Changing Seasons, Changing Training

Discomfort Zone Head Coach and founder Mike Coughlin

by Mike Coughlin

Spring is a wonderful time of year for endurance athletes. Here at Discomfort Zone, spring is especially exciting because it marks our annual training camps in the mountains around Asheville, North Carolina where the scenery is spectacular and the cycling and trail running are world class.

But no matter where you are doing your training in the springtime, one thing is likely – your routine is changing. Warmer weather and longer days mean more time and energy for most of us, and the opportunity for cycling and running outdoors without dressing up like an arctic explorer. Motivation is usually increased as well, which has benefits as well as challenges. Here are a few tips to making your transition from winter to spring training a productive one.

  • Dress appropriately: It may feel warm in your car or through the picture window at home, but spring air is COLD and will make the under dressed athlete sick very quickly. Breathable layers plus vests and jackets that cut the wind are an essential part of the spring training wardrobe.

  • Don’t overdo it: It is very easy to get spring fever, particularly after a long winter. Make sure your training load does not increase by more than 20% per week on the bike or 10% per week on the run. The exception to this rule is the spring training camp, where the reduced life stress and extra time available to recover allows for bigger increases, particularly on the bike.

  • Get a tune-up: Your bike may have been sitting idle or been bombarded by sweat on the indoor trainer. Either way, tuning up your bike is an important spring task to ensure safe and efficient operation.

  • Be patient: Outdoor training takes time to adjust to. That speed and power on the trainer and treadmill may not be apparent on the first few hilly outdoor rides and runs. Take your time and trust in your fitness, and within 2-3 weeks all will be well in the world.

Living and training in a place with four seasons is a lot of fun, particularly when the seasons change. Embrace the change and let it fuel your energy and enthusiasm.

See you out on the trail!

Coach Mike

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