The Never Going Pro Podcast – Episode 1

In this episode Shayne, Ken, and Chris speak about advantages of planning out yearly training plans vs going week to week, and how to deal with mental fatigue when the body is still strong.

Show Transcript

Ken: Welcome to The Never Going Pro Podcast. Podcast about riding bikes and being parents and trying super hard at both. My name is Ken “the badger” Nowell. I’m on team DIRT, stands for Dad’s Inside Riding Trainers and it’s a group of dads that met on the Zwift Platform, riding early in the morning trying to get our training in and our hustle on before we got our kids ready and got to work. And along the way, we’ve met some really cool people such as Shayne and Chris, which I’ll introduce now. Shayne, would you like to introduce yourself?

Shayne: Sure, so my name is Shayne Gaffney. I’m the owner and head coach at GC Coaching. I’m a level one USA cycling coach, a certified power based training coach and I’ve done a bunch of work for Zwift with their structured training plans and the build me up training plan. Chris, do you want to go?

Chris: Yeah, I’m Chris Gorney and I’m pretty much none of those things that Shayne just called himself. I am just a regular dad. I got involved with DIRT and Zwift because a year and a half ago, my wife and I had a little girl and our time was pretty limited and our little girl got sick early on so I wanted to stay home and stay somewhat fit, so I got into Zwift and just kind of fell in love with it.

Chris: I kind of came on as a marketing consultant and kind of a strategic specialist which is what I do kind of in my regular job. And just fell in love with it. So that’s it, my role is to kind of be the non-Shayne, the guy who’s just trying really hard every day and probably taking myself a little too seriously while cycling outside with my friends.

Ken: Sounds good, well thank you both for joining up tonight and so one thing that we aim to do with this podcast … Obviously we all met on Zwift so that’s important to us and I think the biggest thing that we’ve seen that all of us on team DIRT have had in common is time constraints and really trying to balance, balance family, balance between our own ambitions and training goals. Getting healthy again, which I’ve seen lots of guys come in and lose weight and hit all kinds of fitness record. And also just having a good time and not taking ourselves too seriously.

Ken: And so what we’ve done is we reached out to some of our members and if you are familiar with team DIRT, Dads Inside Riding Trainers, we have over 2,000 Facebook members, about 1,500 Strava members and a pretty large roster, we’re one of the biggest teams in the world. So we crowdsourced some questions and we went to our members and we wanted to find out what they wanted to hear, especially from Shayne because he does have a lot of experience coaching and all of us, we have a lot of questions about how we can reach our goals. So, Shayne if you want to take a look at our questions and introduce some of them and we can start to dig in.

Shayne: Sure, so the first one that got the most kind of up votes on Facebook was the advantages of planning out a yearly training plan versus going week to week or racing and riding all the time.

Chris: You’re saying like racing versus only doing workouts, right?

Shayne: I think that’s what the question was about yeah, so it was kind of “Can I race every day of the week or is it better to do more structure and then how far out should I plan that structure?”

Ken: I mean I have a slew of questions just around this topic right here. So, for instance, what happens to somebody when they race every day? And because what I discovered, for me, was when I started racing three or four days a week on Zwift, for a long time I kept getting faster. I kept hitting power records but that didn’t last forever. I did that for about a year and kept getting better and better and then I started to hit a plateau. So I guess the question is why? What happens to the body or the mind or your system that keeps you from making gain by doing that?

Shayne: Sure. Once you expose your body to the same stimulus over and over and over again you’re going to get diminishing returns on that same stimulus. Once you’re doing a lot of intensity you can get a really good uptick in your fitness relatively early and you can keep that fitness uptick pretty consistent, as long as the races are challenging you. The problem is once you reach your peak of return on training investment doing races, eventually you’re going to plateau like you experienced and then you have to change the training stimulus by either increasing the duration, increasing the intensity again. Increasing the frequency, things like that. But if you just keep doing the same thing week in and week out, you will definitely make improvements, but those improvements will diminish over time.

