Notes from a cold garage pt I
Intro: Long time watcher, first time poster with what could be described as a somewhat self-indulgent thread but I hope it might have relevance for others. In short, these are reflections of an untrained — but frequent — cyclist coming to Trainerroad. One of the things I seem to struggle with the most is the nagging voices (indicated in bold) that I want to acknowledge and share as from my reading around here and listening to the podcast they seem to influence a number of questions and decisions about training which aren’t always productive. I plan to be brutally honest with myself and with you all. I am not looking for answers to my internal monologues really, and some of them I know to ‘trust the plan’ but they still chip away!
First, some history and statistics:
- Age: 35
- Weight: 73kg
- Height: 5’ 11”
- FTP: 277
- Cycling (road) for about 10 years, more seriously for 4
- These 4 years have seen me cycling much more but rarely training consistently
- Structured training has been limited to a fortnight here or there before I bailed
- Biggest gains seen after a few months last winter on Fulgaz just working hard up mountains
- Average TSS over this last year (before Trainerroad) is 530 (but of course not structured, just riding)
- Some lower back pain I manage, previous right knee issues that again are managed and mostly cause no issue cycling
- On average get 7.5 hours sleep a night but often stress about sleep makes it worse after training days (I know I need it so overthink it)
- Job not too stressful but has its moments
Goals: I’d like to be a fitter human, a faster cyclist and have a more resilient body. I’d like to look good with my shirt off too — at 35 and a new dad I want to show myself I can have a body capable of more than it ever was before and I’d love to feel positive looking in the mirror. I know this may not be a great goal to have but it’s a part of what I am working towards. I would like to break 4w/kg and then to reach an FTP of 300. FTP goals are perhaps looked down on a little but I’m not competitive, I don’t have any interest in racing or have other big events coming up. I wonder if my lack of these points to work towards might be an issue when the harder work rolls around. I don’t need an FTP of 300 to cycle and enjoy riding so maybe I’m on to a looser form the off.
Plan: Having come from cycling quite a bit, and a moderate TSS, I selected the Mid Volume SS Base, followed by MV Power Build and then Speciality (40km TT I figured would be best for me). I took ages to decide what volume of plan. Never even considered low as it just looked too little and was really wanting to choose HV. I am adding in some strength training and one run a week (only 5k) as I’d like to do more than just cycling (part of building a more resilient and capable body). Maybe one run a week is pointless and its not enough to make me a better runner but is enough to hamper my cycling efforts.
Week 1: Well this is mostly quite nice, very easy. I must be loosing fitness each day I’m enjoying the workouts because they are very manageable and a reduction in time commitment for me. Still can’t shake the feeling that TR doesn’t know me and what I’ve been doing despite telling it about my previous volume, FTP and so on. I’m a little frustrated.
Week 2: Now I must really have lost all my fitness. I’m not sure this is for me, I need to put the hours in and I need to go hard. I got to the end of the week and had Three Sisters, it was the first workout marked as hard and it made me feel a little better. considering changing as many workouts as possible to higher scores on PL because in Sweet-spot and Endurance I can definitely do way more than TR is giving me. I settle for just changing one workout in the following week. Not sure I can just stare at a screen like this for the next 4 months or so. Watching stuff doesn’t help much but a minor distraction.
Week 3: I wonder how much fitness I’ve lost with this plan? I’m actually in a fairly positive mindset. I’ve come round to thinking that this is a long term plan and that while I may loose some of my fitness, it might long-term be that I ma in a better position. I’m enjoying having my legs feel fresher when I jump on the bike — I used to feel like I always had heavy legs. I use AI FTP and it gives me 279 (+2). Reassured but sceptical of the number. I don’t want to use the 279 as I think it might reset PLs and I’ll be back to really easy stuff. I rode an endurance ride outside trying to keep in heart rate zone, tricky but possible. I overthink my average speed on this endurance ride — wow I’ve gotten slow. This is the furthest I have gotten into anything that resembles a structured training plan so that’s good. I’m playing with the weekly schedule of strength training and my run — feels like I am simultaneously doing too much schedule-wise and recovery-wise but also not doing enough hard work to get fitter. How can I raise my FTP when I’m barely ever above it? Listening to the podcast is helping alleviate some worries and is always a reminder to rest, nourish etc.
Again, these thoughts are not an attack on TR or the process at all. I know the science is there, I know it can work but knowing doesn’t always translate to internal belief, at least not quickly.
I am currently in week 4 and happy to continue sharing if this is handy/interesting to anyone else.