Training for an epic 100 miler sportive is hard enough when you’re squeezing in turbo sessions around office hours. For Trek Drops Professional Cyclist Annie Simpson, keeping her fitness to UCI bike-race level isn’t easy when working full-time as a sports nutritionist at OTE Sports. Here’s Annie’s tips for max training gains in minimal hours.
1. Train at Lunch
“At lunchtime it's always intervals for me. I try and vary these from week to week to make sure I'm training all areas. Some are 10 minutes, others are much shorter. My favourite is a pyramid session: 15s on, 45 off, 30s on, 30s off, 45s on, 15s off, 1 min on, 1 min off and back down. Do that 3 times you know you've had a good work out.”
2. Plan Your Meals
“I try and have lunch before my lunchtime session. Ok it might mean having it at 11:30am but when you have limited time to train, it's important to make sure your training isn't compromised by being under fuelled. Usually a sandwich or wrap is a normal lunch for me and then I follow the hard session with an OTE recovery drink.”
3. Face Any Weaknesses
“Intervals are always the way to go when you want bang for your buck. Anything that gets you heart rate varying. Think about what you struggle with when out riding in a group, and try replicate this. In races, when I’m already slightly in the red on a climb and then an attack goes, if I can simulate this during my interval sessions, I'm training a weakness.”
4. Always Snack Right
“If I’m on the bike at 5pm, which can be normal when I commute home, I will have my normal lunch around 12-1pm and then have a snack mid-afternoon, around 2 hours before my evening training session. If the session is hard and long, like a chaingang, something more substantial like some toast or granola might be necessary. But if it's a short commute home an OTE Anytime Bar or Duo Bar will do for me.”
5. Recover at Your Desk
“Keep hydrated and keep snacking. Fuelling little and often is good for recovery especially when it has a hit of protein in it. A mid-morning protein bar or some nuts is usually the norm for me. An easy spin at lunch time also helps me to recover from a hard morning session or a chaingang the night before.”
6. Max Your Sleep
“I’m not great at sleep, but I know that wearing ear plugs helps me have a deeper sleep and be less likely to wake up.”
7. Use Your Commute
“I commute to work, not so much in the winter, but in the summer at least twice a week depending on what races I have on a weekend. Working in central Leeds at OTE Sports I can get in on the bike just as quick as in the car. I find cycling to work is a really effective use of my time. I usually spin in on the morning keeping it low intensity, and then use the way home for the specifics, like intervals or riding to my local group rides.”
8. Be Adaptable
“I don't cope very well when I have to miss a training session because of work. If I have something on my training plan in my head I really need to do it. I have 3 points in my day where I can train so whether I get up earlier and get the intervals in before work, or train a bit later at night and sacrifice my down time. I more often than not get it done.
I plan my own training at the start of the week to work around my diary. No two weeks are the same; at least this keeps it fresh. I have confidence now in quality over quantity so I never shy away from indoor training.”
9. Consistency is Key
“If you can string together back-to-back weeks on quality riding then this is when you see your fitness increase. Doing it with a friend always makes a massive difference as you can encourage each other; whether its an hour indoors after work or doing an extra hour at the weekend.
“Oh and fuel properly! Don't try ride long distances on little food, it's not enjoyable and not beneficial. Get some food in your back pocket you enjoy, remember to eat it little and often and see how much faster you go!