Chris: Well as you say that it blows my mind because I might be the crazy person, but when I get on Zwift it doesn’t occur to me to even race. I was just blasted by a bunch of friends because they always wanted to do races and the times never worked out and so eventually I just started doing workout plans. So my goal became just get on and basically punish the hell out of myself for an hour. I might have blacked out, almost blacked out on my bike only once, which is what happens when your air conditioning doesn’t work well and your fan stops working, while you’re riding.

Shayne: Ouch.

Chris: That’s a true story. But I started getting really, really bored and then I even found out because if we’re talking about Zwift it’s not as simple as races versus workouts because the racing on Zwift actually takes game skill. If you just get on and hammer, so it’s like the difference between racing and training is actually bigger than just effort, perceived effort and gains. You have to practice both and then you only have what is it Shayne? You said the average rider, the average dedicated amateur which is what I’d consider myself and Ken, we’ve got six to seven hours a week?

Shayne: Yeah in my experience it’s usually around five to seven hours a week and that consists of three to four rides per week give or take.

Chris: I heard Ken does exactly seven hours and one minute per week.

Shayne: That’s good.

Ken: That’s pretty much yeah. If you look at the last year that’s pretty accurate. It’s right around seven to eight hours, very consistent. That’s the only slot that life allows and on these weeks where I go on vacation it’s either way less or way more. So if I’m at home or on vacation I can get 10 hours in and that might happen once a year.

Chris: So how do I pick? Where’s the balance? Outdoors is easy right? I’ve got a race on August 15th, so I’m going to throw a training plan on and I’m going to do it. But with Zwift it’s different because I can race Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I can race anytime now.

Shayne: Right, I don’t think the intensity is a bad thing. The problem is if you overdo the intensity you can get burnt out and like Ken was saying you also will eventually reach that diminishing return point where if you do the same thing every single week, eventually you’re not going to get any return on training investment and the other issue too is if you are recovered before a race you can dig a lot deeper during that race and that’s going to create, I think, a much better stimulus train and your training response is going to be better as opposed to doing a race fatigued. You’re not going to be able to dig as deep and that’s going to result in maybe a decreased response. So your hard riding and your easy riding all turns into a moderate pace riding. So you’re losing that polarized training approach which has proven to be pretty successful for most people.

Shayne: The less trained you are, the less important it is to do really structured training because you can get a return on fitness just by riding your bike more. So once you get to a point where you’re becoming fitter and you’re getting not to your biological potential but once you’re maximizing whatever time you have available to train, that’s when it’s important to become more structured because that’s when you actually can change what you’re doing. But if you’re out of shape or you haven’t been training for years and years and years, the structure I don’t think is crucial unless you feel like you’re already at that plateau point.

Chris: So less is more, so that more is more.

Shayne: Kind of and it’s also important in the beginning to have fun because if you start off and just drill yourself with structure, because structure is very mentally demanding, especially if you’re time crunched and you have other life stress going on. You have to enter a really stressful structure workout pretty fresh mentally and also physically to get the most out of it. So if you had a busy day at work or you have a sick kid at home or whatever, then you’re not going to be able to dig as deep in that workout and if anything, you’re going to feel the workout which is going to demotivate you for the next time you do it.

Chris: So tell me this Ken, because you race way more right? What’s your best and worst race experience?

Ken: So obviously the best race experience is winning is a lot of fun and I have won a handful of races. So well I started as a-

Chris: Clean though right? Did you do an appropriate drug test before this race?

Ken: Yep, I did. Racing clean. Got a clean tattoo on my arm. But what I did is I started as a Cat C and you touched briefly on the gamification and I had a really, really hard time at first staying in the pack. I was shooting forward through the pack and then falling behind. Then shooting forward to fall. Basically a yo-yo through the pack. It was really exhausting. You just can’t do that so many times before I just popped. Even as a C racer, I never had a very strong sprint. So I could find ways to win by packing at strategic points and dabbing the whole group. But I was never really able to win very many sprints.

