Another "why am I getting worse" thread - the Dad/seasonal factor is real?

Recently I’ve felt a drop off in ability and trying to work out if it’s simply a case of less time on the bike over winter period (+ a newborn mid Dec) contributing to a drop, or something else that can be easily spotted.

2019 was approx 6,000 km outdoors with around 110km of climbing + fairly regular turbo in off season. Outdoor activity dropped off towards end of the year as our winters are pretty cold but averaging around 300 tss/week on the turbo and I posted some power PBs on the turbo in Dec and early Jan.

I’ve attached some graphs showing: TSS history, power zone history and strava fitness and freshness curve. As you’d expect, you can see a peak over summer directly related to when I was spending a lot of time on the bike and dropping down to now. This correlates reasonably well to ability, although I’d say peak fitness was probably early 2019 or late 2019. I was not at my “fastest” in July when I had the highest training volume, reasonable I guess given stress factor.

Appreciate that it is fairly normal to see a drop over winter, but I’m still training reasonably hard on the turbo, albeit with less overall volume. I’m also comparing some of my segment times (always a bad idea) and they are not coming out favourably when compared against similar times in the calendar last year. Outdoor activity in 2020 has dropped a lot, primarily because of the baby factor i.e. 2 month gap between club rides in Jan to Feb and only 3 hill rep sessions (150 tss each) in that period to make up for the lack of outdoor activity.

Otherwise I’m healthy - any thoughts? Is this simply a case of winter blues and that volume is not enough? Or am I being punished for not strictly following a training plan (used TR in Nov and Dec)? Find these two options difficult to agree with as I am probably doing more (on the turbo anyway) than at any point previously.

Looking at that power zone chart, you don’t have enough green. You are keeping the high intensity and cutting down on the endurance miles. From November to February you did a lot of intensity and little endurance.

On the other hand, you had a baby. It’s a tough time for training. Give yourself a break. Spring is coming and soon you’ll get outside more often.

Going forward I’d still think about overall zone distribution. HIIT gains come the quickest but are also the shortest lived. Our sport is aerobic and you have to keep building and maintain the aerobic engine. You need relatively more time in zones 1-3. Even if you are just going to ride the trainer, you could cut back on intensity sessions and spend more hours in Z2. Maybe do 3x10min tempo intervals in a 1 hour Z2 session.

Great answer above!

The summary is, more Zone 2 and volume.

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