On-the-bike math: share your best anecdote

Listening from the podcast with Jon, Alex and the rest of the crew, I can’t help thinking I am not alone in using ridiculous “math” :roll_eyes: to pass the time during intervals.

Can you guys share your examples (hoping for some inspiration here to use to distract myself more efficiently during hard intervals :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:)

I’ll go first:

Around minute 6 of a 20 minute threshold interval: “I’ve only got 2 minutes left until 12 minutes to go. Now 12 minutes is just two times 6 minutes, and 6 minutes is only two times 3 minutes. I can do anything for 3 minutes! Conclusion: I’ve got this, all I have to do is survive the next 2 minutes” Adapt and repeat as any of these milestones tick by :sweat_smile:

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I saw, “cmon you can do anything for X minutes” and just keep changing X as we count down lol

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This is pretty much how I survive intervals :sweat_smile:

Rinse and repeat.

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I definitely do some math during workouts and often I’ll plan ahead and come up with a strategy specifically for the workout. Usually it revolves around when I will insert standing. I like symmetry so often will insert that stand in the middle of an interval so I can trick myself into thinking the interval is half as long, or a third, or quarter depending on how long the interval is.

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I’m glad I’m not the only one! On a 100 mile ride at mile 5…I’ll say I only have to do that 20 more times!! :exploding_head::rofl::grimacing::thinking:

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On intervals over 5 minutes I cover my phone with a towel and wait till I hear the 3 beeps. A watched clock never boils, or something like that.

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In long races (like ultra running), I like to do the opposite to mess with people.

Alright, we got 1 kilometer, 49 more to go!

I’m a jerk.

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“okay… 10hrs in, that wasn’t too bad…i can do that 9 more times”

Also “okay, this next section will take about 8hrs, after that I’ll give myself a little break”

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175 x 95 = 166.25
175 x .9 = 157.5
175 x .85 = 148.75
175 x .8 = 140

😵‍💫

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I like looking for fractions and patterns, especially n / (n + 1). So 9/10 to go, 8/9 to go, 7/8, …, 1/2 done. Then start counting up the other way. 2/3 done, 3/4 done, …, 9/10 done. Keeps the math interesting as you’re only solving the same problem twice (once on the way down, again on the way up).

I’ve also used @ambermalika’s “happy halfway” numerous times. However, I prefer to get 2/3 of the way through an interval if I can make it that long. The third quarter of anything is usually the toughest, mentally, but 2/3 is close enough for me.

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I rode the GDMBR solo, so you get very, very bored. So basically, all day is average speed and time until the next gas station or dinner.

My GPS would also tell me the distance and elevation to the top of the climb… “20 miles 4000 vertical to the top currently going 3 MPH just means I will be climbing for… all day!”

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On the Dragon Ride we’d been riding with a right arse. Beating up riders for 100 miles ish. With a mile to the top, I told him it was 3 miles. He crumbled. I’m an arse too but he deserved it.

We all know that us time triallers can’t count! 2+2 =5. I had the Vitalite advert / Isiralites. stuck in my head. for a 12hr TT

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I’m really bad at bike math, especially when it comes to barcode workouts. “Okay, 10-30 second intervals is only 3 minutes of actual work.”

3 minutes of actual work gone by, still staring at a couple more minutes of intervals :unamused:

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For longer intervals, where the time remaining is easily divisible by 5 I sometimes convert it into “workdays left until the weekend”. I normally find Wednesdays and Thursdays the hardest.

For VO2max I turn off all math and voluntary brain activity. Although my brain seems to involuntarily divide the last minute into 3 x 20 second intervals with the final 20 seconds being all about reaching 12 seconds left. Once I get to 12 seconds left I have a rule to never give up during that period…

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I keep the maths fairly simple especially on harder intervals. I end up repeatedly counting 1 through to 12 when I’m near the edge and 1 through to 100. When I am looking to pass time its a bit more complicated I count through to 100 (it usually about 60s) and may count the 100s on my hand :joy:

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I am just counting seconds without looking at screen and every 20sec checking how much I have drifted. This practice decouples effort intensity vs time warp

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I often end up working on the principle of the middle half. If you can get to the point where the 1st quarter is done you are onto the middle half. I tell myself half of the workout/interval is easy so that can’t be a problem, then when that is done there is only a quarter to go so I am nearly finished!

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The notes sheet for where the climbs and sprints are is in km. You forgot to change zwift before the start of the race so speed and distance are in miles. You are on target to set a lifetime 20 min power pr by more then 20 watts and hanging out very close to max hr. You are traveling at 26mph, you are 7 miles and 3 hard primes into the race and the climb starts at 14.3k. All you can remember is the 5k:3.1m ratio. How much longer do you have to try to somehow recover before the climb?

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I usually try to calculate how many calories i should burn with this interval or workout. It also motivates me to calculate calories burned per second when i am doing tough intervals:) 330W means 20 Cals per minute which is insane.

Another trick i use is trying to calculate my average power at the end of intervals, and bu the end of the workout how dumb i become even for simple math:)

I do this all the time - but expressed in fractions

I have completed 1/4 of this interval, I have complete 1/2 of the this workout, only 1/4 of this interval to go!

also thought it was odd that is what my brain is thinking when the body is suffering

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