Ken: Then in Category B, it’s so competitive and I’ve only won a handful of really small races. For me the reward comes in being able to be helpful to my teammates because it’s such a fun field and it’s very rewarding where we’re on a discord chat channel and we can come up with strategies. My role has been a long range climber. The climbs that are over five minutes long, that’s where I really have … that’s my biggest strength and being able to make the race hard for other GC contenders I can do that in those areas.

Ken: But, one thing that I see a lot of is whether it’s comments on whip gliders or even Reddit you see people comment on the platform and they’re like, “I’m way out of shape I haven’t exercised in a long time, I’m just getting into this. What training program should I do?” I think Shayne touched on this a minute ago, basically it seems to me and I’ve had experience training athletes before as well, is you can almost do anything when you’re really out of shape, you can get in better shape. It doesn’t really matter. You can be very non-specific in what you’re trying to do.

Ken: So I think a lot of people that are new to Zwift are putting pressure on themselves to do certain events and training programs. But it’s like just ride, go have fun. Hit the like button on some people. Give people some ride-ons and make some friends and the friends will keep you coming back.

Chris: Ken you and I met on Zwift.

Shayne: We’re basically best friends now.

Chris: Everyone should know Ken we did have a miscommunication and he sent me a used kit to try on and I thought he was sending me a new kit to try on and so I started wearing it without washing it, not knowing the amount of sweat that I was just absorbing through my skin of just Ken’s funk. So I now know we wear the same size kit and I’m closer to you.

Ken: Shayne what advice do you have for somebody who maybe isn’t very fit, doesn’t ride very much and is just getting into Zwift for the first time?

Chris: That’s a good question.

Shayne: Sure. So I think my favorite national board is the Canadian High Performance Sports Institute right now. They have a really good long term athlete development framework that they use that I like to implement with my athletes too. A few different stages, but the first really four are an active start, the fundamentals and then learn how to train and then train to train. So active start and fundamentals are really when you’re just having fun, getting some interest in the sport. Maybe competing in local organizations or local sports. Once you do that for a few years, get some experience under your belt, enjoy the sport, then you want to get more serious about it then it’s actually learning how to train which is where a coach may come in at the very ground level and teach you about progressive overload, recovery weeks, how to judge your training stress, how to involve nutrition and hydration. Just the real basic, basic stuff. Then once you feel you have a good grasp on that, then it’s time to train to actually train for a specific event.

Shayne: So I feel like people that are coming in new to Zwift they jump right to level four which is train to train or even train to compete and they miss the fundamentals. They miss learn how to train and they miss just an active start, just having fun. So I think the first thing is give yourself a little bit of a break and go in, enjoy the training, enjoy Zwift for what it is. Make some friends, maybe join a team. Get some community and then once you figure out how to use Zwift if you enjoy it, then you get more serious about the fundamentals and maybe learn how to train first.

Chris: What would you say if I got onto Zwift and I’m just going in too hard. What are some warning signs if you’re saying, “hey, I’m listening to this podcast because I saw the name on Zwift, this is my third time riding ever.” People are riding right now are probably listening to this podcast. But they’re not sure they’re into it. What are some signs that maybe you need to chill out, take your time and not just dive in all the way to racing immediately?

Shayne: Well I think the biggest thing is are you actually enjoying what you’re doing right now? If you’re just going in and burying yourself from the get-go that’s really not good for longevity in this sport I don’t think. That’s number one. Then number two is if you are enjoying it, are you giving yourself time to absorb the training stress, time to relax or are you just going in day in and day out just beating yourself up every single day? One thing I’ve noticed people do is they get really motivated but they get almost too motivated and they ride their bikes for three weeks straight and then they burn themselves out in just a month.

Ken: Yeah.

Shayne: That’s true with everybody, especially January, February. New Year’s resolution this is going to be my year. I’m going to go to the gym every single day of this week. I’m going to get up at five in the morning and that’s awesome, but it also has to be sustainable, so. If you’re making changes to your life, they have to ideally be semi-flexible. They can’t be so rigid, but they also have to be sustainable too.

