by Coach Roger Rilling
Finally, the days are getting longer and the options for training in the sunlight are starting to increase! This is a golden time of the year for any endurance athletes, especially those that have been training indoors for the last few months. With new opportunities to train comes a new question about what to do when you train. For this article, I will discuss the secret training weapon of happy cyclists the world over: that’s right, the double day!
Let’s get a few misconceptions out of the way first. A double day does NOT mean:
- simply placing an x2 after your workout of choice
- going twice as hard
A double day is way of awakening your body in an efficient and effective way by creatively combining two complimentary workouts in one day. The ideal split, and most common, is to ride in the morning and then at night. This works very well for working professionals since it allows them to get a great midweek workout in while working within the confines of their professional schedule. With only 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes at night you will be able to see the power of the double day.
Simply put, your body responds well to frequency! Doing a double day keeps your body primed for the next workout resulting in better performance during the workout. Secondly, doing short, well planned workouts eliminates junk training. Remember, you want to train NOT waste time.
How to Double:
Take a look at your training plan (you do have a training plan, right?!). Pay attention to what your weekly focus is; use this info to determine the type of effort you will complete in the morning. When I lay out double days for my clients I like to think in terms of a load workout and a flush workout.
The load workout will be the major stressor of the day, such as VO2max intervals. Load workouts should be done in the morning if possible to allow the flush workout to aid in the recovery process.
The flush workout is not a recovery ride! Instead, the flush should be a workout that focuses on muscle speed and efficiency. The flush workout is a great place for cyclists to work on things like their pedal stroke or maybe even some high cadence motor pacing if you are getting ready for a big event.
When to Double:
Since double days are something a bit out of the ordinary, I love to place them in the middle of the training week. Doing this helps mentally and physically bring the athlete back into the game of training without losing focus to the midweek blues.
The weekend is a good place for a modified double day. This could be achieved by doing an early set of intervals and then a moderate group ride at a high cadence.
Roger Rilling is a former professional road and track cyclist with over 10 years of coaching experience. Stoller, founded by Roger in 2004, is a coaching and training club that focuses on giving athletes of all abilities the experience of being a pro. Training at Stoller is based off of personalized training plans, partnered with supported group training events. To find out more about Stoller, please visit www.mystoller.com or call 888.407.0754.
Images are courtesy of My Stoller. You can check out their great flickr photo albums here.