Monday, November 27, 2017


in a previous post, i alluded to the fact that i wasn't quite sure where my recent success had come from. and, to some degree, that's entirely true. i mean, i know i've worked super hard and have been trying to do everything right -- and within reason, no, i haven't purchased Normatech recovery boots or rented a hypoxic sleeping tent. my diet is not perfect, but pretty darn good. i'll try to post on that another time. but training-wise i'm not entirely sure what might be different and what might be creating these positive results.

here are some thoughts from a conversation I had with a high school friend who has been racing at an elite level for way longer than me, is way more knowledgable than me about training, is also self-coached, and -- oh, by the way -- has a Stars and Stripes jersey from a couple of years ago. a super guy, he never balks when i ask him for training advice. what follows is some explanation about my plan going into the Sly Fox/Victory weekend and some questions around some unexpected changes and how they may or may not have played a role:

training question: my plan this past weekend was to only race Sunday. so i designed my week as follows:
  • M: off/recovery (turned out to be off)
  • T: HARD (descending intervals, followed by a 2x20)
  • W: moderate (sweetspot intervals, 4x8)
  • R: HARD ( tabata style intervals, 2x20 mins, :30 on, :20off)
  • F: off
  • S: openers
  • Su: RACE!
that was the plan. then my wife switched her schedule around so i could race  both -- yes, i am a lucky man! -- though, with the late change i registered for the wrong race and lost my first row call-up. so, i raced Saturday with no openers the day before, basically with NO workout the day before -- and won! nothing else in the schedule above changed. also, because i was helping another racer in the parking lot with a dead battery, i didn't get to do my usual warm-up . got in a much shorter warm-up. on a very cold day. and, i won. similarly, on Sunday, i didn't take my truck because my wife needed it. as a result, i didn't have all the gear i usually take, and for reasons that I can explain another time, this led to me again getting a much shorter than usual warm-up on a really cold day. 
so, that's a lot to decipher, but you're a smart reader and if you've stuck with me this far, my questions are these:
  -- could it be that i either don't need "openers" or even possibly do better without "openers" before a race? a previous coach once told me that my openers were a bit too much stress, although what he prescribed ended up being almost exactly the same TSS both in real life and when modeled in trainingpeaks and trainerroad.
  -- could it be that my previous warm-up routine was also too much and I was leaving too much on the trainer before the race? my "go to" trainer warm-up is 35 minutes long and is about 33 TSS points. seems reasonable, but when combined with three laps of course recon, maybe it's too much.
-- could it be that my fitness is finally coming in and i am way overthinking all of this? i'm starting to wonder if this is the case. what's really interesting to me, is that on paper -- or on the LCD screen -- , my fitness (CTL) this season has been about the same or higher than it was on a day-to-day comparison against last season. that said, i came into this season with no MTB racing compared to a ton of MTB races in the summer of 2016. i also had essentially no training in June. i had some results early this fall that were not on par with my expectations, and i wonder if even though the software thought i had similar fitness earlier in the season, it wasn't quite right.
i know that everyone is different and what works for me might not work for you and vice-versa, but i just thought i'd share my experience and see if anyone has any feedback or insights that they'd like to give to me and our community.

another thing, that i didn't really touch on here, but do touch on a little in my previous post is the mental stress. maybe by not focusing so much on the result and the process and the desire to win, maybe by focusing more on the fun and the relationships and the people, i've found a proper balance.

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