Ken: Shayne one thing that I’ve noticed is that when I’ve gone too deep and I’ve just had a run that seems like when you’re on top and everything is clicking, it seems like it’s never ever going to end. It’s like I’m going to be able to maintain this build up of fitness forever and smash all the segments in my local tracks and then all of a sudden I get to a point where I don’t even want to look at the bike and I feel depression. I feel, yeah. It’s not a favorable feeling. So that’s something I think this leads to a question too, which is how do you deal with the mental fatigue when the body is still strong? That’s one of the questions that was crowdsourced in our poll. So how do you get somebody to reset after hitting that? I’ve seen this happen over and over again. Guys are on cloud nine, they’re so excited maybe they’re screaming and making videos and they’re all in with Zwift and then all of a sudden they’re just gone.

Shayne: So I think in that case having some variety to the training I think is important. Then even riding your bike outside, that’s important too. But if you can do Concept2 row machine or an elliptical or go for a run or just do something that’s not riding your bike that is still active, I think that’s crucial. Then getting outside, I think that’s a big one too because Zwift is so good and they made it so well that it’s very addictive. But sometimes your body just needs to be and your brain just needs to be outdoors, just enjoying the sunlight and it doesn’t have to be riding your bike. It can be just going for a walk or going for a hike. So I think variety and then getting outdoors, I think that’s the two biggest things that seems to work.

Ken: Do you have times of the year with your athletes where you just them off the program altogether?

Shayne: I do, yeah. So we do at least a two week transition period after their last day race of the season. Then we’ll do at least a one week transition period after they have two races in the season. Then some of my athletes will need around this time of year when you’ve already been racing for a couple months and you’ve had a pretty long build up from February to March and April, they may need a week just for doing some kind of athlete choice rises is what I call them. So I’ll basically say go out, ride your bike but don’t worry about cadence, speed, heart rate, just literally put your computer in your cycling pocket and just go ride your bike because they need that down time and they need just to feel the wind in their hair and the sun in their face.

Chris: Wait, so hold on you’re saying that it’s supposed to be fun?

Shayne: Yeah. If I can get one thing across this podcast, cycling should be fun, first and foremost. The title is very tongue and cheek, but it’s also never going pro and it’s true. Very few people go pro at this sport. So having fun is very, very important. Granted, I’m not saying don’t take it seriously, but don’t take it too seriously either which is a hard balance to have.

Ken: Right.

Chris: Yeah. I feel you. I personally like the mental fatigue thing you talked about Ken, I mean that’s huge for me. I would get into these training plans and I used to compete in triathlons and I got up into some of the longer iron man distances and I just got into these rhythms and it was focus, focus, focus. I was the buzzkill who Friday night it was sorry guys got to go to bed at nine o’clock because I got to be in the pool at five and it seems like even just naturally like I only had that level of dedication in me for so long. Then I got to the race and I just didn’t want to do anything anymore. Even that with Zwift I’ll find that I’ll go through seasons and it’s hot or cold. So really trying to find that balance of motivation with training with trying to be productive with still racing. It’s a really hard balance. Then you throw in kids and my daughter is going from two naps to one nap and it’s like just when I get in a rhythm everything changes. It’s like a bowl full of chaos and if somebody can discover a way to continually get stronger on a bike while being a good parent and not lose your job I’d pay those people a million dollars to share their wisdom with. Maybe that’s you Shayne, maybe you’re the dude.

Shayne: Well I know a little bit, but unfortunately there’s no way to make a linear increase in your fitness month over month. There’s always going to be ups and downs to everybody and like I said in the very beginning, most athletes have five to seven hours a week to train. So, once you really get to that seven hours a week training and you’re having quality training every single hour of that week, then you have to either increase the volume and just make more time to train or increase the intensity further and a lot of times the intensity is already pretty high on the seven hour a week training plan or the seven hour a week athletes. So really they have to increase their volume and that’s really hard to do. That’s why pros don’t train seven hours a week, they train 30 hours a week, 20 hours a week whatever it may be.

