Chapter 1 Why I’m Writing These Articles

There is no shortage of training information online for racing cyclists. Trouble is, almost all of it is “pieces and parts” of a well-designed training plan. And that's what you pay for when you take on a coach: a plan that is designed specifically for you and you alone, based on your strengths, weaknesses, your chosen events, and by extension — your limiters. In this series I'll take you through my own self-coached process in the hopes that you'll find some processes that will help you get faster, go longer, and have much more fun on the bike.

A couple of racing seasons ago, I was accused of conducting “secret training.”

Nothing could have been further from the truth. However, the people I rode with recreationally and who I had raced with during the previous season were wondering why I didn't show up nearly as much to group rides, anymore. So, when I did show up, the joke was that I must involved in some form of covert, non-shareable, and therefore "secret" training.

It was all in good fun.

The "secrets" however, could be easily discovered in the writings of Joe Friel, Chris Carmichael, Andrew Coggan, Hunter Allen, Alan Couzens, and other sports physiologists and coaches. Their websites, seminars, books, tweets, and videos have been my educational and training companions for quite a while now.

If you are serious about your race training, you know that you can't really "train" in a group. It's something that happens on your own time, and at your own intensity. However, if you are self coached, you may not always feel confident that what you are doing during your race preparation is the best thing for you.

Now that I’m several months into my 2016 training, with only a month or so before the first races of the year, I’ve decided to throw open my training journal. Over the next several posts I will do more than give you a glimpse into my training, I will essentially be transparent. No secrets, if you will.

  • What methodologies I employ
  • The exact workouts I undergo — and when
  • Nutrition approaches, as well as the supplements I take
  • And planning techniques I use for the training year

As a USA Cycling Level 2 Coach, I've learned a lot of stuff for my own personal training. I will detail as much about my personal statistics, strengths, and weaknesses so that you might be able to choose for yourself those items that best apply to your own goals. I might even motivate a few of you to move from self coached to professionally coached.

Of course, I also hope to do well in my “A” races! A little validity to the process never hurt, right?

I encourage you to leave comments and ask questions. Just because I am an accredited coach does not mean that I have all of the answers. However, I know other coaches, and I have a research library. I'll be happy to give you my educated opinion.

Although I am an accredited USA Cycling coach, not all accredited coaches subscribe to the same methodologies and approaches. All coaches like to tinker and "practice" their craft with their athletes. Coaching is very much an art. What works for one athlete may leave another athlete on a plateau — or even elicit a negative training response. That said, I will do my best to outline the reasoning behind the decisions in each post.
Sam Lowe

I've been a road cyclist with a penchant for speed ever since my first-ever paycheck holiday. I blew the whole wad on a turquoise Schwinn Tempo with then-new Shimano 105 indexed shifting way back in 1985. I've been a voracious consumer of racing-oriented information ever since. Training, nutrition, bike fit, racing techniques, and all manner of "kit." Between nearly 30 years of riding, racing, and reading about racing, I'm ready to help you get ready to race.