Friday, September 24, 2021
HomeInterviewsJody Warrington - How Riders Can Cope in a 'Lockdown'

Jody Warrington – How Riders Can Cope in a ‘Lockdown’

"It’s a good time to work on strength and cross training is good, the old expression; ‘a change is as good as a rest’ certainly applies in these times."

-

In the overall scheme of the world’s current predicament, guys not being able to race their bikes doesn’t even register.

But if you’ve been training all winter to realise goals you set yourself for the spring and summer of season 2020 – be it a personal best in a local time trial or Paris-Roubaix – and overnight they’re plucked from your grasp it’s not easy to handle.

Our friend in the Midlands of England, Darren Howitt suggested it may be a good idea to speak to one of the most respected coaches in the area, Jody Warrington about how riders can cope with ‘lockdown.’

First of all we asked Jody for a bit of background:

Thanks for speaking to us, Jody – basics first please, how old are you, where are you from and what’s your qualification?

“I’m 35 years-old, from Bury and a fully qualified member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches.”

You raced a bit yourself; English Schools 10 mile time trial champion, ‘back in the day,’ did your results move on from there?

“After that I gravitated towards the road, my contemporaries were the likes of Matt Brammeier and Mark Cavendish but then I pulled away from the sport.

“It was seven years before I decided to get back into it but really the boat had sailed.

“I loved the sport and wanted to stay involved so I decided to get into coaching.

“Cycling is in my blood, Jez Hunt the ex-British Elite Road race Champion and Team Sky rider is my cousin; he’d come and stay at our house along with guys like Max Sciandri.” 

Jody Warrington
Jody Warrington. Photo©supplied

You have two coaching companies; ‘Transition Coaching’ and ‘Neo Pro Coaching,’ what’s the distinction?

“‘Transition’ is for amateur riders who have a full time job whilst ‘Neo Pro’ is for juniors and u23 riders who have professional ambitions, it’s our biggest aspect now.”

Can you give us a few names you coach, please?

“Rob Scott who’s with Canyon DHB Soreen this year, he was British u23 Road Race Champion in 2018; Adam Lewis who’s with the BEAT pro team, this year; Jim Brown who was a GB Academy rider and is now with CC Etupes in France.

“We also have close connections with the Yates brothers.”

We’re in uncertain times right now with no concrete goals to aim for…

“The first thing I work on with my guys is the mental aspect; it’s very easy to adopt a ‘victim’ state of mind.

“I’ve spoken to all my riders and told them that no good can come of that attitude.

“Every bit of training you do leaves a ‘footprint,’ it’s time to look back at those ‘footprints’ – what’s worked, what hasn’t?

“It looks like there’ll be no races in the UK until at least 1st July, so let’s say we have a 12 week period where we can build a deep, wide base for the resumption of racing.

“We have to adopt a winter mind set, it’s not about intensity; that comes later, there’s no point in peaking too early.

“But the wider and deeper you build that base the better your intensity training will be for it when it’s time to look at specific goals.”

Jody Warrington
Jody Warrington and his team have coached 13 National Champions, 11 National Podiums and seven Regional Champions. Photo©supplied

I’ve already interviewed riders in the last few days whose heads are a bit down.

“Clarity is a big aspect, explaining to riders why they’re doing what they’re doing – that way they can relax mentally and not get stressed and think, ‘what’s the point of this?’”

Is ‘cross’ training a good idea – solo running or solo MTB off road for instance?

“Yes, it’s a good time to work on strength and cross training is good, the old expression; ‘a change is as good as a rest’ certainly applies in these times.” 

Turbos and Zwift must come to the fore, I guess?

“Zwift is a phenomenal training tool which can be synched to the Training Peaks programmes we employ and if you have a ‘smart trainer’ then all the better.”

Jody Warrington
Robert Scott, another of Jody Warrington’s students, won the National u23 Road Championships. Photo©Gary Main

You’re a disciple of training on power, which of the power meters out there do you think does the best job?

“Personally I like the Verve ‘infocrank’ system, I think it’s the most accurate but obviously my guys have to use what their sponsors provide.

“What I like is that it’s a dual side meter so you know what power is coming from each leg.

“Everyone has some imbalance between their two legs but if it’s a big difference then you need to be aware and do specific work to even-out those imbalances, there’s no point in one leg getting stronger and the other one remaining weaker.”

You’ve started doing group training sessions in a FaceBook group now – how’s that working?

“Yes, it’s something new, it’s a closed FaceBook group where I’m riding on the turbo with the others and talking them through warm-up, what the sensations they’re experiencing as they go through the routine mean and obviously I work hard at motivating them.”

Jody Warrington
Jody Warrington (second right) with some of his training group. Photo©supplied

Looking ahead to when guys can actually race, it’s all very well building power but the ‘aero’ aspect is so important now – shaving watts by better posture on the bike.

“One of our clients works with British Aerospace and is very knowledgeable on aerodynamics; we also send clients to meet Simon Smart the aerodynamics guru at DRAG2ZERO and also to the Boardman Performance Centre wind tunnel.”

Summarise what riders should be up to over the next six to 10 weeks, please.

“The first thing is to look at what kind of races you’re going to be competing in, what are the needs of that type of competition?

“Are you going to be riding one hour criteriums with lots of kicking out of corners?

“Or are you going to be riding British Premier Calendar races with four hour durations?

