Friday, January 6, 2012

Power Based Training Certification

It has been a while since I have posted to my blog and I have a really good excuse for not getting to it sooner. Sure, training for Master World Cyclocross Championships is a good excuse, as is breaking my hip in a Cyclocross race on December 17. But, no, that is not the real excuse. Instead, after my last blog post I became involved with, then obsessed with, USA Cycling’s Power Based Training Certification Exam for coaches. The good news is that I passed this exam and I am now Power Based Training Certified. (CPBT)

I have been training with a power meter since 2004, and I have been coaching individuals with power since 2004 as well. Training and racing with a power meter is more than just a title of a book for me, it is what I do! But every once in a while I would download and then start to take the CPBT Exam and I would find out that, yes, it is long and hard and I would need to totally focus on it for quite some time. The exam would get put away and that would be it for a while.

This fall, though, I knew that my time had come. I had so much experience in the field that I wanted that “piece of paper” to back up this experience. The latest version was downloaded in early October and it was off to the races. Well, almost. It was slow going, all the way through. Not only did I want to give the correct answers, but I wanted to back up these answers with a complete understanding of the field. Days turned into weeks.

When I had completed all the multiple choice and essay questions the last part of the exam featured in-depth coaching of three different racers. While this “coaching” should seem like a piece of cake to a cycling coach I treated these athletes as if they were my own. The problem was that they could not just talk to me and tell me how they were feeling after “this” workout or “that” training week. I had to “assume” that these racers were feeling great, no matter what I gave them to do. Of course I had to make sure they did not become overtrained on what I was giving them, but on the other hand I needed to push these hypothetical racers hard enough for some overcompensation to occur as well. And then there was rest…

Did I learn during this exam? Absolutely! Of particular interest was the additional ways I found on the Training Peaks software to rip into an athlete’s power file to examine even more closely what he or she did during the ride, race or multiple intervals. This is fun stuff for a geek like me, and gives me even more ways to assist my athletes. In general, immersing myself even more fully for those two months into this topic opened my power-based mind even more. I would even wake up from dreams about coaching my own athletes as well as the mythical athletes in the exam. Yeah, I can get that way…

Anyway, after two months, I sent off a stack of paper an inch thick to USA Cycling and then started to wait. While recuperating from my hip replacement surgery I found out that I had passed. Yippee! Now I need to get the rest of my paperwork in so that I can renew my license for the year, but I wanted to share this with everyone. Yes, I have a title that says I can do what I had already been doing. But I really think that it will make me even better at what I had already been doing. Happy 2012!