Joe Friel is author of the successful “Training Bible” series of books, a regular columnist for VeloNews and Inside Triathlon magazines and the founder of www.ultrafit.com. Dirk Friel races professionally and coaches along with Joe at Ultrafit Associates.The Friels also offer answers to a selection of questions each Wednesday on VeloNews.com. Readers can send questions to Joe and Dirk Friel in care of VeloNews.com at WebLetters@7Dogs.com. (Be sure to include “Friel” in the subject line.)
Dear Joe and Dirk;
I love your column. I am not a racer, just a guy who commutes to work every day and rides hard a couple of times a week, also I do an occasional century. I’ve considered doing a few races but I have exercise-induced asthma. I’m only affected when I go all out for any length of time.
I used to run cross-country but stopped because I relied too heavily on my medication before races, needing at least a dose or two. Do you know if there is any literature about the long-term effects of asthma medication on athletes? Or do you know of any professional cyclists with asthma? Thank you very much. –Jonathan
I’ve never come across anything that looked at the long-term effects of asthma medication on the health of athletes. This is a question that is best posed to your doc, as he knows what you are taking and how severe your condition is.
It’s doubtful, however, that he/she will be able to tell you how it relates to athletes’ health over a period of many years. But I expect he/she could give you a good guess.–-Dirk
I have your “Cyclists Training Bible” as well as a Computrainer and have a few questions related testing and weight training.
First regarding Computrainer power test and LT test. In January I tested and came up good in power, but scored below average on wattage at LT.
Unfortunately I did no testing during the season but recently did re-tests as I begin the off season and my power rating dropped to average while my wattage increased at LT. Since I didn’t do any weight training maintenance program I guess I could have expected that to happen since I am in the 45+ category.
So the question is, is this the norm? I do plan to lift weights again and have considered using your weight training plan, however, I consider strength to be my major weakness therefore, I was wondering if it would be better for me to work strictly on a strength training program for 12-16 weeks or to use the program you have detailed in your book? Which do you think would benefit my overall performance best? Thanks. — MB
I find it understandable that you may have experienced a higher power output at LT at the end of the season, as compared to January. I would say your loss of peak power at the end of the season was due to a loss of strength over the length of the season, and your increase of power at lactate threshold was due to improved muscular endurance (January is where you most likely had lower training volume).
Power is Force times Velocity so a loss in either one can result in lower power output. Adding a smart periodized strength program into your training can improve both your max power output and also your power at lactate threshold. This is especially true if your weakness, or limiter, is force. An increase in force can both increase your sprint and also muscular endurance. A strength routine year around can also help to maintain your peak power output and guard against a loss of it as you experienced this season. – Dirk
Joe Friel is the author of “TheCyclist’s Training Bible.” Dirk Friel races professionally and coachesalong with Joe at Ultrafit Associates. For software go to www.TrainingBible.com,and for coaching services and a free training newsletter go to www.Ultrafit.com.Questions can be sent to WebLetters@7Dogs.com.