This follows on in a tangential way to my last note about riding in erg mode on your ‘smart’ trainer.
In the last 5 years technology for cycling training has progressed massively, and we now have an array of excellent tools and metrics for prescribing, executing and analysing training. But here is the thing. We are all humans not robots. We have days when we feel great and days when we feel less than great. We might have had poor sleep, poor or insufficient food, we might be stressed at work, have had an argument with our partner etc.
When we set training plans and workouts we have every expectation that you will be able to complete the sessions as planned based on what we know of you as an individual and your normal abilities. But this does not mean that we expect you to hit all of the numbers all of the time as we are not, in most cases, in contact with you every day, so we don’t know all the information about your current physical or mental state.
In fact we want the numbers to be of secondary importance.
Training effectively is a holistic process that requires patience, consistency, hard work, and above all enjoyment and trust in the process as a whole. Rather than every session being about power, TSS, intensity, duration…..why don’t you approach every session with the mindset of:
‘I am going to do this workout to the best of my ability today and finish the session a better person than when I started?’
To become better with every session you need to take a much more long term and holistic view of your training.
Are you devoting enough time to preparing and eating enough nutritious and energy giving food? Are you devoting enough time to your sleep? These are two key ingredients for recovery which will help you become better with every session and reach your goals.
Are you devoting any time to your mental preparation for each training session? Are you focusing on your technique and becoming more efficient and economical on your bike? Mental preparation and technique are two key elements of performance that are often overlooked.
For me, training is about a conscious choice of lifestyle, never simply a list of exercises I must fulfil to hit numbers and make boxes go green! It is about nourishing me as a whole person, physically, mentally and emotionally. I always need a purpose, a goal and some objectives, but I am not following a plan slavishly or out of guilt and don’t expect you to either.
Take a big picture view of your training, be consistent, patient and trust the process. Focus on eating enough good food and sleep lots to recover like a pro. Prepare mentally for every session, improve your technique and efficiency. Do all this and in my experience everything else will fall into place and the results will come.
Obsessing about every detailed metric in Training Peaks, making yourself feel guilty because your TSS was 3 less than the session design, or you were a few watts below on an interval, won’t make you any better. In fact it will probably make you worse.
Approach every session well prepared and with the right open and holistic mindset and the magic will start to happen. You will get better and you will love what you do.