So, this year I’ve done winter differently. The last few years I’ve been slavishly following a training plan to the letter. Whilst I’ve always completed it, mentally it’s been a drain. I struggled to endure session on the trainer longer than 45 mins. This year was different…
I had almost 2 months off through injury at the tail end of last season, and missed several key races I’d been focussing on. I went stir crazy not being able to ride, and increasingly frustrated seeing people posting rides on Strava that moaned about rain/headwinds etc etc. This winter I was simply going to enjoy the bike.
By the time I got back on the bike we were into autumn so only a few opportunities to get out on my race bike. Around this time I took the plunge and bought a smart trainer and was doing TR workouts on Zwift. I did a few races and became utterly hooked on the whole concept of being able to race whenever I wanted. I also got really into the Zwift racing community.
I was sensible in what I was doing, picking races that largely corresponded to sessions that I wanted to do, eg four laps of Box Hill gave 4x7 mins threshold, 2x round Innsbruck gave 2x 20 mins sweetspot.
I started the winter as an average B rider, but soon was upgraded to A and remained solid in that category all winter.
Today, as part of pre-race openers for the Zwift National Championships I did my session outdoors instead of on the trainer as the weather was great. Did a circuit with some 2 min, 3 min and 4 mins climbs. I managed PBs on most of them (some that I’ve ridden over 200 times!), several Strava KOMs and all time 1 min and 2 min power PBs. I actually had to stop and recalibrate my power meter as I thought the readings were off!!
I’ve had the most fun winter ever on the bike, managed greater hours than I have in the past and have arrived at race season in the best shape I’ve ever been.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is stop over thinking things, make sure you all have fun riding your bikes and here’s to a great season ahead😊
Thanks for sharing that. Congrats on the breakthroughs! I do believe a good mix will help any rider and as amateurs we overthink or over stress about the little things just a little to much. I’m guilty of it
Kudos to you for doing something different this year. I quit Zwift because I’m not that into racing there and I also found Trainerroad sufficient enough to let time pass. But this is my second season racing and in November 3:rd year of riding a bike so I’ll might change my mind later on but I doubt it. I ride outdoor 50% of the time so I guess to each their own. Good luck in the nationals!
Last year (first year on both TR and Zwift), I started SSBHV plans in February and ran Zwift in the background. I remember negatively anticipating the monotony of the 2 hour TR sessions on the weekends.
This year I am doing the weekday TR workouts and for the weekends I find a minimum 2 hour group ride on Zwift and keep myself at SS pace within a small group. Now, I look forward to weekend indoor training rides and my avatar usually goes longer at SS pace than planned. Riding e-motion rollers also help me focus into each moment of the ride. I’m not too sure I could go that long on a static trainer.
I’m enjoying my “year off” of racing taking care of the kids, while fitting in my TR work. I’m making gains, and am thinking ambitiously about progressing while solely focused on cycling - can I get to 4W/kg? Can I see a 300W FTP when that’s the only sport I’m doing? But I’m looking forward to trying Zwift soon as a weekend ride when I’m away from my normal groups, playing in races without worrying about who is height doping or whatever. I appreciate TR users sharing experiences with Zwift because I’m definitely more of a TR “training mindset”, but this stuff is supposed to be fun too, and that’s where the occasional dose of gamification probably isn’t a bad thing.
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