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Why don`t pros get tired?

Jun 23, 2009
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I chose this forum on purpose and hope it directs any response that it may receive.

If I had just finished a 3 week training cycle as hard as the tdf, I would be extremely irritable, would not be sleeping properly and would be exhausted. What is it about the pros training that allows them to be out partying tonight and racing again on tuesday?
 
Mar 15, 2009
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Years and years of slow steady build up. They have slowly adapted to the training load, if you notice the Euro pros can "handle" the lengths of the Classics but when you throw a Pro from the States into the mix the first the thing they say after is that the distance was too much for them, they are used to doing races of a certain length and that last 30 - 40 miles is what kills them and it's those last 30 - 40 miles where the race gets realy hard. Look at Paris Roubaix, or Milan San Remo, they all talk about building up mileage to be able to go the distance. And who says pros don't get tired??
 
They do get tired

They typically recover a lot faster for lots of reasons but principally because it's what they train to do. It is all about adaptation... essentially the body adapts to what ever you throw at it - it learns if you like. The more you throw at it the more it adapts or learns to cope.

The tricky bit is doing it in such a way that the body doesn't break in the process! Even the pros get this wrong sometimes.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Stage racing is all about recovery..the riders in the tour will be able to recover far faster than any amateur cyclist, due to as has been previously mentioned adaptation over many years and also their natural ability. It must be remember that these riders are training 25-30 hours a week in the run up to the tour. Contador's winning time was 86 hours give or take. This is equivalent to 28-29 hours per week. This therefore is within the parameters trained for by these athletes.
It cant be forgotten of course that racing takes more of a toll on the body than training but you would be amazed at the recover potential of these riders. For example a rider will often feel "fresher" the day after an easier stage (there are no easy stage is the tour) than they did the previous day after a mountain stage. The muscle memory that these riders posses means that they will often ride in their legs during the first hour of a stage once the tightness and soreness has been ridden out of the legs a rider will often feel very good during a stage.
Also on top of this the recovery of the riders is well managed. Massage, acupuncture, and physiotherapy are just some of the techniques used by teams to help their riders recover as well as possible.
However these riders do still get tired. The sensations are not the same in the prologue as they are riding up mont ventoux 3 weeks later. Sastre's press conference for which he later apologised is an example of a tired rider in an irratable mood.
 
Jun 23, 2009
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Thanks for the replies. Pros don`t seem to get tired. How can you claim the tdf is the hardest sporting event in the world when the guys who have just finished are racing again the day after? I am only basing this on my own feable riding experiences. Do you think this is a training adaptation that anyone can go through, or is reserved for the physiologically blessed?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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In addition to training, training, training and being blessed with an enormous of amount of talent, good sleep and nutrition are also important. I do not have a base anywhere near as good as a professional and professional cyclists probably have as much talent in their little finger as I do, but I recently did a tour (not race) through the Colorado Rockies involving 600 miles over 6 days with almost 40000 feet of climbing. I was sore at night and appreciated the massages and couldn't really eat that well, but I awoke after a good night's sleep quite refreshed for another century ride over another 10000+ foot pass. Just my personal experience, but admittedly not racing, at a much decreased pace, and not 21 days, but still six back-to-back centuries wasn't easy for an old hack like me.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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180mmCrank said:
They do get tired

They typically recover a lot faster for lots of reasons but principally because it's what they train to do. It is all about adaptation... essentially the body adapts to what ever you throw at it - it learns if you like. The more you throw at it the more it adapts or learns to cope.

The tricky bit is doing it in such a way that the body doesn't break in the process! Even the pros get this wrong sometimes.

Adaptation. Excellent point. As someone else mentioned about US pro's, the races are longer in Europe and the body has to adapt. Some do not and they go back to the US.
So basically we are only seeing the riders who are able to adapt to a 3 week stage race, not everyone can do it.
 
May 18, 2009
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it might seem impossible to comprehend how the human body can cope with three weeks of intense excercise.
There are a few things to rember and this helps explain
-the pros train for these events
-at the time this is all they are doing (except for eating, sleeping etc). When most of us have increased training loads our whole life doesn't stop
-they have built there base up for this level of competion over a long period of time.
-they have lots of natural talent

I think when we look at the pros, its like our non-cycling friends looking at how much we ride. I mean we can ride 100km in a day?!
 
