and let your leg spring back up to the high knee position. Your arms will maintain the same motion as running.

Butt Kickers: Butt Kickers will continue to recruit and strengthen the glutes and hamstrings as well as increase your leg turn over time to improve speed and efficiency.  To perform the butt kicker drill you should think about the high knee drill but instead of your feet coming straight up you will bring your heels to your butt. Your arms will maintain the same motion as running.

Backwards Run: Like Butt Kickers running backwards will recruit the same muscle groups and increase your turn over speed by forcing your heel to your butt thus allowing for a faster run cadence. To perform this drill simply run in reverse.  The focus should be on standing tall as your will naturally want to lean too far forward.  Your arms will maintain the same motion as running.


Got a Need for Speed? Find out what Local Speed Racer Christian Toews Recommends and Why:

I get asked for advice on what race wheels to use all the time. I’m going to answer one question and hopefully give you an idea of what wheels to purchase for the 2017 season.

Q: If you could own one set of race wheels, what would you buy?

A: I would always choose the most aerodynamic setup for a particular race course such as a disc and an 808 on a super flat course. But my favorite and most versatile set-up is the “606” or Zipp Firecrest 808 rear wheel and Zipp Firecrest 404 front wheel. It is a super light setup that is very aero in almost all conditions. It’s light enough to handle the hills and aero enough to be fast on the flats. I actually used this setup for most of 2016.

When there is a 404 on the front it’s very aerodynamic but very stable in a cross wind. I would recommend this to any rider who doesn’t have much experience with race wheels. The deeper dish wheels can provide an amazing benefit of speed but can really wear out your core muscles from trying to stabilize your bike and that can hurt you on the run.

An 808 as your real wheel is very aerodynamic but lighter and cheaper than a disc wheel. If you’re wondering why I wouldn’t recommend a 404 on the rear, it’s because the rear of the bike is much easier to control than the front wheel, therefore, you can run a deeper wheel without the consequences that come from an unstable front end of the bike.

I honestly can’t think of a more versatile, fast, and light wheel set up. If you are considering purchasing one set of race wheels for 2017, the Zipp Firecrest 808 rear and 404 front would be my pick. You can find both of these wheels in store at Playtri or at www.playtri.com


Do I Really Need Power?

Do I Really Need Power?
Coach Morgan Hoffman and Coach Ahmed Zaher

Often when we talk to athletes about training with power on the bike, they have the assumption that power meters are only for “top athletes” or “elites.” What we have learned during our years of coaching with power is that this assumption could not be further from the truth. Power is just a metric – it can be applied to any cyclist, regardless of experience or goals.

While the benefits of training with power can be many, our top two reasons for using this metric may surprise you.

First, power meters can tell you when to suck it up, and when to call it a day. Every athlete struggles at some point during a workout with “not feeling it” – but how do we know when to protect our body and call it a day, and when we really need to push through and work on our mental toughness? With power, we get immediate feedback on our output to tell us whether or not we are still performing at a productive level.

For example, let’s say on a 1 hour ride at a heart rate of 160 bpm, I normally average 200w. My speed will always be variable based on topography, weather conditions, riding companions, etc. My average power output, however, should stay the same (or, hopefully, improve progressively over time). One evening, after feeling fatigued all day, I notice that while my heart rate is averaging 160 bpm, my power average is only 150w. This is usually an indication of under recovery or impending illness, and indicates that it’s time to pack it in and call it a day. On the other hand, if one evening I had a hard day at work and I’m really not feeling it, but I can see that my heart rate is at 160 bpm and power, sure enough, is at 200w, then I know that me “not feeling it” has more to do with work, and less to do with a need for recovery. Last, if my coach gives me a hard interval workout with 2 minute intervals at 300-330w, and after 4 intervals I can only maintain at 280w, once more, this would be an indicator that I have ceased to be able to benefit from the workout, and it is time to call it a day and get that feedback to my coach.

Second, power meters provide athletes and coaches with the invaluable ability to assign a “number” to bike performance. Let’s say athlete A wants to beat athlete B in a Sprint race with a 12 mile bike portion in 6 months. Currently they weigh the same, and have the same swim and run times, but athlete B consistently comes off the bike about 1-2 mph faster than athlete A. If we can find out what watts athlete B is averaging in her Sprint distance races, we can know what exactly athlete A needs to be able to produce on the bike (without negatively impacting her run). This makes it simple to create a training plan that is specific to the goal. This same logic applies whether the athlete in question wants to finish their first Olympic distance race, or qualify for Kona.

