Adjusting to work/life balance changes

Hey everyone,

I seek your advice and words of wisdom, having recently returned to the TR platform after several years away.

This has very much been a season of two halves for me. In the first half, I was consistently improving, getting stronger and having a blast on my new team. I was putting out my best numbers to date and had probably my favourite few months of racing to date.

However, I started a demanding new job at the end of May, and since then have watched my fitness gradually trend down, my performance slip away, and have had a generally disappointing season results-wise. I am going from being able to do 600TSS weeks comfortably, to more like 300TSS, so a big change. I start early, so cannot train before work. I sometimes get home late, so only have time for 60 min workouts during the week.

I used TrainerRoad in my first ever season racing (in 2014) , then got a coach and a power meter, and that has been my set up for a few years now. However, with the shift in my work/life balance, working with a coach was just an extra stress because I didn’t want to let them down if I missed workouts, and scheduling in calls and meetings was hard. So I’m back on TR!

I’d like to hear some stories of other people who have had a big change in their lives which has shifted their ability to train. How did it affect your performance? Were you surprised at how much fitness you could retain with a bit more specificity?

Did you adjust what sort of races you entered? I’m more of a road race person than a criterium typically, but lower volume is not as well suited for 2.5-3hr road races as I am lacking towards the end.

Did you change how you raced?

How would you prepare for the season ahead? Did you use any extra time available to get more hours in the saddle? Did you skip weights in the off season?

If there is a podcast episode which touches on the above, please let me know which one!

I am in a very similar situation, but knew a little in advance that this year was going to be heckin’ crazy at work. I decided that I would do only races that could be completed in under 2 hours, which I thought would mean better results and shorter weekend “long” rides. I tried desperately to hang onto by high volume weeks for a good portion of the year (i.e. 2 hour rides on weekdays) before realizing that my FTP was stagnant, I was constantly tired (and grumpy, as my wife will verify), and results were uninspired. In general, I was just a mess. I got a couple of decent results in late spring with a win and a few podiums. It just wasn’t sustainable.

About half way through the summer I lowered my TSS and focused on getting more sleep / recovery (both physical and mental). My mood improved and I started really enjoying riding again - even took a top 10 at a local gravel race earlier this fall. What I found lacking was confidence in my training. I just didn’t feel psychologically prepared. Funny enough, during that gravel race I found that I was as strong as I had been in previous years when push came to shove, I just didn’t trust my training enough. Had I trusted in my training, I could have stayed with the lead breakaway and fought for a podium (at least a higher position). I assumed I didn’t have it. It was there, my head wasn’t.

Moral of the story: adjust your training before it becomes a problem and believe that lower TSS weeks can be effective.