No more Christmas cake for now: Matt Brammeier writes for RCUK

So, how many of you ventured out each day for an extra hour or so over the Christmas period? Just so they could eat that extra mince pie?

No? Me neither!

Time to enter starvation mode! Ha ha, just kidding. With the Tour Down Under looming, I have been pretty sensible over the last week or so. I didn’t eat much junk and not a drop of alcohol. I think that’s a first for me.

Anyway, Christmas is over and 2012 is almost upon us. As I already mentioned, I’ll be starting my season earlier than normal in Australia at the Tour Down Under. This means more kilometres and bigger numbers all round for this time of the year. Normally around now I’m still focused on long hours in the saddle with masses of power training, but I’m already into full-gas interval sessions and split training days. Luckily the weather has been pretty kind to us so training hasn’t been as grim as it usually is at this time of year.

My training, as always, has been split into three day blocks. Typically there’ll be one longer ride of four to five hours, a split day with an easy few hours in the morning and an interval session indoors in the afternoon and on the last day three to five hours again, finishing off with some motor pacing.

As always, I’ll be doing one or two core strength training sessions every day to try to even my bodily balance out a little. A few of you were asking for more info last week on just what my core sessions consist of. Usually on a training camp I’ll take part in a group session every morning with the rest of the team. This is normally pretty basic stuff (lying on planks, etc) that is a little more of a general work out for our inner core muscles and some muscle activation prior to training.

When I’m at home I have a much more tailored program. Every two weeks I take a trip to my physio where I’ll be tested on my strength in the areas affected by my old leg injuries. My plan is then altered (normally made harder) for the next few weeks. I really have been focused on doing everything right the last two months so I have already seen some massive improvements, including a muscle mass gain of almost 1cm in circumference in my left quads. Each week I start off struggling to finish each session, but after the first few days it gradually gets easier until it’s too easy and the process will start over again.

I’ve been using a new tool called a ‘red cord’ which is basically a set of ropes I dangle from that make a core session that much harder!

So I’ve a few more days left of training in the cold and I’m off to Australia. Something I’m looking forward to, that’s for sure. We will have a few days to adjust to the time difference and climate and then Race Day Number 1 will be upon us! I’m pretty excited to get going already but once again feeling a little nervous over how I’ll feel so early in the year. I’m sure it’s going to be a tough Tour with a lot of suffering but every racing kilometre done before ‘de Ronde’, the better!


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