The third reason to invest in a power meter (yes, there’s a third reason) is that the price point on power meters has dropped by over 50% in the past 3-4 years. Athletes can now find quality power meters for $600-700 MSRP. When you think about the amounts of money we spend on race entry fees, travel, bikes, etc. it makes sense to get the most out of what we’re putting into our training by utilizing one of the most effective metrics currently available.

Questions? Email morgan@playtri.com

Coach Morgan Hoffman is a USAT Level II ITU/Short Course Certified Coach, USAT Youth & Junior Certified Coach, ASCA Coach Member, and Head Coach of Team Playtri Elite.  Coach Ahmed Zaher is the head coach of Playtri with over 18 years of coaching experience from the elite to the beginner.


Quintana Roo PR Series Review

I have been riding the Quintana Roo PR6 for about a year now and I get asked all the time how I like it. With the launch of the new PR3 and PR5, I wanted to tell you what I like about each one of these bikes and let you know why I choose the PR6 as my race bike.

Quintana Roo (QR) basically invented the Triathlon Bike. They were one of the first bike companies to really focus on triathletes instead of building a time trial bike (TT bike) and trying to sell it to triathletes. This means that their bikes are designed to be comfortable after a swim and help you run faster after you ride.

Let’s start with the PR3. This is the latest edition to the PR lineup from QR and is really an amazing “entry level” bike. The only reason I say “entry level” is because of the price point not because of performance. I have ridden the PR3 and I can tell you this bike definitely lives up to its name and can absolutely bring you a PR.

While this isn’t a “super bike” it still has many of the same aerodynamic features of the PR5 and PR6. Some of my favorite features are that it still only requires 2 Allen wrenches to completely assemble the bike, and it has the Qbox for storage and aerodynamics.  If you are looking for a fast bike that can compete with the big boys, the PR3 is for you.

The PR5

The PR5 is an amazing machine. While it’s not as decked out as the PR6 it still shares the most similarities at a lower price. You still get the SHIFT+ technology that used to be exclusive to the PR6. It’s a very light frame and has a faster stiffer response to each pedal stroke than the PR3. This bike is powerful and will perform.I love that you can get most of the features of a PR6 without the price tag. If you are a serious athlete or looking to upgrade your entry level rig, the PR5 is for you.

The PR6.

When I was first introduced to this bike, I have to admit that I was reluctant to believe that it could be as fast as any high end bike. I road it for the first time on one of my favorite rides with quite a bit of climbing and I was shocked to see that without increasing my power, I was able to actually PR a few of the climbs. This bike is LIGHT. I cannot over state this. It’s one of the lightest tri bikes I have ever been on. But the great part is that while the frame might be extremely light, you still get a super stiff ride. I don’t mean that it’s a ridged bike that hurts to ride (it’s amazingly comfortable), I meant that you can feel the power transfer with every pedal stroke. Each time you press down, no energy is wasted in flex and you move that much faster forward.

With the new 2017 PR6 you get a completely race ready super bike that will perform as well as any of the top bikes on the market and you can still assemble the bike with 2 allen wrenches. If you travel and race this a super easy bike to pack and put back together. I absolutely love this bike

Cons:

PR3

  • Doesn’t have SHIFT + technology
  • Isn’t as aero as the PR5 and PR6
  • Isn’t as light as the PR5 or PR6

PR5

  • Not quite as light as the PR6
  • Doesn’t come with the new integrated stem & top tube storage system
  • Doesn’t have an integrated stem to place it in the “super bike” category

PR6

  • Saddle adjustments can be somewhat frustrating just because it takes a while because you have a lot of adjustment options.
  • Front break isn’t integrated into the fork so looks a little clunky but can easily be fixed with a Tri Rig center pull or similar.

These bikes are made specifically for triathletes and that was a huge selling point for me. I like knowing that they had my sport in mind while they designed every detail.  These are great bikes that perform. They can quite literally bring you a PR. Hope this gives you a bit of insight into the PR series from Quintana Roo. You can get all of these bikes from the amazing folks at Playtri! www.playtri.com