As a world class duathlete,
Diane Stibbard brings a rare combination of expertise,
motivation and knowledge to her Toronto based
business Down Under Fitness.
She knows that the driving force to reach any
goal comes from a deep desire within. As a trainer,
she has a unique ability to help individuals embrace
this desire to achieve their athletic potential.
Down Under Fitness provides aerobic testing,
training programs for highly competitive athletes
and recreational individuals, nutritional counseling,
personal training, and athletic injury prevention
Diane was born and raised in Australia. Since
1984 she has worked in different parts of the
world including Hong Kong, Australia and Canada.
A competitive athlete her entire life, Diane has
an impressive list of athletic accomplishments,
Diane lives, cycles, runs and works in Toronto
where she trains sports enthusiasts of all stripes,
including: duathletes, triathletes, runners and
- Team Member
- Canadian Duathlon Team 1992, 1993, 2001,
2002, and 2003
- 6th place
finish at the World Duathlon Championships
in Italy 2001 (1st Cnd Overall - Age Group
- Top 10 finish
in the Open Female Category at the Paris to
Ancaster Enduro 60km Bike Race
- 8th place
finish at the World Duathlon Championships
in Atlanta in 2002
Female Age Group Duathlete of the Year 2001
- Voted by Triathlon Canada
- Subaru Age
Group Duathlon Series Winner - 2001, 2002
- Top 10 Canadian
Women Finisher at the New York City Marathon
- 2000 Chicago
Marathon and Boston 2001 Marathon Finisher
in shape over the winter months is a challenge
for many cyclists. This past year I had
a number of physical set backs. For months
my bike remained perched on the trainer
unused. I emerged from our long, dark
winter several pounds heavier, with my
previously firm cycling legs turned to
flab. So, when I talked with Diane in
early May, I had many questions about
how to stay in good cycling form throughout
the winter months, and how to get into
top cycling shape in the spring. -
know there is no one-size-fits-all cycling
fitness program. A fitness plan depends
upon your age, fitness level, and your
fitness goals. But is there a rule of
thumb that a cyclist can use to know how
to train at the start of the season based
on her level of fitness?
depends on what she's been doing in the
winter. Has she been doing activities
during the winter that are more sports
specific towards cycling? Or, has she
been doing other activities that keep
her fit but not really using the muscles
that cycling does? Is she doing activities
that are more cycling based? Is she putting
in some miles on her trainer? If she's
not, what activities is she doing to maintain
a good base level of fitness? Cross country
skiing is a good winter activity to supplement
your time on your trainer. The classic
version, not skate skiing. When you skate
ski you tend to use more the glut medius,
the muscles on the side of the leg. When
you classic ski you're in one plane and
you work the muscles that you do when
you're biking. I know that skate skiing
has become a lot more popular. It's faster
and it's the cool thing to do, but if
you want to become a competent cyclist
then a) in the winter you've got to be
putting some time on the bike on your
trainer, and b) supplementing with some
cross country skiing.
much time on the trainer during the winter?
depends. For a recreational cyclist I'd
say balance it with two days of skiing
and then two to three days on the trainer.
You've got to also remember when you're
on the trainer there is no spin time.
So you don't have to spend as much time
on the trainer as you would on the road.
For example, if you were going to do an
hour ride outside, the equivalent on the
trainer is forty or forty-five minutes.
On a trainer you don't have down time
or spin time so you're constantly working
against resistance. So, I recommend riding
the trainer at least three times a week
for forty-five minutes to an hour. Now
this is for an average recreational cyclist.
There's always room to put in more time
on the bike if you're a lot more competitive
and a lot more serious.
If you combine three times a week on the
trainer with some cross country skiing
then I'd say by early spring you can be
close to doing the same amount of cycling
you would in the middle of the summer.
You may be twenty or thirty percent off
in terms of how many hours you'd be putting
on your bike outside.
If you haven't put that time on the trainer
during the winter and supplemented with
some skiing then you're only going to
be operating at about fifty percent of
the time you'd normally spend on your
bike in mid summer. So if there's a rule
of thumb, I'd say fifty percent if you
haven't really done anything specifically
geared towards cycling. If you have, then
you're in pretty good shape to be doing
about seventy percent of the total of
what you'd do in the summer time.
guess I'm at about fifty percent (laughing).
It's very challenging to use the trainer.
I've got one. I've had my bike set up
on it all winter. But it's just so boring
are very challenging. There are other
options. For people who don't have trainers
and find that boring, I always suggest
taking in some spin classes where you
can be in an environment that's more motivating.
On the spinners, as you probably know,
you have the opportunity to freewheel.
So, that's an option but I honestly think
that the more time you spend on your own
bike the better off you're going to be.
I wouldn't necessarily advocate spending
the whole time on a spinner throughout
the winter. Although I did that a number
of years ago when I didn't have a trainer.
I still came out in pretty good shape
in the spring, but again, I wasn't on
my bike and I wasn't as comfortable on
my bike right off the bat.
you listen to tapes when you're on your
trainer? I don't listen to anything because
I find it distracts me.
have every device known to man. My training
partner and I just added an element to
our training. We always have music no
matter what because we just can't train
without it. This past winter we bought
several DVD's: the Tour de France from
2004, and Giro d'Italia. We just have
the visuals on, no sound, but we've got
the music in the background. This way
we've got visual distraction and a bit
of additional motivation. And you know
what, we really liked it! We use everything
we can to get us pumped.
a recreational cyclist wants to ride in
an event like the Rideau Lakes Cycling
Tour in early June, covering a distance
of 354 km over two days, how should she
train? Even if a woman has trained as
you described and is at seventy percent
of her summer fitness, it doesn't sound
like that's enough for a ride like this.
it's not right off the bat. Because the
event is in early June you need to be
able to start getting saddle time by,
at the latest, the beginning of May. If
you're at seventy percent of where you
want to be at the beginning of May, then
you should be pretty good to go by early
June. But if you're not at seventy percent,
and you're not out cycling in early May,
then it's a no go. continued
on page 2