Chris: Sure.

Shayne: But that’s actually a good segue to go back. Sorry we kept going back and forth. But the first question, the main question was what’s the advantages of planning a yearly training plan versus going week to week? I think you just hit it on the head where if you can plan out your training on a yearly basis you’ll know when the recovery periods are coming. You’ll know when the transitions are going to be. You’ll know when the hard weeks are going to be, when the easy weeks are going to be. I think that’s a great way to keep yourself motivated through the hard times because you know there is a vacation coming or you know there’s an easy week coming. So instead of going week to week which is a little bit helter skelter where some weeks may be hard, some weeks may be easy and you might have a month of hard workouts which can lead to burnout on the fifth week.

Chris: Sure.

Shayne: So that’s why I like training on a yearly basis. Not just yearly basis, but at least having some prioritized approach to your training and I think that’s important for a lot of reasons and I think the motivation and not having to deal with the mental fatigue is one of those big things.

Ken: So where do you get an athlete started with an annual training program. What’s square one?

Shayne: Well square one is counting backwards. So ideally they’ll have a goal then that they want to do well in and then I’ll count backwards from there to whatever day that we start with working together. So some athletes they wait until the last minute. They say hey, I have six weeks before I’m competing in X race. I say well, I hope you did your training because I’m not going to help you much in six weeks.

Chris: Unless they’re willing to write you a really big check.

Shayne: Boy, even then I don’t know. By six weeks the hay is in the barn. But it’s pretty much there. You really can’t cram too much more for that test. So ideally it would be a four to six week build. So it would be the very traditional base builds peak transition, base build, peak transition approach where we’ll do progressively overloading the body during the base phase and then we may continue that progressive overload in the build phase. But usually we’ll do a block approach where we’ll hit X TSS three weeks in a row, have a fourth week of lower TSS and then do the same thing for build number two.

Chris: All right so define TSS. You just said lots of words that make sense to me but I’m also a super geeky bike guy. So explain TSS, talk about peak, talk about overload, even base phase. We’ve got a lot of guys and I ride with some of them who are just brand new to all of this. They bought a bike two months ago.

Shayne: Sure. So base phase I like to define as the period where you increase your aerobic capacity. So basically improving your aerobic ability to generate energy and power the bike. TSS is training stress score. So that’s a way to objectify the training load on your body and it’s also a great way to plot it out on a chart over the course of a week, over the course of a month to see where your trends are and how to keep everything balanced.

Ken: Really quickly just about the training stress score. How is that calculated? Do you use … and again I know some of these things but what software do you use and what metric are you looking at to calculate the TSS?

Shayne: I use training peaks when I plan all my athletes training out. But TSS can be found in a lot of different things and if it’s not called TSS it might be called something else on Strava. I think Strava calls it training load. Then today’s plan may call it something else. But everybody has a way to measure the load on your body.

Chris: See, I’ve always had a bit of a problem with that. You get on, and I’m not saying the whole world needs to get on one boat. But, I think a lot of people out there are going to be on Zwift, they’re going to be on Strava, I also and I’m not trying to say a dirty word amongst Zwift people. But I also love trainer road and I know Mr. Frosty Badger likes trainer road as well. So each of those things has a different score and I know they’re each accurate to themselves, but I’ve always been trying to figure out. So do you have any super specific experience with some of those programs to help us navigate looking at across to translate the different language. I know for instance Strava and Zwift’s are super different. If you’ve got the Strava pro they show you your weekly progression and those scores are ludicrously different than Zwift.

Shayne: Right. So I would think the best way to do it would just be to see what your power is producing, where if you use two power meters you never know exactly how much power you’re producing because the two meters are always going to be different just like a man with two watches never knows what time it is. It’s kind of the same thing.

Chris: Hm, Proverbs.

