Posted by: Jennifer Sage | April 23, 2009

Training for the Giretto – fatigue yes, but no soreness

Not since I have started training in earnest for The Giretto have I been sore.

I find this a very good thing! Perhaps I haven’t pushed myself far enough, and perhaps I’ll feel it when I do a “real” climb longer than 3 miles (soon).

But on the other hand, I am so impressed with the concept of training responsibly with gradual progression, I have to say IT REALLY WORKS! I mean, there’s no reason to have to be sore!

OK, that might sound stupid coming from a personal trainer and longtime cyclist. As a trainer, I’ve always preached this to my clients. But I have to admit I fall into that category of humans who sometimes thinks things don’t “apply to me”. I mean, I’m fit, I’ve been fit most of my life, and I have always had an attitude of “I can do this, I can do whatever I decide I want to do”! So I sometimes take on an event without really committing to a solid progressive training program.

It’s worked in the past. “Soreness” told me I was getting ready for the event. In fact, I used my level of soreness as a litmus test for how well I was doing in my training. If I wasn’t sore, I hadn’t pushed myself hard enough. But you know what? There’s a better way than that!

I can tend to wing things. It’s often a result of a very scattered schedule – traveling for Mad Dogg Athletics (Spinning), haphazard  personal training client schedules, last minute bicycle tour clients that keep me glued to my computer for 12-hour days to prepare their tour packages, last year writing a business plan – all have gotten in the way of any kind of schedule I’ve set for myself in the past. I’ve come to realize that it’s almost better to have a regular 9-5 job around which to strictly plan a training schedule than one that is so irregular and subject to the whims or requirements of other’s schedules.

Any events in which I’ve participated in my past, I was able to complete them just fine, so in a way, it established a less-than-healthy precedent. I mean, I used to mountain bike race (13-15 years ago), and I was pretty haphazard with my training and did ok. I have done many century rides over the years; we climb Independence Pass every year early in the cycling season; I’ve climbed Alpe d’Huez (and other major cols in Europe) on several bike tours and never had a problem; every year we do a 3-6-hour cross-country ski trips to a mountain hut; I’ve even done the Triple Bypass (twice), all without a whole lot of “committed” training (except for my regular Spinning classes and general commitment to being “fit” and cycling whenever I can).

And I’ve completed them all. Sometimes sore for days, but always happy.

But can you imagine if I had stuck to a training program? Like I’m doing now?! 

As I said, I preach this to my clients, but haven’t always stuck to it myself, until now. In fact, training for the Giretto has been an amazing experience for me. It’s taught me so much about myself, and about what I can (and should) push myself to do, and by extension, what I can push my clients to do. To be clear, I don’t train elite athletes; I train wanna-be and recreational athletes to set goals and achieve them, and ordinary folks to improve their cardiovascular health and fitness.

Now, even more than before, I know what they can really achieve! 

I have not been sore yet while amping up my volume on the bike (indoors as well as outdoors), and I know that’s because of the progressive nature of my training to date. Sure, I should have been riding outside more by now (only two weeks until departure for Italy), but I am quite impressed with what I’ve been able to do indoors.

So no soreness, but fatigue hit me pretty hard this morning, and in my 6 am Spin class I had to slow things down while pushing the class harder. I stayed an extra 45 minutes and rode in Z1, at a HR of 105-120, as a recovery ride. I thin I need more sleep more than anything (and that’s perhaps the hardest thing to balance when on a training program like this).

I hope to get an 80-miler in on Friday. We’ll see, as I’ve been asked to fly to Kansas City at the last moment to teach a Spinning Orientation and Continuing Ed workshop this weekend. That puts a hamper on my training schedule (refer to my first few paragraphs), but oh well. I know I’ll accomplish this event! 🙂

And I am getting very excited. Are you? 

I’ll be posting on this blog regularly during our ride, direct from Italy. We’ll be posting videos of the ride on YouTube, and we’ll all be tweeting regularly on Twitter. So stay tuned!

And if you can see your way to sponsoring me in this amazing Livestrong event, a ride that is proving to be the biggest challenge of my life, please go to – at the very least, to read about my impetus for committing to this ride! For me, it’s all about accomplishing and being a part of something BIG. And this is big…

Mille Gratzie!



  1. I’m with you on the first couple of paragraphs. I do have a 9-5 job but also have 3 kids and a wife so I understand completely about “adjusting” on the fly. My coach last year said it best. “Life Happens” Congratulations on your commitment to training for this event. To me, as I tell my class and my family, it’s more about commitment than how you feel at any given point and you are living that out. I’m sure there have been days that you didn’t “feel” like training on an indoor bike for 2-3 hours. Oooh, that hurts just thinking about it. Have fun!

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