2018.6: The Best-laid Plans

Sitting in a combination of economy-plus, conference rooms, and a rediculously-priced hotel was never in my training plans.

This is a multi-parter: The last 2 weeks reintroduced the leg-searing joy of VO2 efforts into Base training, as well as impending business travel. 

Here's what we're going to cover in this installment: 

  • A recap of TrainerRoad’s Sweet Spot Base Mid-Volume 2, Weeks 2 and 3
  • A snapshot of my overall build plan leading up to the May 14th Assault on Mt. Mitchell 2018
  • How I’ve re-jiggered the next few weeks after learning about 2 upcoming, multi-day business trips

The Return of the VO2
As Chris Carmichael popularized, the physiological benefits of working out REALLY, REALLY HARD in a sport-specific way when you’re “time-crunched” yields performance benefits over the long haul — especially when you’re getting proper recovery. 

In other words, “long, steady distance” just isn't an option when you have bills to pay for most of us because it takes lots of cumulative time. 

This is why the relatively new idea that says “there is no off-season” is an accurate one; if you don't have 4–6 hours to dedicate to training, 5 or 6 days a week, you need to punch it hard during the time you have. As we already covered, you have to be a balanced, bi-polar extremist, mixing totally on with really relaxed. 

Here’s what the last two weeks held for me, with a little color commentary, ta’ boot: 

Week 3: 501 TSS
You'll remember that Tuesday and Thursday rides are the painful ones, and this is where the boys at TR start expanding from regular doses of Sweet Spot work, to Sweet Spot with touches of Bitter Spot. Tuesday went into the red in short spurts, but 9 of them, while Thursday had you settling in just under FTP with several 5 second “bursts” that were’t that difficult — but the 30+ seconds that followed, as your muscles were flooded with excess fuel (aka “lactate”) meant concentration was clutch. Saturday had me tapping into my inner Tony Martin (which is actually where I’m most comfortable) and Sunday is my favorite indoor “Time to Exhaustion” workout, “It Seemed Like Thin Air.” 2.5 hours of climbing simulation that ends with a 40-minute “climb.”  Note: TSS of 501 is higher than the 302 shown because it doesn't see the Sunday ride.

SPECIAL THANKS TO THE SUFFERFEST
The gang at The Sufferfest read my previous entry regarding the various challenges that I experienced while attempting to sync a whole ton of things together (compounded by my partner’s KICKR just a few feet away.) Not only did they directly look into the bizzare flashing video situation, but they kindly made available a Beta version. Since that difficult scenario, I've since run power directly with the KICKR, avoiding my Stages powermeter, and with the exception of ONE brief flashing episode during Week 4’s Sunday ride, all’s been well. Thanks, Minions, for so quickly and professionally addressing the challenges.

Week 4: 513 TSS
Ain’t no doubt about it: Week 4 felt like good old-fashioned training. For sure, traditional base is dead…

Tuesday's 120% of FTP efforts just flat out hurt. Holding 270 watts for me (FTP of 228, WpKG of 3.45) is an exercise in sustained mental fortitude. It has nothing to do with “gutting it out” or just “muscling” the interval. On the contrary — it’s about finding a way to do three things simultaneously: Relaxing while working very hard and maintaining proper form.

The Master Plan
I was so proud of myself. 

I got serious about the plan that I had internalized, and rather than just surfing it out by gut feel, mixing and matching my workouts based on my goal, I got everything down cold. It looks like this. But within days of doing this, after apparently arousing the sick humor of the Merckxian gods of cycling, I learned I'd be traveling to San Francisco in January. Twice. Note the purple week boxes.

The planned build-up to the A-race in May. You'll see in my left sidebar, the notes regarding how I'll build up my Muscular Endurance, with additional climbing work added in.

Re-jiggering the Ideal
The first and third weeks of January now have me traveling cross-country, where I’ll be spending 3 days in conference rooms and my hotel room. My workdays will be long, my diet will be affected, and I won't have my bike. “Just jump into the gym at the hotel,” you say. That might be doable, if it weren't for the fact that the days are long workshops, starting before 8 and running past 5, with client dinners afterwards. 

No, Virginia; Santa isn't going to let you workout during these trips. 

So — I'm overloading the two week's prior to the first travel week, and the one week prior to the second travel week. 

I’m still using the TrainerRoad workouts, but I'm essentially slashing the recovery days, pushing myself hard through multiple “hard days,” and allowing my San Francisco days to be recovery, despite the fact that business travel is always stressful in itself. 

Predicting the Future using WKO4
One of the GREAT things about analytics software is that you can take what you know about a workout block, and put it into a future slot, and have it show you where your cumulative fitness will be as a result. 

After taking my pencil scrawl calendar for the next few weeks, handpicking various workouts, referring back to previous “runnings” of those workouts to see what the Intensity Factor (IF) and Training Stress Score (TSS) were (not to mention the fact that TrainerRoad and Sufferfest will give you their best estimate of the TSS and IF for those workouts) I've constructed a plan to take me through my future travel dates.

Here's what my Performance Manager looks like from today (the day after Christmas 2017) through the 21st of January.   

Instead of seeing my fitness plunge as a result of two weeks of nearly back to back travel, you see that, if I can maintain my planned workout schedule, my fitness will just come above baseline by the time I should return to regularly scheduled workouts. The grey area at the right is all predictive, based on the TSS and IF of planned endurance-oriented, recovery-oriented, and climbing-oriented workouts.

Re-jiggering the Ideal
The first and third weeks of January now have me traveling cross-country, where I’ll be spending 3 days in conference rooms and my hotel room. My workdays will be long, my diet will be affected, and I won't have my bike. “Just jump into the gym at the hotel,” you say. That might be doable, if it weren't for the fact that the days are long workshops, starting before 8 and running past 5, with client dinners afterwards. 

No, Virginia; Santa isn't going to let you workout during these trips. 

So — I'm overloading the two week's prior to the first travel week, and the one week prior to the second travel week. 

I’m still using the TrainerRoad workouts, but I'm essentially slashing the recovery days, pushing myself hard through multiple “hard days,” and allowing my San Francisco days to be recovery, despite the fact that business travel is always stressful in itself. 

Honestly, I’m a Little Nervous
If you have a full school schedule or a pressure-filled full-time job, and you’re planning for an important future event, you know how important it is to be consistent with your training.  More than any other factor next to recovery, consistency is your golden ticket to advancement. 

After being very careful to load up the time I have between travel dates in a way that shouldn't completely cook me, I have to admit that this is going to be one day at a time, putting super-increased focus on sleep and nutrition. 

Here goes…

Sweat your prayers in the pain cave

Coming Soon: (Really. Footage is shot!)
A brief video tour of the StartConfident Pain Cave

Ideas for inspiring your own indoor training space!

Trainer set-up|Media equipment and software|Creature comforts

Sam Lowe

I've been a road cyclist with a penchant for speed ever since my first-ever paycheck holiday. I blew the whole wad on a turquoise Schwinn Tempo with then-new Shimano 105 indexed shifting way back in 1985. I've been a voracious consumer of racing-oriented information ever since. Training, nutrition, bike fit, racing techniques, and all manner of "kit." Between nearly 30 years of riding, racing, and reading about racing, I'm ready to help you get ready to race.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required Email Address * First Name Last Name