Dig Deep Coaching Tips

Dig Deep Coaching provides a professional coaching service to both recreational and competitive cyclists and its team are passionate about supporting cyclists no matter what level they are at. From now until you embark on the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive, Dig Deep Coaching will be bringing you support on and off the bike that you need to be thinking about now and not a week before the event!  From the all important basics of having your bike fitted correctly to ensure you are as comfortable and injury free to making sure you eat well to train as effectively and efficiently as possible.

If you would like to hear more from Dig Deep Coaching please sign up to their ezine to get lots more information on training and nutrition for all levels of cyclists!

The team at Dig Deep Coaching are involved in organising Cody’s Challenge Sportive in order to raise money for the Children’s Heartbeat Trust. This sportive offers participants with a choice of 3 routes and will take place this year on Sunday 20th October, ideal timing for resting the legs in between the 2 events!


Tips to help you on Torr Head

CLIMBING – What you can do that will make a difference. By Dan Fleeman, Director at Dig Deep Coaching and Professional Cyclist. 

Someone once asked Robert Millar’s advice on climbing – his response was typical of the man; ‘Ride hills, lots.’ For some people, climbing hills comes easily; almost second nature. For others it can be more of a struggle. But we can all improve whatever level we’re at.

With this in mind, below are some points on how to improve your climbing. These are relevant to you whether you’re an elite rider or somebody who is simply hoping to improve for sportives.

1) Improve your power/weight
This one is easy – lose weight and you’ll fly up the Cols, right? While this is partly true, it may be better to focus on improving your power first then look at losing a few pounds in a controlled way.

2) Work on your cadence
To become efficient at climbing you should learn to spin the pedals faster rather than just pushing a big gear at a low cadence. But it’s not just a case of putting it into the smallest gear you have the next time you get to a climb. You need to train your body to adapt to spinning at a higher cadence. Try adding blocks of 10 minutes spinning at 110rpm into your normal rides, first on flat roads and then when you have mastered this, move onto doing the same on a climb.

3) Build a strong foundation
Before starting more specific high intensive training intervals, it’s important to have a strong foundation or ‘base.’ This does not necessarily have to involve riding at zone two for hours on end – although work of this type is required. Try adding blocks of zone three into longer rides; 30-60 minutes continuous zone three will set you up well for climbing long mountains. For riders training for, say, the Etape du Tour but living in a flatter area this is a good way to prepare.

4) Threshold work
After the foundation has been laid then it’s time to move onto higher intensity threshold work which will help raise your FTP (Function Threshold Power). Try doing around 30 minutes in zone four which could be either 2 x 15 minutes or 3 x 10 minutes. If you have climbs of this length in your area that’s to the good. But if not, this can be done on a turbo but lifting the front wheel a little to replicate a slight gradient.

5) V02 Max
The next move is into training above threshold. V02 max intervals are great for improving your anaerobic endurance as well as improving your threshold power. 4/5 x 4 minute intervals in zone five would be a good workout for most riders.

6) It’s not all about average power
There are two types of climber; riders who set a single sustained high level of power all the way up a climb without making sudden accelerations (a la Wiggins) and the other type who don’t set a steady tempo but make constant bursts, changing their pace and causing others who try to match their efforts to explode (Joaquim Rodriguez is a good example). Bearing this in mind it’s a good idea to try varying the power on some of the intervals. You could try riding the first 40 seconds of a four minute interval as hard as you can then settle into zone four for the remainder of the effort; or flip it around and ride Zone four/five for the main part before going flat out in the final 40 seconds.


Three Months Before!

By now hopefully enthusiasm, determination and focus towards your goal has helped raise your general fitness and the benefits of consistent training are starting to show during weekend rides.

So what’s next?

Time to raise your game with the fitness!  This is why training is key…it is helping you make improvements on a bike.  Not stand still.  But actually make noticeable improvements.  Increasing strength on the climbs, holding on with a faster group…or maybe you are aiming for the shorter route but with all this training you just might challenge yourself further and aim for the longer one!  Maybe you have surprised yourself with the improvements made and would like to raise the bar again, go for it but be prepared!

Weekend rides: Aim for increasing your average speed either for the total duration of the ride or for just 20-30mins during the ride, e.g. if you average 16mph on your weekend ride aim for 17/18mph or if this is not possible start with building blocks of 18mph sections in 20-30min during your ride, you will be surprised how much this can raise your fitness with these short ‘bursts’ at a higher speed.

If you feel a good base has been built along with starting to raise you intensity/average speed you can also build the volume of your rides. Try the following-

 Increase your weekend ride volumes:

Place more emphasis on cycle training:

How to keep CONSISTENCY?

Turbo time.

The weather often can be a restricting factor to train with poor conditions leading to a decrease in fitness as illness and poor care of your immune system results in time off the bike so what do you do?  Ride the turbo.

A turbo is every cyclist’s essential tool.  It provides a great training stimulus in warm conditions in your own home and can help increase and maintain your fitness.  A 1½hr session on the turbo can bring as much benefit to fitness as a 2½hr cycle out on the road if conducted properly.

With a turbo you don’t free wheel, you don’t have to stop at traffic lights, you don’t have the benefit of drafting in a group, and you don’t have to deal with wind and rain.

How to make these sessions quality.

This is a simple session that will bring great benefits to aerobic fitness and can build your endurance as good if not better than riding on the road for 2½ hrs.  Plus it’s a great way to avoid the weather!

Make sure you’re maintaining good nutrition during this time, some pointers include:

All of the above are new ideas to include in your weekly training and I am sure you will see changes in your fitness and lifestyle with some of these basic tips. Enjoy!


Five Months Before

With only five months to go until the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive, now is the time to start planning and preparing the body and mind for the challenge ahead around the Causeway!

Why structure how you train?

Often cycle training or coaching has been interpreted only for those riders who are competing or riding as professional cyclists.  This is not the case.  Due to the tough nature of the sport, there are cyclists the world over who balance a full life of family, work or education commitments but still want to get better on the bike.  This is where structured plans and training advice comes in. This is why DigDeep Coaching are on board to help you get ready for your Sportive.

Structuring your training for the next 5 months will give you confidence you have put in the work you need to, focus on the challenge ahead and mental strength and discipline to cope when the Sportive day arrives that you will complete it.

How can DigDeep Coaching help?

We believe in helping riders who want help. The following information is a snap shot of what DigDeep Coaching can provide cyclists.  We want to help you prepare for the Giants Causeway Coast Sportive as far in advance as possible to make it a great experience, one that is completed injury free and ultimately gives you a great sense of achievement.

What to think about first.

Now it’s time to start!

For the coming couple of months the following is how you should be planning a typical week depending upon the challenge you are targeting:

35 & 60 mile Routes

85 & 115 mile Routes


Don’t underestimate the impact of a strong core.  Aim to work on your core, start if you don’t already and build on what you do if it already is part of your weekly training.  Critical to staying injury free throughout the year and will help your body maximise the power being put through your pedals.

Injury and nutrition are two key areas to have ‘boxed off’ as fine before embarking on consistent training between now and your event.  Below is a check list of some considerations:



This should be your basic guide to what you need to plan for and how to set out your goals. Don’t leave it too late to get started with your training, make the most of your enthusiasm and get out there and work hard and enjoy seeing yourself improve week on week.

To view training advice from 2012 by DigDeep Coaching please click here.

Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland Cycle NI McConvey Cycles

This event is an initiative of Outdoor Recreation NI, a not for profit organisation