Train with the end in mind

It’s January and I’ve noticed a consistent theme amongst many folks around here, which is a tendency to want to really dial up the intensity, duration, or density of their training. It makes sense, everyone is fresh and motivated, with many folks doing a lot of indoor riding with the only markers of progress being an FTP assessment every 6 weeks, or a binary “I did the workout”.

I’d like to offer some advice, which is to think of yourself at your A race on the starting line, looking back at your training. Chances are you will be thinking about:

  • The workouts you failed (because they were “too hard” or you weren’t rested enough)
  • The workouts you missed
  • The rides you shouldn’t have done because they weren’t worth it and you felt too tired later
  • The skills you didn’t build
  • The sleep you didn’t get
  • The stretching and flexibility work you didn’t do

You probably won’t remember:

  • That extra intense interval at the very end because you felt great
  • Turning the rest up to 75% because it felt harder that makes you feel good
  • The extra spinning around for 45 minutes because you had to make it a century
  • The early FTP test which made your workouts mentally harder sooner than expected

Pros are pros because they do the work, recover better than anyone, and they stick to their plan. They do exactly the amount of work they are assigned and no more, because they need to recover and be fresh. There are so many off the bike opportunities to get faster that won’t require as much recovery that you can take advantage of, especially this time of year. So if you are itching to add something in, do some off the bike work instead and stick to your training plan.

Good luck and have patience everyone :slight_smile:


You and I have very different thought processes on the starting line of races

Still - good advice here, plenty of people fail at resting and recovering


Good post. I can feel this one. Working out gives you stability and a goal gives you perspective. :grin:

On of the best in work out texts from @chad I’ve read is “trust the process”. It probably should be repeated in most workouts.


All pretty sound advice, but yeah, I too have a very different thought process on the start line!! There’s a thread in that itself!

I was thinking the exact same thing.

I’ve also noticed that quite a few TR users seem to see FTP and/or TR time as the end all be all of cycling. Easy to do when you live and breathe indoor training and test every 4-6 weeks.

I train indoors to prep for racing because the weather where I live sucks in the winter. I like riding my bike, not measuring myself on a trainer. This makes it easy to keep it as a means, not an end…



This same text has kept me from overexerting because I thought I had a ton left in the tank. And the next day, I’m glad I didn’t empty!

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Glad I could help inspire this topic’s creation. :laughing:

(This is perhaps the one thing which got me into this mindset in the first place — forgettibg the end goal. I’m kind of in no man’s land right now, equidistant from my last and next A race, so much so that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to actually race and habituated myself into a trainer “racer”. This recovery week will be a good time to revisit the mental game.)

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It wasn’t just you. I’ve made all of the same mistakes as everyone else, and that list above is directly from my own personal experience!

Okay so maybe not on the starting line, but more like the day before having a moment of reflection :wink:

A “starting line thought process” thread is a great idea.

Thanks for this.

I’m relatively new to cycling and know that I should spend a good amount of time just getting a comfortable amount of work into my legs. There is still that nagging thought in the back of my head that I could push harder and make the high volume plans workout.

Maybe I would survive the 600+TSS/week for 16 or 28 weeks… but the right thing for my long term enjoyment of cycling probably is to just go ahead and get a year of consistent 400-500 TSS in me and see where that takes my fitness.


Maybe. Maybe not. But, I can say from experience raising TSS just to raise TSS (while has some benefits for sure) is not the way to do it. Increasing TSS arbitrarily across training blocks without considering time training the three systems will leave you flat. The time to experiment with increasing TSS is more in the aerobic/base phase. xxx TSS of z2 is way different than accumulating the same TSS of threshold, VO2, anaerobic work. Be careful especially if you have limited history, older, have kids/career. If a deep history of riding/training, younger, trust funder/retired, no kids/so you can get away with more