I joined Hayden’s 8-week Le Race program in 2017. This was the first time I had tried joining a formal training program in the lead up to an event (Le Race). Previously, any training I did was pretty sporadic as I have a young, busy family and also a full-time job where I can spend up to a third of the year travelling overseas on long-haul flights.
I have always been a recreational cyclist – mostly riding for fun with a great bunch of mates and have previously completed Le Race twice. However, I had always wondered whether I could do a better time in Le Race and I was also interested in a bit of healthy living advice. Whilst I would’ve described myself as being generally healthy, I also wasn’t getting any younger and had been putting on a bit of weight over the past ten years (mainly due to work travel) and couldn’t see any realistic way of losing it.
Overall, I was pretty apprehensive about joining Hayden’s program – would I be able to fit it in? Could I keep up with a program set by a pro?
I was also pretty skeptical when we first started the program – why all the talk about nutrition? And the training doesn’t look too full on… why isn’t the training “hard out!!!”
Boy did I learn a heap in those first few weeks. Hayden placed a huge emphasis on the nutritional side of the program and a graduated approach to the training compared to your starting fitness levels. It was a really big wake up call to look at how much sugar I had in my diet, and also a revelation about how easy it is to give it up.
Oh … and the training got harder too! The hill repeats were a killer on Tuesdays and, at times, I thought I was going to blow my heart rate monitor up! But, at the same time, I couldn’t believe how much better and faster I felt on the bike within a few weeks.
I can honestly say I enjoyed all the training sessions. Having a program to work to was good for me and the benefits were becoming very clear. Unfortunately, my preparation hit a disaster two weeks before Le Race. I had a massive crash downhill and broke my collar bone (I got hit by a rogue animal!). I was gutted after all the hard work I had put in and felt a bit cheated out of my end goal of a better race time. However, afterwards I realised I had a lot to be happy about. I had lost 11 kgs since starting the program (6 weeks earlier), was really enjoying eating healthy and, most importantly, I knew I was going to keep up with the nutritional side of the programme whether I was at home, or on the other side of the world for work. In fact, I wasn’t able to exercise at all in the weeks after the crash but I kept my weight the same – not a single kg added. This was important to me as it was probably going to resemble the reality of when I jumped back on a plane for work again.
Doing Le Race would have been the cherry on top but I had really changed the way I was living (and now I’ve got a goal for next year’s race).
I can honestly say I’ve never felt in better shape – ever! Hayden was a great mentor throughout the programme. He was always honest and professional and it was cool that this Olympic champion was actually out there doing the same training with us week-in, week-out. His approach to training over the 8-week period was well thought out and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to others.