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Training Tips with Kim Geist

By: Angelina Palermo  July 10, 2020

Kim Geist knows about training goals. Not only does the Olympian hold World Championship and Pan American Games titles along with her 32 National Titles, Geist is also a successful coach with degrees in both Exercise Science and Applied Nutrition. She has since retired from cycling, but still is still very involved as a coach. We had a chance to learn about Kim's process when she was training as a National Team athlete and also what it takes to be a successful coach.

How do you and your coach set training goals and incorporate them as part of your training program?

I am actually self-coached since starting my own coaching business, Kim Geist Coaching, after earning a degree in exercise physiology in 2009. I set goals for myself by working backwards from the long-term end goal and determining what markers need to be met along the way in order to reach that goal. I incorporate the markers into the training program calendar throughout the way to make sure I stay the course.

Tell us about your weekly training schedule and how it varies from week to week?

Most of the time, training weeks are grouped together for a certain amount of time, with a central-focus around building a specific aspect of fitness or two. So, the week to week may not differ all that much, but the variance between the grouping of weeks does. How I perform within the grouping then determines the focus of the next grouping, which are usually separated by a period of rest and recovery from the workload.

What metrics do you use to ensure that you are on track to hit your training goals?

I utilize several of the metrics TrainingPeaks offers. These include ATL, CTL, and TSS to help ensure the training volume and intensity are adequate but not so much that I risk digging too deep within a time period. I also use critical power values to see how I am progressing as I'm targeting improving certain aspects of fitness.

How do you adjust your cycling training plan knowing that you have a big race coming up?

If a race is important enough towards meeting a long-term end goal, I typically reduce training volume but maintain a fair amount of intensity. This helps to ensure I'm less fatigued going into the big race but that all energy systems have been utilized recently and I'm ready to perform at the high intensities the races demand. I may also include some training races or simulations closer to the race day to feel mentally and skillfully ready to compete.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to set up a training plan for the first time this season?

I would advise consulting with someone who has a good amount of experience in designing training plans. An experienced individual can save a lot of time and energy and perhaps aid in avoiding mistakes in assessing your strengths, weaknesses, how those apply to the demands of your event(s), and how to best build the aspects of fitness you must to be successful. The individual also can provide an objective opinion on your preparations and performances and help you to see things you may miss yourself - even a self-coached athlete like myself can benefit from another pair of eyes!

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