zack3Photo by Peter Discoe

YGR is partnering up with Zack Allison of Source Endurance and Source Endurance Training Center of the Rockies for a new weekly (or monthly, frequency TBD) training article.  The first couple articles are on topics I requested, if you have a specific question for Zack fire it at us via our various social media channels.  YGR links up high, Zack’s links are down low. 
First up, 
Top 5 mistakes of the Self Coached Athlete. 

Many towns in the world have some form of a group ride. Having raced professionally, travelled, and done hundreds of regularly occurring group rides, there’s some great aspects of these rides and some negative ones as far as how to use them in training. Shout out to the Oval ride in Fort Collins, The Gateway Ride in Boulder, Swami’s ride in SoCal, The Shootout in Tucson, and Haine’s Point in DC, for being some of the fastest rides around. Each ride as their own format that we can use in training, The Oval ride in Fort Collins is 85 miles of pure drop ride where you will be over 3000 kilojoules by the time you make it to the finish. The Hain’s point ride in DC is an all out criterium style sprint, every 3 kilometer lap, on a non closed course and is about an hour long ride. Both are historic rides that have completely different types of training stimulus, so how do we use these rides properly to train our bodies the best we can? Here’s some do’s and don’ts

Do- go on group rides. These rides offer up a ton of skills and fitness to be gained. Drafting skills, pack skills, and tactical experience can all be gained on group rides of almost any kind. Especially if you’re getting into racing, having done group rides will give you a level of comfort in a group you would need a few races to get if you didn’t go on any group rides.

Do- go hard at times. We know that our best power and speed comes from racing or group rides where we are motivated by those around us. You can’t get that extra 10% of effort just by yourself on a ride. When you have a hard day, go hard on the group ride and you will produce a larger overload stimulus. If you’re advanced in ability or power analysis and you need to do some kind of field test to flesh out your power curve, a group ride may be a good opportunity for that hard effort.

Do – sprint, use tactics, have fun. I hear some people, after they make a tactically poor decision on the ride, say “its just for a workout” yes, we are getting a workout on the ride but the implications are deeper. You can use these rides to learn things about yourself and about racing. If you let yourself get worked over on every group ride and rationalize it as getting in a better workout you are teaching yourself how to get worked over in races. It’s a better workout mentally and physically if you figure out how to win the group ride. If you never sprint in practice or in a group ride, how can you expect yourself to understand that sprint dynamic in a race. You cannot expect to win a race without having to sprint at some point for the finish line.

Do – Put these rides in your training plan. Plan out a fatigue score, plan out when you’ll do the ride. Go hard and have fun on the ride knowing you’re there creating the proper overload stimulus for your training goals.

Don’t – be “that guy”. The group ride can be fast and heated but its still not a race, show compassion for your fellow group rider and don’t be overzealous. Even in a full drop ride there’s time to ride hard for the line and there’s times to be safe and aware of your surroundings. Attack or sprint to the line with panache and respect, after the ride, fist bump your competitor and remember how fun the ride is, you won’t always get to do these things in a real race.

Don’t – go on the ride and think its a rest day. I don’t care how nice the weather is, if you can use this ride to create fatigue, you can’t go on the ride and expect to ride easy and call it a rest day.

Don’t – do the group ride, every week, for the rest of time. If the group ride has been going on for 10 years straight, you will see that guy that has done the ride almost every day for all 10 years. Many times that super consistent rider has been the same speed for 10 years, not faster, not slower. You need to build fatigue to build fitness. If you do the same group ride for months at a time, you’ll see a rise in fitness as you adapt to the hard ride, then you will plateau. You need to change the overload stimulus to get new fatigue and new gains. Once you adapt to the ride, change it up, ride longer before and after, do intervals before or after, ride longer during the week, in some way you have to increase the fatigue to increase the fitness or you will stay that same speed forever.

If you see me out there on the group ride and you’re feeling frisky, I’ll happily lead you out, just tap me on the butt and say “sprint on.”

Zack earned his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at Colorado State University. As part of his education, he participated in many hands on exercise science practicum and internships, coaching many types of athletes, specifically cyclists.

Zack’s affinity for cycling started at the early age of 14 racing on the east coast. He quickly moved up the amateur ranks to race on the elite national circuit. This level of competition sparked his interest in exercise science, taking him to Colorado State University. While racing for his alma-mater and on various amateur teams he saw many podiums at the Collegiate Championships and Pro/Am events. Zack is currently living in Fort Collins, Colorado and has raced for Elevate Pro Cycling and currently races for Clif Bar.

Growing up with great mentors and coaches, Zack has a goal of paying it forward. He hopes to use his education and racing experience to bring success to Source Endurance and his clients.

Zack also owns and operated the Source Endurance Training Center of the Rockies, a training and bike fit studio in Fort Collins, CO.  

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