The podcast discussion about mental blocks – being intimidated by an improved FTP and doubting the ability to get through interval sets – reminded me of two different experiences.
My wife used to take exchange groups to Germany during the summer. I would tag along and just ride my bike in the Black Forest. I met a D3 pro in that area that I would train with now and then (and there’s a lesson about zone 2 intensity there – if I a 45+ weekend warrior to keep up on the 4-5 hour rides, then maybe the value in LSD sessions is not in how hard they are, but how long they are, and how often you do them) who would keep electrical tape over the power numbers on his SRM monitor. He would look at the elapsed time and HR. When I asked him what he did on intervals days, it was “just ride up the hill very hard.”
I have PMs that read 10-15w apart from each other. All these gadgets can read a little different from day to day, and units that leave the factory – anyone’s factory – can be within spec and still as much as 5% off from each other. I don’t use powermatch or anything similar. Many days, I just change the Garmin screen to elapsed time and HR, especially on the interval/fartlek days. Rather than trying to hit a watt target, I just “ride up the hill very hard.” And the segment times in Strava are what they are. The “low” PM days are just as fast as the “high” PM ones (and never mind which one is “right”).
Sure, seeing the wattage can be a motivator. I do that too. But, if the numbers are getting to your head, maybe it’s time to get rid of the numbers.
So, how often do you ignore the PM? Find it helps? Find it hurts? What are your own mental break strategies for when the numbers might be getting in the way?