Monday, November 12, 2007

Texas Camp, Training with Purpose

I am feeling like a real professional coach right now, as I just got back last night from a week in San Francisco for the USAT Level 2 course, and on Wednesday I will leave for Texas A&M, for the Texas Tri Camp.

I am really excited about the camp, as I will have the opportunity to get into the wind tunnel and learn all the important factors of aerodynamics from one of the gurus of the game, John Cobb. Joe Friel will also be speaking on power and power meters. Also scheduled to speak are Tom Rodgers and Chuck Burr.

You can check it out at

Since working with Joe, I've learned a lot, and this should be another great opportunity for me to learn.

One of the biggest concepts I've learned from Joe has been "training with a purpose." Even when he first told me that, I thought, "Of course I train with a purpose, the purpose is to get faster!" It wasn't until he further explained to me that training with a purpose means training with a focus to train and monitor physiological adaptations, not just checking off workouts from a training plan.

So many times as an athlete and coach, I've thought, "All this person needs are these workouts," or "they need to get in X hours," or "they need to put in X miles." Now I understand, the athlete needs to train to the specific physiological demands of the race, and the training needs to be periodized and measured to meet those demands with the body's best possible performance. Even if you can't exactly measure the adaptation at times, you need to be monitoring it consistently, and making sure the athlete is progressing toward their goals. If they are not, then the program needs to be altered, in order to meet the goals.

So many athletes just go out and train without cause or purpose. They go do the group rides because everyone is doing it, never periodizing their training to meet the demands of their major races. They run a loop they like out their door because it's convenient and scenic, instead of working on their turnover. These are just a few examples.

Some people don't know how to train with a purpose, or understand where to begin training with purpose. That's why I have a job, because I understand it.

So think about your training, and make sure you are training with purpose.

Coach Vance

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