“Your training should be specific to the events you’re going to compete in.

“But like I said, it’s about base right now, you should be thinking like a boxer approaching a fight, saving the high intensity work for closer to the fight.

“The high intensity work can only be done on top of a solid base – but it’s too early for that so build that base wide and deep right now.”

That all makes sense to us…

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Dan Fleeman – Coaching in a Lockdown

In these ‘Strange Days of COVID-19’ if you’re a racing cyclist, what do you do about training? We asked ‘Dig Deep Coaching’ founder, Dan Fleeman for his advice on how to train in these trying times. Fleeman is a long-time friend of VeloVeritas, past winner of the British u23 Road race Championship, the Tour of the Pyrenees and rode as a professional with DFL, AN Post, Cervélo and Raleigh...

Jon Sharples – the man behind Trainsharp’s “Perfect Bank of Knowledge”

Coaches, everyone has one these days and a name which keeps cropping up when we interview riders is that of Jon Sharples and his ‘TrainSharp Cycle Coaching’ company. In time honoured VeloVeritas fashion we ‘had a word.’

Yanto Barker – the Man Behind the Le Col Brand

The new Bahrain McLaren team colour scheme for the team’s jerseys and bikes is hard to miss; but it was the little ‘le col’ logo that interested us. ‘Le Col’ is the clothing company founded and run by British ex-pro, Yanto Barker. We found out more about outfitting a World Tour team and the man behind the brand.

Richard Davison – “Personalised coaching employing genomics is the coming thing”

It’s not often we have a professor in the pages of VeloVeritas but that’s exactly what Richard Davison is; as well as Assistant Dean (International) at the University of the West Coast of Scotland. He was also instrumental in the setting up of British Cycling’s current coaching system and does ‘one on one’ coaching with riders. Richard was also a successful rider on the Scottish scene a year or two back – and that’s where our interview starts...

The VV View: Boonen’s Worlds, Respect the Rainbow Bands, Tramadol, and more!

‘Why do you rant about cycling?’ they ask us. ‘Because someone has to!’ we reply. There has to be a voice in the wilderness ... Did you watch the Worlds? Dave, Ivan and Vik all boycotted it – although they admitted to watching the finale. The Belgian offensive in the desert would have done Field Marshal Erwin Rommel proud – but apart from that and Sagan’s killer finale the race was processional.

Aldo Sassi – Our 2009 Interview with the Late, Great Coach

In these times devoid of racing it’s that much harder to produce content so we look back at work we’ve done in the past for inspiration. A decade ago I was fortunate to get an introduction from professional - and now DS with EF – Charly Wegelius, to the late, great, Aldo Sassi one of the most respected coaches of his generation.

At Random

Richard Bideau – 30mph for 100 Miles to break the Competition Record!

A 19 minute ‘10’ is pretty rapid by any standard – but how about stringing together 10 of them, back to back? That’s exactly what 44 year-old Richard Bideau (Pendle Forest CC) a self employed potter from Burnley did in his first hundred; recording 3:18:54 in the Stockton Wheeler’s event a week past Sunday to slice a stunning 3:51 from multi-BBAR Kevin Dawson’s 12 year-old competition record.

Ethan Vernon – Part of the Welsh Team Pursuit Squad “hoping to go sub-four”

There’s a new kid on the Team Pursuit block, 17 year-old winner of three national championships in 2017, author of a 1:02 kilometre and in the Welsh team which twice recorded 4:01 rides in the recent Commonwealth Games, Mr. Ethan Vernon - another man to benefit from riding with Dan Bigham’s KGF track squadra. Here’s what he had to say to us just the other day...

Scottish Cycling Super 6 Series – Event 2, Wanlockhead

"I knew you'd ask that! With my team mate Gordon Murdoch in second place in the series, there's no pressure on me, and all I would say is that it'll be hard for someone to win who's not in Pedal Power!". Those were the words of Gary Hand in the run up to this weekend's race, and with Ben Greenwood (Rapha Condor-Recycling) pulling out of the second round of the Scottish Cycling Super 6 due to injury, it looked set to follow a similar pattern to the first round; being dominated by Pedal Power.

Tom Last – my Tour of the Battenkill

The Tour of the Battenkill is ‘America’s answer to Paris-Roubaix’ – branded ‘America’s Queen of the Classics.’ Raleigh fielded a team for the race – but the best British finisher was Team IG-Sigma Sport rider, Tom Last who finished 12th at 6:20 behind ex-Tour and Vuelta star, Francisco Mancebo of the Competitive Cyclist team.

Jack Bauer – Tour Talk with Garmin’s Kiwi Star

Forget stories of barbed wire fences; that’s not what did the damage to our favourite Tour rider, Jack Bauer’s face. We know what really happened on stage 19 but gave our word to Jack that we’d keep schtum – suffice to say that it was a sore one and not his fault.

John Archibald – “a four minute (Pursuit) effort is something I think I could be good at”

Season 2016 saw John Archibald record times of 50:07, 50:04 and 50:03 for 25 mile time trials - so a big goal for him was to dip below the magic 50 minutes. On Sunday past on the rolling dual carriageway between Brechin and Forfar he didn’t just dip inside the 30 miles per hour standard, he left it way behind with a stunning 47 minutes and 57 seconds ride. In the process he took 46 seconds off Graeme Obree’s 1994 record of 48:43; we just had to, ‘have a word.’