Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Carmichael Training Systems

I took the plunge and signed up for online coaching through Carmichael Training Systems. Over the next few months I plan to (hopefully) post regular updates about my experience using an online coaching service.

So, why CTS?
Simply put, they seem like one of the top names in the business. I could have hired a local coach, which would have gotten me some face time or used smaller online services, but CTS seemed like the biggest and best. Frankly, Chris Carmichael's experience with Lance Armstrong weighed heavily in their favor. Let's just hope his experience translates well to an online service.

How much does it cost and what do you get?
It depends. Packages are offered that range from $50/month to $500/month. The higher priced packages get you more coaching time, in depth analysis and a more experienced coach. I wanted to make sure my coach had plenty of cycling experience so I opted for a package in the middle of that range (ok, not quite the middle, a bit below the middle).

Last week I signed up and received an introduction from my coach the next day. He has been racing at the semi-pro/elite level for 8 years, went to the Olympic trials for track racing and has numerous other accomplishments in track racing at the national level. Now this is the kind of coach I was looking for!

The first order of business is to conduct a field test. The results of this are used to build your training routine and provide a good gauge of your progress. The test (for cycling) is simply a 3 mile time trial, performed twice. This weekend I scouted out a relatively flat 3 mile course (around here, finding that isn't easy!) and got to work. After a 30 minute warmup the first trial got under way. 7:30 mintues later the suffering was over. Average heart rate: 172. I gently rode back to the start, taking the full 15 minutes advised in the test instructions and got under way again. After 7:45 and an average HR of 169 I was finished (well, aside from the 30 minute ride home).

As soon as I got back, I gathered the data from my tests (time, HR, cadence, etc) and emailed them to my coach. He and I are scheduled to talk on the phone tomorrow to lay out goals and a training plan. Stay tuned!


At 7:07 PM, Blogger Jim Carson said...

I'll be interested in your overall experience with this.

Have you done any kind of LT or VO2Max testing?

Also, was the 3-mile flat section SR202 or SR203 to Fall City? (Those are the only roads I can think of...)

At 7:23 PM, Blogger Doug W said...

No official testing like that. Though I've heard that your HR average over the 3 mile time trial approximates your LT. Generally the program is based completely around the results of these field tests.

Actually, I found a 3 mile section on East Lake Sammamish Parkway, on the lake side of the road. I start a little ways past the light at Inglewood Hill. This is pretty flat for 3 miles until it hits an uphill just past Thompson Hill road. I chose to end on an uphill deliberately so my heartrate would stay high even when I was ready to throw in the towel.

I should mention that the test instructions said it was ok to use an uphill course.

At 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Vince from Chi-Town and cannot seem to find the details of your training program after the 2 -3 mile time trials. Hit me at Stewman@aol.com and tell me how to locate the rest of the details (I Guess I am not good at following the Blogs or something.) IT Guy 312-287-4625

At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Jack from the Windy city, I was wondering if from your testing were you able to increase you speed overall. id38special@sbcglobal.net


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