Getting back into training!

Ross Machejefski has been a High Performance cycling coach for 8 years. Now working for Swiss Cycling,  Ross will be making some guest appearances at Athlete Lab and providing some insights through blogs scattered throughout the year . Below is his first one which should help you get back into a sustainable routine in 2017.

So, you’ve eaten too many Christmas puddings, your mother in law, Aunty Susan and Cousin Dan all bought you chocolate (it’s rude not to eat a gift of course), the weather was average and you preferred to play soccer with the kids rather than ride outside. Sound like something you can relate to? No need to stress, below are a few tips that will help get you back to feeling fit and on the right track toward reaching your 2017 goals.



Planning and Patience

One of the most tempting and common things to do post holidays is to go in with feelings of freshness, guilt and motivation which results in absolutely ripping back into it. Whilst we love motivation, being motivated by feelings of guilt and or feeling fresh often can lead to a huge spike in performance for a small time but an inevitable crash not long after.

The physical reason for this is because when you are fresh you can train really hard and you are motivated to do more sessions than normal. I like to compare this to a match box. When you start back training you have a full match box, but going so hard means you burn three or four matches at a time. Your performance is fantastic but quickly you get down to your last match – almost before the fitness gains have occurred, meaning that soon you’re out of matches and you become fatigued and feel less motivated.

The better strategy is to plan you’re reintroduction back into training by burning just one or two matches at a time, allowing the box to last much longer. What this also does is allow the fitness benefits to match the fatigue and therefore it’s easier to “top up” the matchbox as you go.

Forgetting the analogy now, what this means is that you must play that slightly long game, and not overdo it and come back into a more consistent training regime. It must be graduated and progressive.

Variety and Building Blocks

Planning your sessions is the most important aspect to avoid the above. Thinking about your next month in advance and looking at how you are going to get to your desired fitness levels in a systematic way.

For example, in week one you may do four sessions.. Week two may be four sessions again. Week three may be five sessions in total  Week four you may decide to have an easy week and allow recovery , regeneration and ultimately fitness gains Before stepping back up in week five again for example. The Below table illustrates these in more detail.  Actually planning the block and looking at a diary and putting down some ideas, or talking with one of the Lab coaches can really help give you a more consistent fitness build . Consistency is the key to any fitness improvements or step towards your goals. See below an example training block.


Amount of sessions

Types of sessions



2 x Easy 2 x Medium



2 x Easy 1 x Medium 1 x Hard



2 x Easy 2 X Medium 1 X Hard



1 x Easy, 1 X Medium 1 x Hard

It’s really important to have at least half your sessions slightly easier in nature and aerobic focused (obviously they are all hard but by picking at least half your sessions as “easier” ones). There are some new sessions going to be rolling out at the Lab in 2017 too, one of these sessions “The Presbury” gives some variety to the Ironmania sessions in this department.

Winter Road Riding

One of the hardest parts of our sport is that, to achieve performance in three months time we need to build an aerobic base. This means doing a fair amount of lower intensity (55-70 % FTP) riding.

Whilst at the Lab they love seeing you as much as possible, mixing these sessions with your steady state road riding is crucial for long term progression. Of course, in winter this is not easy to do this due to less daylight and rubbish weather. My biggest advice here is to plan one decent road ride per weekend. Two is great but make sure you get in one. My second piece is buy the gear. The wet weather and warm gear. Yes warm and waterproof cycling gear is expensive, but it really is worth its price in gold. If you have the right winter gear, three hours (or more) riding becomes an easy enjoyable task, will keep you healthy, motivated and again overall able to maintain a consistent build toward your goals.

So, that’s it from me for now, I wish you well in your January riding, I hope this advice heeds some planned motivation and look out for my next blog on cross training and activation.

Go well,

Ross M