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  • Writer's pictureDavid Wadsworth

Cycle Physio Now Offers Individual Coaching for Cyclists

Did you know that David has been a Level 2 / Gold / Advanced Road & Track Cycling Coach recognised by AusCycling and the Australian Sports Commission for many years? He has coached in group settings including road & track cycling development squads and state road & track cycling teams, as well as a small number of individuals who are competing at state, national and international level. Now he is offering individual coaching for a larger number of aspirational athletes who want to improve their race performances.

Why choose David as your cycling coach? There’s lots of unique things he brings to the table as a coach, not least of which is a quarter century of professional experience working with athletes as a Sports Physiotherapist and cycle coach. This includes a lengthy spell as the Sports Physio for the QAS Road & Track Cycling Team and coaching the Qld Road & Track Development Squad for the past 7 years. This background brings in a wealth of experience in all sorts of important aspects in coaching, including communication, professional skills in identifying critical factors for success in an individual or conversely those factors causing poor performance, analysing bike set up in relation to performance, analysing on- and off-the-bike factors impacting cycling, and experience in helping a wide range of athletes from all age groups and abilities to develop their own personal bests.

The Science

A clinical researcher, reviewer of scientific manuscripts, and ability to critically appraise the research as opposed to jumping on new fads and “dr google” headlines, makes David unique in this field. David utilises a science guided approach to individual coaching, along with the art and skill of applying the science to an individual athlete and the art of interpersonal communication. So how does science help? In this modern data driven era, scientifically validated performance testing is crucial – after all, if I do not know where you are currently at, and where you want to go, how can we formulate a suitable plan to help you on the journey to success? Performance testing serves several important functions in your journey as a cyclist:

  • To evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as a rider,

  • To evaluate the relative strengths of your aerobic & anaerobic energy systems, & sprint power,

  • To track performance change over time,

  • To establish suitable training zones / targets for both intensity and duration,

  • To assess the demands of your target event and match your training accordingly.

Science is critical not only in testing but in creating your training program. How much training load should we target and how fast should we progress the load? Optimal load is crucial for improvement – too much and you burn out, get injured or sick, and performance is harmed. Too little and you don’t reach your potential.

Optimal is what I like to call the “Goldilocks Zone” – not too much, not too little, just right.

For athletes coaching themselves, how do you tell if you are in the Goldilocks Zone or are falling short? How do you know if you are going too hard most days and as a result be unable to hit a new PB on a really hard session? That’s what a coach is for, and it is much harder than it looks to get right. Remember that load is a function of both volume (how much you did) and at what intensity that work was performed (harder efforts entail more load than gentler efforts). This is a tricky thing to measure, and the challenge in science has always been how to quantify both simultaneously. As a result, quite a few different metrics have been created to try to capture this information…. But many fail to capture all aspects of load, for example few metrics capture how hard an anaerobic or sprint session is on your muscles, and how long your recovery needs to be afterwards before your next hard session. This is very individual, with stronger sprinters causing more muscle damage than most. So, relying on a single metric (e.g., TSS) really doesn’t build a complete picture (single metrics fail to capture all the information about you as an athlete)! They’re far too simplistic to model what is really happening.

Graph of load, performance & risk of injury / illness. A:C is acute:chronic training load (based on Gabbett 2016)

The Art

For individual athletes that I coach, when you come on board I will spend time discovering what your goals are and what you have done to date; we will talk about what testing might be most suitable for you as an individual based on your experience, goals and abilities; and then develop a training program with accurate training zones and appropriate progression over time. I re-test at regular intervals, continuously monitor training load and its progression especially in relation to race performances, and regularly adjust training based on how your individual body is adapting – since every person adapts at a different rate to others.

If you need only one reason to seek the services of a coach, the fact that no two people adapt in the same way to the same load is a brilliant reason. This is well established in the scientific literature. So simply grabbing a generic program off the internet won’t give every athlete the result they are seeking – some will improve, some won’t, and some will get worse. This means that the skill in coaching involves getting to know the individual athlete, their physiology, adapting their training to help it improve at the optimal rate, and constantly tweaking training to optimise gains. If this is something you’re interested in, get in touch via the website email link or give me a call.


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