image013
HOMES PARTNERSHIP

HOMES PARTNERSHIP

Training – an insight into my life! – October 2018

“What training does a professional athlete do?”

Two questions I get asked a lot are; “How does a tandem work?” and “What training does a professional athlete do?”. I can geek out about my bikes for hours and talk about the role of the front rider (pilot) and the back rider (stoker)… so that will get a dedicated blog of its own! 

 

This month I am going to introduce you to my training schedules, both, at home in Crawley and away in Mallorca on training camp. Ireland currently doesn’t have an indoor track (velodrome). So we travel to Mallorca which has an affordable velodrome we can train on. There are many benefits to training in Spain. The climate is dry and warm, the roads are quiet and the terrain varies. Another huge benefit is that the residents are used to having cyclists on the road. This means not only can we train indoors on the track but can also take advantage of the roads whilst we are there. 

 

Here I am training with Eve in Mallorca. While training here we spend 2-3 hours in the velodrome in a day. We aren’t continuously pedalling on the track for that amount of time! We warm up and cool down which each last 10-15 mins. Track training requires us to work at maximum effort for between seconds and minutes at a time. This amount of effort means we need a big recovery between each one. 

 I’m 110% committed to cycling and every session counts. Even the small things add up to the overall work that’s already in the bank. This really pays off when it comes to competition. I believe it’s the hard sessions that i find difficult to get through tend to be the ones that benefit me more further down the line. 

I enjoy training but absolutely love racing so always think of the ultimate goal when training feels tough and i’m extremely tired. I constantly think about what my competitors are doing and push myself hard so I know that I’ve done all I can when it comes to standing on that start line. 

 

I concentrate in depth on one session at a time. I’m conscious of the sessions ahead in terms of recovery, food intake and timing but my mind and body are focused on the session in hand so that quality is delivered. 

 

 

Wherever I am training no two weeks are the same; Sessions change depending upon: where I am, what I’m focusing on ie base fitness, strength, power etc), competitions I’m working towards, my energy levels and any injury or illness I may have at the time. Even my weeks in Crawley differ;  For example, it’s essential my gym sessions are continually reviewed and adapted to ensure my body continues to improve, get stronger, react faster and become more powerful. Like most people I love variation and my slightly unusual full-time job is certainly very varied, one week I’ll be training at home and the next week I’m training in Ireland at The Institute of Sport and with my pilot, Eve on the tandem. 

 

In the Institute of Sport in Dublin where testing, assessments and meetings take place and where elite athletes can access physiotherapy, gym, massage and the doctor.

Training is gruelling, I work six days a week and I have to follow an annual training plan set out by my coach, Neill Delahaye. He is a high-performance coach who is based in Ireland so we use state of the art software to track my sessions and he can keep a close eye on my progress. He enters sessions on the software which I can access on the computer or my phone. My bike computer records my heart rate, power and cadence for each session. Once I’ve finished I save it and upload the file to the software for my coach to access. With each session I add comments, these reflect how I felt and how hard I found the session. Neill then has the ability to add comments if relevant. 

My indoor bike sessions take place in the utility room alongside the washing machine and tumble drier! The watt bike is ideal for intervals and sprints and the solo bike set up in the time trial position on a direct drive turbo is perfect for time trial sessions. I usually have a fan on and the back door open to keep me cool. 

I train at The K2 gym in Crawley three times a week with Nick Buckfield. He is a retired, two time Olympic pole-vaulter and knows what it takes to be an elite athlete. He communicates with Noel Murphy the high performance strength and conditioning coach from The Institute of Sport and together with my coach Neill they use their expertise and experience to deliver a high class programme. Strength and conditioning is a vital part of my training.

A week training at home will consist of approximately 15 hours and combines bike and gym sessions. Whereas a week on training camp can be double that and totals between 20-30 hours. But it doesn’t stop there! It is essential that I spend time on body maintenance and injury prevention. This includes rehab, activation, mobilisation, stretching, a deep tissue massage once a week and Physiotherapy twice a month. Below i’ve included a typical weeks training at home and in Spain to give you an insight into how my schedule looks.  

A week at home

Days 

Session description

Duration (mins)

Intensity 

Monday 

 

 

 

AM

Gym – rehab, mobility, strength and core

90

Hard

PM

Indoor bike

60

Moderate

Tuesday

 

 

 

AM

Indoor bike

60

Moderate

PM

Indoor bike

60

Hard

Wednesday

 

 

 

AM

Gym – rehab, mobility, strength and core

90

Hard

PM

indoor bike

120

Moderate/hard

Thursday

 

 

 

AM

Indoor bike

90

Moderate 

PM

Indoor bike 

60

Hard

Friday

 

 

 

AM

Gym – rehab, strength and HITT circuit

90

Hard

PM

Indoor bike

60

Light

Saturday

 

 

 

AM

Indoor bike

120

Hard

PM

 

 

 

Sunday

Day off

 

 

 A week at camp:

Day

Session

Duration (minutes)

Intensity 

Monday 

Tandem road 

100

Moderate 

 

Tandem track

120

Hard

 

Tandem road

60

Light

Tuesday 

Tandem hill climbing 

180

Hard

 

Tandem road

20

Light

Wednesday

Tandem road 

40

Easy

 

Tandem track

120

Hard

 

Tandem road

60

Moderate/hard

Thursday 

Tandem road

60

Light

 

Tandem track

120

Hard

 

Tandem road

45

Moderate

Friday

Tandem road

180

Hard

 

Tandem road

20

Light

Saturday 

Tandem road

40

Light

 

Tandem road

40

Hard

 

Tandem road

40

Light

Sunday

Day off – travel

 

 

 

If you’re wondering how I manage these strict schedules six days a week I can reveal that my secret weapon is…food! I also cannot forget the importance of sleep! Nutrition is as crucial as the training. I eat a healthy diet and sometimes I even struggle to eat enough calories. Fuelling correctly is not only essential for recovery, but also influences future training sessions.

 

If I’m training twice a day I wouldn’t go for more than three hours without eating. My typical menu looks something like this:  

 

Breakfast– Oats, yogurt, fruit, milk and granola. 

 

Post training session– A milk based smoothie made with almond milk, skimmed milk powder, fruit (banana, berries, apple, mango) and whey powder. The smoothie consists of protein and carbohydrates which are absorbed quickly making it the ideal way of getting more calories into the body. 

 

Lunch– Eggs on toast or more oats! I love oats, its quick, easy, versatile and tasty. I’m pretty sure my oat intake keeps the local supermarket in profit! 

 

Dinner– Nutritious home cooked food. This consists of lots of vegetables, potatoes, rice, pasta and different varieties of meat. My favourite meals are fish and Bolognese and of course roast dinners. 

 

Evening snack– Yogurt and fruit, or home made protein balls, an energy bar or porridge bread.

 

I do treat myself. I love chocolate and anything with custard! It’s important for me to add these treats into my diet occasionally otherwise I would lose my mind, I am only human after all!  

 

 I use the NutriBullet to prepare my smoothies. Each smoothie is different and is tailored depending on which session I have done. For example, after a long bike ride I need a higher carbohydrate content compared to a shorter strength and conditioning session. 

 

In between training and eating I have Sundays to rest. I love spending time with my family and friends and have just come back from my annual off season holiday. Two weeks of relaxing and slight over indulging means I have some serious catching up to do!  I landed back in the UK less than 24 hours ago and I’ve already completed my first bike session of the new year. Bring it on I say! 

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email