September 23, 2018 Login  


Psychology of not improving
Last Post 06/29/2018 11:34 AM by Orange Crush. 9 Replies.
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6ix

Posts:248

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06/22/2018 07:30 AM
How do you keep motivation when your pre-event tests indicate you to be slower than the year before?  I'm putting in about the same number of miles a year and you'd think that there would be some steady improvement year over year, yet I'm dismayed when some of my targeted climbs come back slower.  All that time on Zwift over the winter and I'm now slower???  I use those tests to see how I'm doing and to determine whether I'll be able to do well at some upcoming gran fondo events.  It's a big ol' kick in the gut when I finish a climb that I somehow climbed in 14:52 last year only to be a whopping minute slower now.  Just kills confidence.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2414

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06/22/2018 09:15 AM
Man, whole books can be written about this topic....

A couple of questions first....how are you planning and tracking your workouts? Are you using a power meter?

A program like Training Peaks (even the free version) can go a long way towards helping to quantify your workouts, allowing you to assess where your fitness is relative to other points in time.

Using a power meter will give you objective data re: your fitness. Time, ultimately, is a subjective measurement....lots of things influence it; weather, road conditions, equipment choices, your position on the bike, etc. (The irony here is that although subjective, it is the final arbiter on game day).

If you use a power meter, you can track your performance on a given effort strictly by how much power you are putting out....if you did 250w up a climb one day on a max effort and on another you did 256w, then you are fitter / stronger than you were previously....doesn't matter what the clock says.

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2218

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06/22/2018 11:31 AM
This is why I don't look at numbers. They'll just tell me I am getting older. Which I know already.

That aside, your training can be affected by a lot of factors including how fresh you are (i.e. sleep, work etc.) so you can't just compare two times without taking into account all of the external factors. My training is always on Friday afternoon and I am rarely fresh at end of work week. But as long as you make sure you arrive fresh and rested at event, all the work you put in training will come to the fore. That should be the motivation.
6ix

Posts:248

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06/22/2018 11:45 AM
I sold my Stages recently since it was useless for me to use around here. You can't pace yourself by saying 'stick to 320 watts' because the hills are just too tough. You simply have to grunt your way over them, wattage be dammed. I don't follow any particular training program either but use the old Merckx method of 'ride lots.' Or in my case, ride at a high intensity most of the time. For the most part, it's always worked for me because I so loathe specific training programs. They aren't fun.

With that said, I don't quite follow how my climb times don't reflect on being fitter or stronger. All things being equal (body weight, bike weight, wheels, etc.), if I beat my time then I'm doing better, right?
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2414

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06/22/2018 02:07 PM
Oh, I completely understand your point re: the hills around there...all too well.

But the reason I noted the PM was not because of sticking to some wattage level (although that is a huge advantage), it is more for being able to measure the accumulated effect of your training. On Training Peaks there is a metric called Training Stress Score (TSS). Basically, it is a score that indicates how hard your given ride was. That score is then used in determining your Chronic Training Load (CTL) or "Fitness". The higher your CTL, the higher your fitness level, in general. (note - Training Peaks can also calculate TSS and CTL based on heart rate, but it is much less specific. A watt is a watt and completely objective. HR is not.

Example - my CTL in late Feb / early March was around 33. I am now around 100. I can track my "fitness" better this way....you don't have to follow a training plan, either. But you will know if a given ride had enough training stress to improve your overall fitness.

As to how time doesn't necessarily equal fitness, there are a multitude of factors...weather being the most obvious. Unless the conditions are exactly the same on different efforts, the changes will impact your times (positive or negative). Extreme example - you do a 40K flat, point to point TT. You do one test early in the season and it is with a 20mph tailwind. Do the same TT 2 months alter after religious adherence to a dedicated TT training plan. But the second test is intoi a 20mph headwind the whole time. Chances are your second time is gonna be slower, even though you are fitter.

Same with equipment choices...if you have different tires than previous times, that can positively or negatively impact your times...and your position on the bike matters, too. Did you spend more time on the tops vs. the hoods / drops, etc.

I'm a big fan of the "ride lots" mentality...that is mostly what I have been doing this year....sometimes hard, sometimes easy, sometimes both. But volume has been the key to my increased fitness this year. Not following any specific training plan either....but I am tracking my TSS and CTL, so I "know" if all the training I am doing is sufficient enough to increase my fitness. Without those metrics, I am just guessing as to whether it is sufficient.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
6ix

Posts:248

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06/22/2018 03:06 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, CK and OC. That stuff about the TSS and CTL is very interesting. Well, guess I shouldn't have sold the Stages then! I found it to be amusing to track my wattage and see how close I could get to 4.5w/kg (got to 4.3w/kg once!) but beyond that it was a waste. That said, I can see how it could be really useful for determining TSS and CTL versus just riding tons of miles. I don't really put in that many miles a year. Maybe 5,000 but it's so much elevation that even a 3-hour ride is brutal. I miss the long-slow-distance (LSD) rides where you could burns tons of fat off.

I see your point about the TT times varying greatly due to differing conditions, but a climb is a climb. The one in particular I use often to test performance is through thick trees so wind isn't a factor at all. It's the same throughout the year. Alternating hand positions doesn't even come into the picture when you're pushing super hard to only go 5mph. The very middle section is that steep! After that section, I can sometimes shift up from my 36x28 if not experiencing tunnel vision yet.

I like OC's statement about just feeling good about showing up fresh. I can control that!

Thanks for the help, fellas.
Orange Crush

Posts:2218

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06/22/2018 03:28 PM
The ability to shift up once things get easier is actually a key indicator for me. Also how do you feel right after the climb, able to rip it right away versus feel like a discarded dishtowel? Those to me are more important than the actual ride time up hill.

Sounds like you're doing my kind of riding. Past couple weeks been my local 12.5 km 7.5% hill (peak to 11%), doing that one twice in a row for total of 25k climbing. Next week will be triple ascent (37.5 km climbing) and with that should be good to go for Mauna Kea (which is 2 weeks out). All of this at slow pace of course. Keeping heart rate down while having a semi descent pace is my main objective. BTW - I am bringing gloves, toque and other warm gear to Hawaii, it has been freezing up top (below normal due to volcanic emissions from Kilauea).
zootracer

Posts:616

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06/27/2018 08:48 AM
Age will catch up with you sooner or later. Your options are to ride as hard and fast as you can and make riding not enjoyable. You will suffer, and along the way stand the chance of doing some real damage to your body (done that). You have to ride because you enjoy it. Each ride is different. Some of my rides suck and once and a while I will have a real good ride. Sort of like a sufer waiting for the perfect wave. I'm old, slow, get passed by nearly everyone, but I still ride because it is part of me. I noticed the change in riders a few years ago. We used to know each other and often ride a few miles together if our paths crossed. Now you might get a nod from someone, if that, or maybe a wave. Guys are too busy looking at their power meters. I wonder if they are really having fun? Coming from septuagenarian...." Do not go gentle into that good night" My motto
longslowdistance

Posts:1661

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06/27/2018 03:28 PM
Maybe just overtraining?
Orange Crush

Posts:2218

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06/29/2018 11:34 AM
Haha I did that triple Seymour training ride yesterday. The first 25k was good the third time up was slightly mental. Did ride a relatively heavy setup to simulate some extra gravitational pull. 3500 m vertical in all. Recovery is good no pain today.
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