The big change this mesocycle was taking seriously the need to taper my training in the lead-up to my race. In accordance with scientifically-accepted best practice, I didn't reduce the intensity or frequency of my riding, but the volume came down by about one third.
Following Monday's Leg Speed ride, I did some tough Anaerobic Intervals on Tuesday. The first two were 2-minute efforts, which are horrible; you don't pace them, you just go flat out like you were doing a 30- or 40-second interval, then try to hang on as best you can. Nasty! These were followed by six 1-minute reps. Ten minutes of anaerobic work is plenty for one session.
The Nestor Cup wasn't exactly great for me, but nevertheless this was another week that I'm happy with.
It was a big step forward in terms of intensity. Take a look at the numbers at the bottom of the page; that ratio works out to about 4 hours of medium intensity and close to 60 minutes of high intensity, much of which was anaerobic. 1 hour above threshold per week is a great benchmark for this time of year.
If anything, the medium could be reduced a little in favour of low intensity, to give me more energy for the high intensity, but really I think I'm starting to get into a groove again. From the improvement I've noticed just from the last couple of weeks, it's clear that it's the high intensity work that's been missing. My updated training plan takes this into account, with new intervals rides on Thursdays of Build weeks to complement those already on Tuesdays. Tues/Thurs/Sats look like this:
Another week that started out disappointing, but ended strongly.
My plan to wait until Wednesday to do my midweek effort ride (with the idea that I'd be extra-fresh) didn't really work; I couldn't even get in 10 minutes of threshold. My legs didn't feel tired or heavy, they just didn't have the power to generate the necessary intensity.
So I decided to do a century ride instead, which went fine but I was still annoyed about not being able to do what I wanted.
The week started off not so great, with some attempted VO2max intervals on Tuesday. I got a couple in, but (as has been happening) fatigued rapidly as well as being down on power. I switched to some threshold blocks instead, but couldn't get a whole lot of those done either. To cap things off, I ended the ride early, as even endurance-paced riding proved to be a grind.
A designated recovery week, but unfortunately I had also to recover from aggravating my injury. I took a rest day on Monday, and had a very easy commute-only day on Tuesday, but on Tuesday evening, over the course of an hour or so, my shin went from tingly to numb, and my hip progressed from quite painful to excruciating.
I can only assume this was a reaction to the previous weekend's exertions. The gravel ride + round trip combination totalled 10 hours, and maybe that just put too much strain on my body.
My attempted intervals on Tuesday went horribly: I buried myself for the first two minutes for a very lackluster time, then faded badly halfway through the second one. My leg felt worse again, due to what I now think was weight lifting the preceding weekend (so I skipped all weight lifting this week, because I'm now pretty sure that it's been compromising my recovery. I'll skip next week as well and see how I feel).
I switched to threshold blocks, but could complete little more than 20 minutes before I fatigued too much for that as well. It wasn't a good start to the week.
I had a very good week; two good solo training rides and two decent group rides at the weekend.
My injury is still stubbornly refusing to disappear completely; it's seemed like a couple of days away for the last two or three weeks.
On Tuesday I did a mix of intervals: 1 x 2-minute, 3 x 4-minute and 20 minutes of threshold. Everything checked out okay, and this reinforced my realization from last week that I simply haven't been working out hard enough recently, especially around my anaerobic threshold.
I took things easy during the first part of the week, but then put in a very good ride on Thursday (close to 60 minutes at threshold; much more than I've been used to lately).
It seems like I paid for it, as on Friday I felt sore again (in a bad way: like I'd exacerbated my injury), but getting in that kind of workout made me realize that I've been slacking off on my hard rides and need to step things up if I want to get faster this summer.