Shayne: I would pick one program and use that program. You can use the ones like I use Strava for the social component for the pretty pictures things like that. But trainings peaks is what I use for the actual data, the actual analysis the communication things like that. Same thing Zwift is my training platform, but training peaks is my actual analysis platform. After the base phase is called the build phase and that’s where you start getting into more specific training and specific intervals for the goals and the demands of the event. So this is really where the training starts to become more individualized to the athlete where the base phase, it’s a little more general, a little bit more again just about improving aerobic capacity. The build phase is where you start to get into skills work and race specific skills or cross specific skills. Even Zwift specific skills if the athlete is doing a Zwift race.

Shayne: So after that you go into you call it your taper or your peak or whatever you want to call it. Usually it’s a week or two weeks, depending on how long the build up to it was where you decrease the volume, but maintain intensity that way you keep your legs feeling good, but you allow the fatigue to drop off which allows your form to rise up. You might have heard it on the Twitter France or whatever, he’s on good form this year or he has good form today or whatever. Form is essentially when you have high fitness and low fatigue which is what you want to have on race day.

Chris: That’s it. You just changed my life. Good form is high fitness and low fatigue.

Shayne: You got it. That’s what form is.

Chris: Man that’s it. That’s my new tattoo.

Shayne: Then after that most importantly you go into your transition phase which is when you have a one or two week athlete choice ride, whatever you want to call it where you don’t do any structure, you just go out and ride your bike or not. You can go and eat donuts and burritos all day long. Just decompress a little bit and enjoy life for awhile. Then you start back up again either with a build phase if your event is coming close, or if you go into the winter you can do your strength phase or power development phase or whatever it might be.

Chris: Ken I don’t know about you, but the more he talks the more I realize I know absolutely nothing about training that I’ve been doing my whole life.

Ken: Well one thing that I’ve decided to do is I was very confused about training and especially diet. It’s like I feel like I can get on my trainer and do this constructive stuff and follow a trainer load program or I can follow a Zwift training program and do the work. But those workouts usually stop at no more than two hours. It’s easy to eat a granola bar and a couple of Gatorades and I’m fine. But for doing a three a hour bike race in the middle of the summer heat, I was really struggling. I was falling apart. So I reached out to Shayne and he went over my diet, he went over my training. He gave me a little bit of direction that got me going in the right direction like we talked about proper fuel. There’s still a lot of room to grow there. But just having somebody who does this for a living give me some direction was really helpful, it’s worth the time.

Shayne: I appreciate that. Also let me put a giant asterisk right now where this is my opinion and what’s worked for me. It’s based on science as well, but this is my opinion so other coaches may have complete opposite opinions than I will. So take that with a grain of salt.

Chris: I actually think that’s like a huge point too. You know we’re talking about the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m surprised that when I talk to people how few people actually eat while they’re on Zwift. It’s like they’re not outside, they think I don’t need to eat. But if you’re on a trainer doing something for an hour and a half, there’s no way at least for me, there’s no way I can do that with any quality if I’m not eating something halfway through.

Shayne: Sure and it really depends on how long the ride is and how intense the ride is going to be. So as long as you have enough glycogen in storage in your liver and your muscles, you can get through a pretty strenuous 90 minute workout without too much need for extra calories or food. Once you get over that 90 minute mark or if you enter the ride in a nutrition deficit that’s when you have to start to supplement earlier. So that’s where nutrition isn’t a breakfast, lunch, dinner kind of thing. Nutrition is like a 24/7 kind of thing.

Chris: Okay. So let’s get specific. So we were talking about doing stories. Ken I asked you earlier about your funny race stories or your biggest race stories. My worst one was I had a friend from a city, I won’t name, and another guy who they became archrivals on Zwift and they became just to beat the other guy. They never even met. But I guess everybody needs a dragon to slay. This guy was like, I guess it would be funnier if I just named names. So we won’t do that. So he for the very last race for their series on Zwift was like, “hey man, you’ve got to get up. You’ve got to help pull me up this mountain et cetera, et cetera.” He’d asked me for weeks and finally I relented and it ended up with me getting up at 3:45 in the morning central time to be warmed up and ready to do a 5:30 race for eastern time. So I was on my bike at 4:30. I understand I hear the laughter. But I was dead man. I got up to try to eat and it didn’t matter. We started the climb and I was just done. I might as well have logged onto Zwift and then laid back down in my bed.

