Teal Stetson-Lee, 2009 Collegiate Cyclo-Cross Champion, is a new member of the LUNA Chix Professional mountain bike team, the most successful, longest-running team in mountain bike racing history. Her athletic highlights include placing first at the 2012 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic XC, second at the 2012 Sea Otter Classic Cyclocross, fourth at the 2012 U.S. National Cyclo-Cross Championships, fifth at the 2012 Whiskey 50 Cross Country eighth at the 2012 Teva Mountain Games and more.
We wanted to know how to train like a pro. (Don’t you?) So, we asked this pro cyclist what it takes. In this exclusive Q&A, Stetson-Lee reveals her professional training tips to About.com.
About.com: What is your involvement in training/coaching pro cyclists?
Stetson-Lee: I am a pro cyclist but I have not been involved with coaching or training other pros.
About.com: Why is it important to discover your weaknesses and strengthen them, instead of avoiding certain exercises?
Stetson-Lee: Focusing on your weaknesses allows you to learn more about yourself and progress as an athlete. Progression is about living outside your comfort zone and having the humility and introspection to challenge yourself.
About.com: What are the appropriate steps to take after receiving an injury?
Stetson-Lee: When you sustain an injury, it is important to take time off from exercise and recover properly, and consult trusted health experts to help guide you in that process. Pushing through the injury can cause more damage and take longer to recover.
About.com: When should riders return to the bike after an injury?
Stetson-Lee: Every injury is different and people are also unique in their recovery process. A rider can return to the bike when they are feeling strong enough mentally and physically to do so and after the have conferred with heath professionals. As you start to recover and ease back into activity you should pay attention to how your body responds and feels. Pain in the injured area is a sure sign that you need to take more time or slow down with your training progression. Injuries can be particularly hard to come back from physiologically and you must be gentle with yourself and progress at your own speed. Perseverance will make you stronger.
About.com: What signs point in the direction of taking some down time to recharge?
Stetson-Lee: If you are not motivated or happy riding or you feel consistently tired, it’s time to take a break.
About.com: How can riders keep training fresh (goals, variety, indoor/outdoor, etc.)?
Stetson-Lee: Adding some variety in activity into training like running, hiking, skiing etc.. can help keep you balanced, fresh, and focused.
About.com: How important is a healthy diet?
Stetson-Lee: A healthy diet is extremely important. What you put into your body is what you get out of it. A healthy diet means well balanced. Unless you have a specific allergy, it is usually important to not go to extremes and cut entire food groups out of your diet.
About.com: What are some ways riders get mentally prepared for a race?
Stetson-Lee: Mental preparation is usually very personal, but for many it is about relaxing and recognizing that you are prepared because you have already put the work in to be focused on the start line.
About.com: How can one learn/move on from disappointment?
Stetson-Lee: It’s important to recognize that disappointment is a big part of competing. You will have many failures and a few successes so you must learn to embrace the failures as part of the learning/growing process and move on to the next event. If you love what you’re doing, there will be many opportunities ahead.