A lot of my non-cycling friends are intrigued by the amount of training that we do. Saturday morning, after tweeting about doing a 2 hour session on the turbo, I got a bunch of tweets saying that just reading my tweets made them feel tired!
As a club rider, I don’t do half the training that some of the top local guys do. On average it’s about 10 hours a week for me, including a couple of hours a week in the gym. But with running a busy business, with offices across Scotland, it’s the maximum that I can do. And sometimes it can be a challenge to fit even that in – hence my 5.30am turbo tweets!
So what’s involved in all this? Who’s in Team McGill? Quite a few people!
First off there’s my coach for the past five years, Ken Bryson of Total Endurance. Ken prepares training plans for me each month, we work on three weeks of hard training & one recovery week each block. Ken structures the training so that my fitness & speed progresses throughout the season, aiming to peak for a few key events.
At my age, looking after my body is a really important part of recovery, and a couple of years ago I was introduced to Joey Devlin of Aberdeen Sports Massage by my mate Ian Brown. I now see Joey every four weeks for an hour of pain, sorry deep tissue massage (hurts like hell, but feels great afterwards!).
Then there’s nutrition. Over the past few years I’ve tried a few different brands, mainly SIS and Allsports, however for the past six months I’ve been using Herbalife supplied by my Perth-based mate Steve Bonthrone. I’ve been really impressed with the products so far, and with Steve being a competitive runner and personal trainer, he’s been able to tailor a program that meets my needs. I’m now at my lightest weight since I started cycling back in 2006, and it’s only January. Hopefully my weight loss will continue and I’ll lose a few more kilos in the next couple of months before the serious racing starts!
And then there’s a couple of training aids. I started using the Sufferfest training videos to relieve the boredom after breaking my collarbone last winter. I now have all 10, and use them for pretty much every turbo session, often just for the kick-ass music and brilliant race footage rather than the workouts themselves (I have my sessions all planned out by Ken).
Recently, thanks to the Sufferfest I’ve been introduced to Athlete’s Audio, an innovative mental training program for sports people. When I played golf, I was really interested in the mental side of the game. I’d never even thought about that side of cycling, but thinking about how you feel in a time trial, the difference between winning and losing, between a PB and an average time, often comes down to that space between your ears. I’m excited to see what difference a strong mental game can make to my cycling this season.
And finally, most importantly, there’s my family. Without the support and understanding of Joanna, Andy & Rebecca (even though she’s at Uni in Dundee now), I wouldn’t be able to commit the time to training and racing that makes all of this possible.
This is what it takes to be a reasonable club rider. To be a good local racer, capable of winning races, will require a lot more. Scary, huh?!?