Ken: Yeah I think I was in that race and I think I know the guys that you’re talking about.

Chris: You know who I’m talking about. So you know.

Ken: Without us getting into too many inside jokes. So we had a 12 week long series and it was the closest battel between the two B guys I had ever seen. The way it played out was beautiful and yeah.

Chris: Let’s call the first guy just Dustin. Let’s just call him Dustin. Might not be his name.

Ken: Yeah. I don’t remember the other guy’s name but it was a really close race. But yeah, I have definitely seen people take Zwift too seriously, to the point their rage is like angry teenagers. Throwing the mic down, throwing the controller down and walking out the room and I’m just like guys if you ever get there it might be time to unplug for a little while.

Chris: So Shayne tell me, okay let’s say I’m going to race like an idiot at five in the morning which I’m never doing again by the way. That was my first and last ever again. I want to race at like 2pm with only retired people. They still beat me, but at least I’ve got lunch in me. So is there ever nutritionally is there even a way to get your body primed and prepped to do something that early that doesn’t require getting up at two in the morning or something? How does that work?

Shayne: Yeah you have to kind of fold your clothes the night before where you want to have a really carbohydrated dense dinner that way your body will replenish the glycogen storage in your muscles because you may wake up in a fasted state which means your glycogen in your liver, but your liver is low on glycogen but your muscles should still have glycogen in them. The fuel, like I said a 60 to 90 minute workout depending on nutrition status entering the ride. Then you can easily top off the blood sugar just by drinking some orange juice or eating a quick bagel or something like that. Typically the earlier or the sooner you have to race the less you want to eat and the more simple the sugar should be and then vice versa. The more time you have you can eat more actual food where you have two or three hours before an event.

Chris: So if I’m going to get up at five and race at 5:30 I should just eat six spoonfuls of sugar.

Shayne: Or honey on a English muffin, that’s a really good one.

Chris: Yeah that’s probably better.

Shayne: A glass of orange juice, things like that. Something that’s really, really simple to digest and something that you would ideally practice before. So the old saying, “nothing new on race day.” Even though it’s a virtual race, it is still a race. So you want to have practiced what your body can tolerate and what you can stomach before. But it’s really important to enter it recovered. So what you eat for dinner or for dessert or whatever is more important than before, because that’s when you have the time to actually make an impact in how you enter the race.

Chris: You guys did not think my spoonfuls of sugar joke was very funny.

Shayne: Sorry.

Ken: We’ll edit in some laughter after. But yeah-

Shayne: Your mic is so loud over there. Yeah I’m going to have to mute your mic. I keep hearing the gate opening.

Ken: Sounds like you’re sucking out of the top of a Redi-Whip can.

Shayne: What are you doing over there?

Chris: I’m sitting down. I’m literally doing nothing.

Shayne: Maybe it’s Ken.

Chris: Maybe I’m a mouth breather.

Ken: All right so Shayne I guess one question that I do have, if you are one of these people you are waking up and you’re on the bike within 30 minutes of your feet hitting the ground, are you just going to have to accept that you’re making some performance sacrifices that you’re never going to be 100% at that time or is possible that obviously you find that some of your athletes do perform best first thing in the morning?

Shayne: I think athletes tend to perform better in the morning, but not first thing in the morning. So they tend to perform better after they’ve had 90 minutes to drink a cup of coffee, have an actual breakfast, kind of wake up a little bit, then ride. I don’t think anybody feels great after waking up and then getting on the bike and then hammering 30 minutes after they wake up. Then the other issue too is we’re not going to bed, well typically I can’t speak for everybody, but we’re not going to bed at 8pm and waking up at 5am. We might be going to bed at 11, 11:30 waking up at 4:30, 5 o’clock. So you’re not getting 10 hours of sleep, you might only be getting six or seven hours of sleep. Also the sleep we’re getting isn’t usually, it maybe quality, but there’s always one eye open or one ear open listening for the baby monitor making sure that there’s no coughing and they’re both still breathing and all those things that go through a parent’s mind the whole time.

