Learn from your past to get fitter and faster

When I start working with someone new I always spend some time learning about things they have done so that I understand what has worked for them in the past and what hasn’t worked so well. I thought it would be useful to explain how I go about this so that other people can learn from my experiences.

So, how do you learn from your past to get fitter and faster? Look at hard data first, heart rate, power, pace and any associated comments, don’t rely on memory at least initially.

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Do I need a training camp to get fitter?

In my experience, there are pros and cons to going on a training camp. I thought it would be useful to spend some time thinking about these and doing some research to help evaluate the best way forward.

So, do I need a training camp to get fitter? No, you do not need a training camp to get fitter for cycling or running and in some cases, going on a training camp can be worse than staying at home.

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Use a Wattbike to get faster at long distance cycling events

Many of the endurance cyclists I work with have found that incorporating one or two Wattbike sessions into their weekly training has paid dividends and added interest to their training. I thought it would be useful to write an article on the subject and explain how this works.

So, how do you use a Wattbike to get faster at long distance cycling events? The most effective way to use a Wattbike is to work on the higher intensity fitness

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How can I get better at cycling up hills?

I am often asked how cyclists can get better at cycling uphills, so I gave the problem some thought, did a bit of additional research and decided to write an article to explain my findings.

So, how can I get better at cycling up hills? In most cases, the best way to get better at cycling up hills is to improve your cycling fitness using a combination of harder efforts and endurance rides.

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John HampshireComment
How Do I Train for an Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Race

I was having a quick scan around the internet at the information available on training for endurance events and thought it would useful to write an article on training for an Ultra-Endurance Mountain Bike Event.

So how do you train for an ultra endurance mountain bike race? The best way is to break your training down into specific areas, here are 5 of the most important:

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My favourite cycling and running books

Over the years I have read many books about training, coaching, nutrition, strength and conditioning, etc. Some of these have been very useful and some less useful. This blog provides a review of the ones I have found to be of most practical use along with a few that are just a good and inspiring read.

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John Hampshire
How should I recover from an ultra-endurance event?

I have been increasingly involved with athletes taking part in ultra-endurance events such as the Transatlantic Way, Transcontinental, HT550 and even a successful Round the World Record attempt. These events put huge demands on competitors’, both physically and mentally and I thought it would be useful to write about my findings on how best to recover from these long ultra-endurance events.

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How to train for cyclocross and ultra-endurance cycling

Some of the endurance cyclists I work with like to do cyclocross in the winter to keep fit, add some interest and enjoy a new challenge. One of the athletes I work with wanted to learn more about the background of the training I am setting. I wrote a lengthy explanation by email and thought the ideas might be useful to others, so I have included the details here.

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Font Romeu Nature Trail

Font Romeu Nature Trail former Killian Classik is a great weekend of racing with a bit of something for everyone!

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How much Should I eat during a trail race?

Chatting a to a running friend who had completed her first 3 Peaks Race in the UK, her own experience resonated so much with my own; she hadn’t got her food intake right and felt she could have run far better had she fuelled better. As general guidance most articles and books I have read advise 30g to 60g of carbohydrate per hour, or 100 to 300 calories per hour if you prefer. However, there are many variables that come in to play

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How do I become a Fitter, Faster, Better Cyclist or Runner: think better, perform better?

Chapter 7: Think better, perform better: Here are some practical techniques in sports psychology that can be used to make real gains in performance. Try asking yourself a couple of questions: What proportion of your performance do you think is due to your mind? What proportion of the training time do you commit to training your mind? My guess is that there will be a discrepancy between the two answers…

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How do I become a Fitter, Faster, Better Cyclist or Runner: the longer term plan?

Chapter 6: Longer term (phased) training plans: Once you get into your sport more and more you may start to think about goals that are further in the future. For example you may have done some competitions this year and think it would be good to see whether you can do better next year. To meet these longer term goals it is a good idea to make a longer term plan for success.

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Will Losing Weight Help Me to Be a Better Mountain Runner?

Undoubtedly if you are carrying extra weight, then losing some weight will reduce the amount of work you have to do, especially when running up those mountains! However, I have all too often seen runners lose too much weight and begin the slow decline towards multiple injuries, fatigue and declining performance. Being a healthy weight will help you be a better runner, being too thin can, however, be just as damaging to both your overall health and your performance as carrying too much weight.

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Clare Pearson
How do I become a Fitter, Faster, Better Cyclist or Runner: weight, diet and nutrition?

Chapter 5 - Weight, diet and nutrition: The subject of this chapter involves three related concepts that are important to consider if you want to take part in competitive sport. Whilst you won’t achieve sporting success as a direct consequence of your weight, diet and nutrition, it is certainly true that not eating properly will reduce or even negate your chances of success.

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How do I become a Fitter, Faster, Better Cyclist or Runner: keeping track of it all?

Chapter 4: Keeping track of it all: You now have a goal and a detailed plan to meet your goal. You can access the earlier chapters of the ebook here if you want to review them. In my experience it is useful for many reasons to use some measures to keep track of progress, fatigue and various other parameters. Don’t be scared if you’re not very technically minded, as it's very easy and there are lots of free tools out there that you can use.

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How do I become a Fitter, Faster, Better Cyclist or Runner: how do I make my goal real?

Chapter 2: How do I make my goal real? After Chapter 1 you will have: your goal (what you want to achieve at a certain time); a list o things you need to achieve your goal; what you can do in comparison to each of those needs; one physical need that is a priority; and one psychological need that is a priority.

If you don’t have these things you may want to go back to review Chapter 1 and put these in place, alternatively you can go on with this Chapter but it is important to do each step in turn to get a really solid plan.

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How do I become a fitter, faster, better cyclist or runner (Chapter 1)?

Chapter 1: How do I become a fitter, faster, better cyclist or runner: The basic principles of training for sport are simple and needn’t be complicated. Some of the theories are complicated but it isn’t necessary to understand these to achieve amazing things. What I want to do is produce a simple guide to training and competing that is accessible yet provides the basic requirements for an athlete at any level.

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How can I cycle further without getting tired?

Working with long distance cyclists I am often amazed at how the human body can be trained to cycle further and further. I thought it would be useful to help others learn from my experience by writing a blog article with some guidance on how to develop your ability to cycle longer distances.

So, how can I cycle further without getting tired? There are four main things that will help:

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John Hampshire