For Instructors

RIDER'S CHOICE

Do you include ?Rider?s Choice? segments in your class profiles? Now and then I do ? and with great success. Let me elaborate. If, for example, I am teaching a Strength Energy Zone class and have taken the participants through a warm up, encouraged them to work within the SEZ heart rate parameters of 75-85% mhr, led them through seated and standing climbs, etc., I will sometimes say ?The next song is x# of minutes long and we are going to spend the entire time 60-80 rpms climbing a long hill. The climb is yours. Structure your own terrain with your resistance knob and ride your own ride. It is your choice.? This way, they will have some ownership of the class and their participation in it, have been given guidelines, and are free to meet their individual needs. I realize that this is not a new concept. (In fact, there are very few truly new concepts out there!) But, I was reminded of it recently and thought I?d pass it on. In fact, I went a step farther and would like to share this training exercise with you. One day I took my 90 minute class on what I refer to as a ?Destination Ride.? Based on my training plan, I drew up a profile of the entire ride blocked out with terrain to go with each song on my playlist. I copied one of the blocks with a line indicating a few rollers followed by a moderate climb leading to a steep climb and then a downhill and copied that on the bottom half of the page ? supersizing it so it would be even easier to read. I passed these pages out at the beginning of the class putting each on the floor next to the participant?s bike in a place they wanted. This way, each could follow the ride as it progressed. I had left one block blank and when we got to it, explained that the enlarged profile on the bottom half of the page was theirs to ride as they would choose. It was great! They loved it. And, I loved watching them! Even though each rode the same profile, each did so differently but with equal determination and focus. If you are a parent, you will recognize what I am about to say. When my children were little, I would often encourage them to become more independent and take on a little responsibility by making choices. Instead of giving them carte blanche for a choice, I would offer 2 or 3 acceptable options. They would choose one and think they had done something awesome. As they grew to teens the same principle worked (usually) but with bigger choices and more valid consequences. I realize that my wish for any student who walks into my class is for that person to be independent and well-informed i.e., fully capable of training on his own or going out on a purposeful ride based on good training principles. We come together in class to learn, to practice, to enjoy each other?s company and to grow in fitness and ability. If we offer blocks of ?Rider?s Choice? segments, perhaps we help our classes to assume a new dimension and to take on an interesting yet practical component. Please, won?t you share your own suggestions? Blog posted by Linda Freeman 5/2/2011 for www.spinning.com.
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