Jun 23, 2009
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Thanks for the input everyone. I spent a couple of years training full time. I could ride 400 mile plus weeks, but was tired after a 3 week block of base training. I can comprehend that it is possible to ride the tdf as most people are physically more gifted than me.

My point is that anyone can work as hard as a pro rider. This is based on duaration and intensity, and varies greatly between individuals. How tired would you be riding at would must be maximal, for at least 20 minutes at the end on a flat stage, to several hours in the mountains? I think I could do it, if the distance was scaled back in proportion to my current training, but I would be wasted at the end.
 
I think it's been said but...

Elite endurance athletes do get 'tired' in fact they get more 'tired' (exausted) than untrained folk. Thats what training and adaptation does it trains your physiology (your body) to expend effort (energy) in a way that maximises performance - typically this means a trained athlete has the ability to empty their tank (energy level) in a way that untrained individual can't. That's why they can go so fast for so long.

Then they are also able to recover much faster too so that they can do it again the next day...or later that day...or what ever their sport requires.

It can be difficult to imagine what it is like to be that highly tuned or what it takes to get there if you haven't done it - it seems unbelievable. But actually if you have a reasonable amount of aptitude and a ton of focus, motivation, belief in yourself it only requires that you do the miles. And to be clear I am not suggesting that anyone can be Alberto Contador but as I say it's typically a lot less about talent or inate physiology - but more about heart and mental toughness. Yes it helps (alot) if you have the right physiology to start with.

In my experience (I rowed at two Olympic Games in a boat not on a bike or on a horse!) it's the heart and the desire that get's people there - most people don't have it IMHO. The folks that win they have the talent and the optimal physiology too. I never did better than 4th so lots of heart but maybe not quite talented enough! :rolleyes:

But you get tired - believe me you get tired!

By the way I don't know what your aspirations are as a cyclist but believe me when I say: If you don't try you won't get there but if you do give it your all again and again and again ... in my experience you will get there! That's how I did it and that's how everyone else does it too.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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180mmCrank said:
I think it's been said but...

Elite endurance athletes do get 'tired' in fact they get more 'tired' (exausted) than untrained folk. Thats what training and adaptation does it trains your physiology (your body) to expend effort (energy) in a way that maximises performance - typically this means a trained athlete has the ability to empty their tank (energy level) in a way that untrained individual can't. That's why they can go so fast for so long.


But you get tired - believe me you get tired!

By the way I don't know what your aspirations are as a cyclist but believe me when I say: If you don't try you won't get there but if you do give it your all again and again and again ... in my experience you will get there! That's how I did it and that's how everyone else does it too.

I was a runner in the 70s. Jim Ryun was my hero he started out running 5:38 for the mile and within two years was sub 4 minutes & competing in the Olympics. We knew what he did through hard work and determination and we worked hard as well. It is no coincidence that 4 of the 5 US high schoolers to break 4 minutes come from that era. we knew what was possible.
Gradually though, that message was lost and Ryun and his contemporaries were looked upon as some kind of genetic freaks. Nothing could be further from the truth, he was an ordinary kid who had great dedication.

I remember reading about his mindset when he was hurting at the end of the race, he figured the pain would be gone the moment he crossed the finish line so instead of giving in to the pain by slowing down he figured it would be more logical to run harder so it would be over sooner.
Only a geek thinks like that during a race.
Do you imagine Armstrong on the Ventoux thought "man this hurts like a SOB, i gotta go faster!"
:D
 
Totally resonates for me...

When I was 17 I thought I was pretty good - typically raced middle of the pack. I remember my coach took me down to the start of the elite mens race. Usually you just see the end of the race - the final sprint. What I saw at the start was these guys sprinting...they went off the start like the race was only a few hundred metres not 2k ... it blew me away. How do they do that I thought? So I tried it - jeeze it hurt like hell the first time...and then the time after it still hurt like hell ... in fact it never stopped hurting ... but somehow you just get used to it. Your brain learns to cope - it adapts (there is that word again!)

It's funny that's the thing I miss about competing at that level. It's the pushing yourself into the red zone and being totally cool with it - nothing like it :)

You don't really do anthing like it in normal life (maybe giving birth - but being a bloke never had to do that!)
 
Jun 16, 2009
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180mmCrank said:
Totally resonates for me...

