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Training Talk: An Interview With Team Wattbike Rider Paul Cox

Paul Cox, Operations Manager at Wattbike, is an experienced road cyclist currently riding for Team Giant Store Rutland/Wattbike. Having successfully raced cyclo-cross and on the road for the last four seasons, he’s looking to take on a new challenge. Ahead of his first big race of the summer season, we talked to Paul about his training so far. 

Photo credit: JC Photography

You are taking on a new challenge this year, tell us about what you want to achieve and whether you’ve had to adapt your training.

For many years I have raced cyclo-cross in the winter, but this year I thought it would be nice to take on a different challenge.  I decided I would like to give time trialling (TT) a go, so I used the Wattbike over the winter to do longer strength based sessions.  

In the early part of the season I did some road races, but time trialling remained my key focus. It took a few months for me to adapt but I saw the hard work over the winter come through. Now the season is in full flow I can race a mid week club event or open at the weekend.  

I use a combination of races and training to do blocks of training to build for key targets, with my target this year being National 10m TT. The National Champs this year are in Cockermouth, my aim is to finish in the top 15.

So you’ve already seen benefits from your winter training. When do you expect to see results from your TT specific training? 

I’m hoping to see gradual improvement in the weeks running up to the TT, with my performance peaking in for the National 10m TT at the start of August.

You’ve been cycling for some time around other commitments, do you tend to stick to a training plan or do you schedule adaptable sessions for flexibility?

From years of cycling I have found consistency is key to improving, therefore if you have a plan I think it is important to stick to it. Luckily a lot of my sessions are short, so I’m riding on average 6-10hrs a week.  This allows me to fit training in before work or not take too much time up in the evening.  It is important to fit in some social riding too, with a work ride every Wednesday.

Recovery must be a challenge when you have work and life to contend with. 

My training is focused on quality rather than quantity.  With this in mind my sessions are shorter which gives me longer to recover. I try to pay some attention to what I eat as this really helps, especially being a vegetarian. I eat a balanced diet but try to focus on protein intake especially on recovery days. I use nutrition products such as High 5 and I‘m a fan of pea protein and use this in fruit smoothies.

You’ve highlighted the importance of sticking to a training plan, what happens when you aren’t able to complete a key session?

I re-evaluate the rest of the week and move things around accordingly, or if I could not complete the intervals I would look into the reasons why.  Whether it is poor diet, sleep, illness etc. and I take steps to try and prevent it in the future.

Do you use the Wattbike as part of your training? 

Yes, using a Wattbike massively benefits my training, some of the sessions I do on it I would not be able to replicate on the road. The time benefits of doing a short sharp session on the bike if you are busy with life can also be a big help.  We’ve recently had a few weeks of rain and to help prevent illness I’ve been choosing the Wattbike over going outside which means I have not missed any training.

Any favourite Wattbike sessions? 

I am not sure favourite is the right way to describe it, but a simple and challenging session I do is;

  • 20min warm up
  • 4 x 30" @ Z6 with 30" recover
  • 10 x 2' @ Z5 with 2' recover
  • 10' warm down

If I can complete this session without failure then I know I am in fairly good shape... More satisfying once finished rather than during!

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