Weekly Training Notes #18
With a short turnaround between races, there wasn't time for a full cycle and so I skipped straight to Build 3, to stay on schedule for my race next Sunday.
It was a very good week; I did three great rides and am starting to feel noticeably stronger.
On Tuesday I did a pretty good VO2max intervals ride. I did 4 x 4-minute reps plus an 8-minute super-threshold block. I also extended the ride with an extra hour at tempo pace with a couple of short sprints. When I have the time, I generally extend my tough rides with some extra work; I like to feel like my legs are smashed when I'm done. Last year I'd extend my easy days, which was a big mistake as it negated my recovery.
I had a very poor night's sleep on Wednesday, waking up early with sore legs, so I postponed my Thursday ride to Friday. This turned out to be a good decision, as I did my best intervals for a long time. The weather had been unsettled all week and it was raining quite heavily, but riding in the rain is still more pleasant than riding on an indoor trainer.
I've changed the workout from 30/30 to 20/40 intervals, adding an extra rep per set plus an extra set, giving me more anaerobic work than before in a psychologically much more doable format. With 30/30s you have to stay a little below flat-out pace to get through a set, but I prefer just to go for it, so 20/40s work better for me. However you do them, these partial recovery intervals are horrible, but they're very effective; 20 seconds flat out, 40 seconds recovery, repeated for six minutes per set.
Rainy intervals, you can't beat them!
I got through 3 sets. I was going to do 4 but after the third I had pretty bad nausea, so decided that was a sign I'd done enough work (although shortly later I added an extra 25 minutes at threshold just to make sure). I'll try for the fourth set next time I do this workout, which will be more frequently than before as I've rejigged my plan again:
One 20/40 session per cycle just wasn't enough!
The 20/40s were followed up the next day with a great group ride. 133 km at 32.4 km/h (not bad considering all the stopping and starting on the HH route). A couple of the other guys wanted to do sub 5-hour centuries, so they ensured the pace stayed high throughout. My exertions from the previous day were catching up with me for the final hour, but I forced myself to keep going and felt great once I made it to my car.
I find back-to-back tough rides like this to be very good training, almost like there's a multiplier effect, although of course you have to be careful about getting sufficient recovery. My philosophy is 'two days on, two days off', so on Sunday I ended the week with a short solo recovery ride on my gravel bike, and tomorrow I'll just do brief commute rides. Job done!
Something that I've started working on this week is consciously focusing on improving the strength of my right (weaker) leg. I actually measured my thighs and my left one is a full 1” bigger than the right! I did some reading on this and it seems that these natural imbalances (i.e. one limb being dominant over the other) tend to be exacerbated in cycling, leading to a kind of positive feedback effect.
My left quadriceps being stronger than the right leads to greater force being applied when riding, which leads to greater imbalances developing over the hundreds of hours per year that I ride, which can eventually lead to injury due to increased strain on the hips. It crossed my mind that this is what might have happened with me, especially combined with my saddle being much too low.
So I'm going to make a conscious effort to drive with my right foot when cycling, and do extra strength work on the right side to try to reduce the discrepancy. Along with the stretching and foam roller work, this will hopefully eventually alleviate the problem, and allow me to make a full recovery.
It turned out that I got 7th place (out of 18) in the Category 4/5 race last time out, much better than I'd thought. I overtook several riders who got dropped after I did; I obviously knew I was passing people, but I recognized some as warming up for the Masters race and didn't realize that others were in my race and had fallen out of the pack. I guess it paid off for me to keep riding as hard as I could to the line! Colour-coded numbers would be useful though.
My strategy for Event Week this time out is to have a proper taper prior to my race on Sunday, and to use as little energy as possible in the race until the latter stages. I'm also only entering one race this time. Let's see how I do.
Designation: In-Season, Build 3 Time: 16.1 hours | Distance: 455 km Low:Medium:High Intensity: 70:24:6 Weight Training: 1 x Lower Body, 1 x Upper Body | Walking: 7.5 km