When I was 17 I thought I was pretty good - typically raced middle of the pack. I remember my coach took me down to the start of the elite mens race. Usually you just see the end of the race - the final sprint. What I saw at the start was these guys sprinting...they went off the start like the race was only a few hundred metres not 2k ... it blew me away. How do they do that I thought? So I tried it - jeeze it hurt like hell the first time...and then the time after it still hurt like hell ... in fact it never stopped hurting ... but somehow you just get used to it. Your brain learns to cope - it adapts (there is that word again!)

It's funny that's the thing I miss about competing at that level. It's the pushing yourself into the red zone and being totally cool with it - nothing like it :)

You don't really do anthing like it in normal life (maybe giving birth - but being a bloke never had to do that!)

Now you're talking my language. In track & field people used to say the 400 meters was like sticking your finger in the light socket but the 800 meters was like sticking your finger in the light socket and holding it there.
But i always enjoyed it, not the pain, but how you adapted to it and learned how far you could push yourself> the worst thing in the 800 was newbies think of it as 2 laps. They get to the end of the first lap and think "OMG, I am hurting and i have another lap to go?"
But i had a great coach who had been in the Olympic final and he taught me to break the race down into at least four sections. When i did it that way, the race was 3/4 done before i noticed how much it hurt.
Ever since then i have managed to cope with tough situations by breaking them down into manageable parts. I completed a long road race that i had not properly trained for, simply by saying " I give it everything i can on this lap & then pack it in" hours later i was top twenty.
 
Jun 23, 2009
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How did you feel the day after the race you weren`t fully trained for? How about a race you are fully trained for?

I understand the comparisons to track and field. It is much easier to push yourself running than it is on a bike, imo. Track and field athletes don't maintain form for 3 weeks, though.

In Chris Carmichaels LA training plan book, he says you will be tired in week 3 but persevere as week 4 is a rest where the body works its magic. How does this fit with his "you get stronger in the third week of tour" opinion as of late?
 
Jun 16, 2009
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biker77 said:
How did you feel the day after the race you weren`t fully trained for? How about a race you are fully trained for?

I understand the comparisons to track and field. It is much easier to push yourself running than it is on a bike, imo. Track and field athletes don't maintain form for 3 weeks, though.

In Chris Carmichaels LA training plan book, he says you will be tired in week 3 but persevere as week 4 is a rest where the body works its magic. How does this fit with his "you get stronger in the third week of tour" opinion as of late?

As to the race i wasn't trained for, i was working on the road for at least 3 months straight kept myself in good shape physically(running) but had not had more than a day or two on my bike before the race . A teammate begged me to start the race for support.
I was tired & sore the next day, but went for a recovery ride and was fine actually the race seemed to be a good stepping stone to better fitness.
A race i am fully trained for i usually dont feel any different the next day than i did on race morning.
I also agree it is much easier to push yourself running, cycling is a much more efficient activity. Racing you spend alot of time not pedaling, lots of short bursts. You cant do that running. Even fartlek training or your recovery jog in interval training involve more effort than cycling recovery.
I use alot of hill repeats to get my heart rate up and work near my threshold.
For instance my first couple reps on a half mile 9 percent climb will stay in the 150 bpm range and nowhere near my max of 198.
after 5 reps i need to concentrate on climbing efficiently to keep my heart rate around 165
around reps 7-10 my heartrate is just about my at of 172
and then i will add a little burst so i have 30 seconds in the 185 range.

Running even my most efficient stride & pace will be at 145-150 bpm
any sort of intervals i will be working in the 180's
 
Jun 23, 2009
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After reading all the posts I am beginning to think that my personal cycling fitness is a knife edge. I can build race winning form by being very strict about base training. After a few months I feel great.

However, once I start the intensity I feel really good for a few days of hard effort and then am wasted and need to take a few days to a week off. Am I starting the intensity too soon? This normally involves just going out and hammering for a few hours because it feels good. Is this dumb?
 
Jun 16, 2009
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biker77 said:
After reading all the posts I am beginning to think that my personal cycling fitness is a knife edge. I can build race winning form by being very strict about base training. After a few months I feel great.

However, once I start the intensity I feel really good for a few days of hard effort and then am wasted and need to take a few days to a week off. Am I starting the intensity too soon? This normally involves just going out and hammering for a few hours because it feels good. Is this dumb?

Its not dumb. dont think of it that way.
However realize that even Pros do not just hammer for hours. Even in a race you have short periods of intense exertion followed by recovery.
That is the why you can be in good shape but not race shape.
Better to do more intense shorter intervals than to hammer yourself for hours
 

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