TL:DR Pacing: I think masters can go harder than they let themselves, especially around the threshold.
I think that the issue of pacing is a quite different type of challenge for masters. Same age as yourself. I find my particular issue is that I don’t think I can go hard enough for long enough. I always drop back to Z3 or Z2. Overly conservative. I have mentioned elsewhere that I think this is a consequence of my location; Holland. Flat as a pancake. Even the dunes hardly rate as a challenge. Then there is the whole masters mindset that we have somehow earned the right to back off. Which is what all the master coaches go on about; we are training ourselves to ride slow!
I am always amazed at my younger brother’s data on Strava. His average HR runs as much as 30 BPM higher than mine. He’s not that much younger. He rides less but he does race. So his riding pushes him up there. I also looked back at my TR data and at the start of the year when I was just running to plan pre-COVID my average HR was 20 BPM higher than post COVID as I added on more Z2 rides. Then this last month I was talked into a Strava challenge by a friend 1600km and 7500m ascent. I wasn’t confidant: My TR experience this year has not been as good as previous years. So the whole thing went to Z2 with a little sweet spot thrown in. From the start of the year I was middling about 250 - 400 TSS/ week. The last two weeks of this month hit the high 700’s.
Weird thing was I didn’t collapse without a 2:1 rest ratio. I haven’t had a rest week since July. I put this down to it almost all being Z2. This is all a round about way of discussing what happened this morning. Naturally in Holland I had to do most of the climbing virtually. So the final bit was to do Zwift Ven-Top this morning. As I had to be to work there was some time pressure there. I worked out if I could keep the pace at Sweet Spot the whole climb I would get done in time. Again I was not confident I could hold this pace at all. Especially coming off the back of such a big block of riding. Sure enough as I started out it felt very bad. Then I remembered that all my Z2 rides for the last two weeks had started out the same way but come good after 30 minutes. So I held on and sure enough it comes around and I get the pace I need to finish as planned.
I am still sort of scratching my head on that. I mentioned above the TR plans all sort of fell apart on me and while this block has seen my TSB float along the red zone. I have never felt as fatigued as I did earlier in the year on the TR plans… I even tried PB which fell apart quickly for me. I was doing the 2:1 all the time LV with added Z2. All I have been doing this year was trying to implement this pseudo pol approach for masters as per Friel and everyone else Z2 & VO2max. I was just frying myself quickly doing that. Yet the TSB was always good. Now I have just done a huge block of z2 and sweet spot with a TSB that should have me on the floor: Yet I just finished with a hefty Tempo/Threshold climb and feel happily spent… go figure!