With the weather on the turn, this can mean only one thing – the lakes will soon be open and that the nights become longer allowing for more mid week rides. But is this a good thing?
It is too common to hear how someone can’t understand why they aren’t getting any faster in races? Saying ‘But I’m down the lake all the time and I’m riding outside 3x a week now! I can’t understand it!’
The answer to this is easy. During the winter periods, you spend time on the turbo trainer working hard on your speed and power and in the pool you focus on improving your technique and efficiency to swim fast. As soon as the good weather rocks up its easy to ditch the turbo in the believe that ‘a real rider goes outside in such nice weather’ or swims down the lake.
As a result you have taken out of your routine the very sessions that made you faster and stronger.
Be careful when swimming down the lake 2-3x a week. The pool is where you make the speed. It’s a controllable environment where you can monitor distance and speed. Hitting the lake you won’t be able to replicate this. Unless you are attending a controlled structured group session, you will never keep that pace gained from the pool
The lake is ideal for the following only:
Endurance: use it for your long swims to work on continuous periods.
Recovery: pop down the lake for an easy recovery swim – a bonus session
Open water skills: sighting, turning, drafting – but this can be done during the first too.
Yes, it’s great to get out and ride but we all know that lights, round abouts, traffic etc break up most rides on a Sunday yet alone as pure focused session. The WattBike, turbo trainer allows for the quality of work which is difficult to replicate on the road. I’m not saying it can’t be achieved in the right circumstances, but not that often. Dropping those key power sessions in favour for a evening hack or attempt to do it on the road is like saying, here’s your session but feel free to only do 10mins of it. If you did no training and then did 10mins the day before, you know what the result will be, but this could be the same with ditching controlled sessions on the turbo for a hack on the road.
The open road is great for
Replicating goal race conditions: hills repeats for example
Endurance: this goes without saying
Recovery & social: a bonus session and not in replacement
Personal, I will use the lake for recovery, still sticking to the pool for all my seasons. This is true for the bike. I will still hit the WattBike throughout the week as its a true sessions. Sunday’s are the time (endurance) for hitting the road or maybe Saturday afternoon for a bonus recovery ride.