Chris: Breathing children are crucial to a strong Zwift race.

Shayne: Absolutely.

Ken: Yeah and I will say this looking back when I first started, when I first had our daughter and I didn’t have a shed yet it was still too cold and dark and my wife she’s a personal trainer so she leaves really early. I would have the baby monitor and watching DCN videos on my iPad and I would set my trainer up in the carport in the freezing cold. So she would wake up and I would hear her on the baby monitor. She was like one years old, two years old. It was miserable and I could maybe do that two days a week just to keep my fitness in the winter time to keep me from going to zero.

Shayne: Sure.

Ken: Is the best I could do. Then I got my shed and got Zwift and even with the most basic laptop setup and space heater next to me, it was a world better than I had ever experienced before. So one thing I think that’s important to keep the knowledge in this podcast is that we’re really in the golden age of indoor training. I mean there’s options and trying to get this across to my cycling buddies, been at it for decades. When I try to speak to them about, “hey man, try Zwift it’s fun.” They just cannot conceive of it because they’ve always done traditional rides on their training and heart rate monitor and they just don’t know better. But that start up investment of spending a $1,000 on a trainer or a power meter and downloading the software and making sure you have the equipment to run it, it’s daunting and it’s hard to see.

Chris: Yeah and it’s a hurdle.

Ken: Yeah it’s a hurdle. It’s hard to say like, “hey listen training on an indoor trainer just always sucks. You’re not going to get me to pay $1,000 to start doing it more.”

Shayne: Right and I can also say that same thing for cycling coaches and triathlon coaches that thought this was just going to be a fad and it was never going to last and why a I involved in Zwift so heavily and why am I involved? It’s the day to days well look at it now. What other cycling team or what other cycling program got 120 million dollar round B evaluation or investment?

Ken: Right.

Chris: Well from my perspective I mean I used to just watch Netflix and be on a stupid fluid trainer and I hated life. But I really felt like I was just trying to hang onto fitness.

Ken: Sure.

Chris: I wasn’t growing at all. But then I started using Zwift through this last winter and I came out of the winter strong and I’m out riding with my buddies and it was let’s be real, it’s more fun when you’re the guy causing people to suffer versus the one who’s at the back of the train suffering. That was just Zwift doing races and doing some soft training plans. I came out of the winter not tired, but I felt strong. So it’s worth it. I think it’s worth the investment.

Shayne: 100%. 100%.

Chris: Free infomercial.

Ken: Yeah hopefully my friends will listen to this podcast and get with the times. Oh, yeah absolutely. Thank you everybody for taking the time to join the never going pro podcast about riding bikes, being parents and trying super hard at both. Thank you both Chris and Shayne for going today and for all of the folks that put forth questions. We really do appreciate it and we hope that you’ll come back and listen to more. So that’s it for tonight and thank you for joining and we will see you next time.

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Shayne Gaffney

About the Author Shayne Gaffney

Shayne holds a bachelors degree in Health Science in Professional Development and Advanced Patient Care, is a licensed physical therapy assistant in Massachusetts, a USA Cycling Level 1 (expert level) certified Coach, a USA Cycling Power Based Training certified Coach, Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified Coach, a US Military Endurance Sports (USMES) affiliated Coach, and USA Olympic Committee Safe Sport certified. He is the owner and head Coach of GC Coaching, Workout Content Editor at Zwift, the creator of P2 Coached Computraining, and the creator of Zwift’s “Build Me Up” Flexible Training Plan. He has been published in Bicycling Magazine, the TrainingPeaks blog, and Zwift Insider. He can be contacted directly via info@gaffneycyclingcoaching.com

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