Posts

Showing posts from 2019

Failure

Image
fail·ure
/ˈfālyər/
noun
1. The action or state of not functioning.
"The point when your working muscle is fully fatigued to the extent that it can no longer complete another repetition of a movement with strict biomechanics."

Or, in other words, Success.




Workout highlight Fight Club... true to its name, was a fight to the finish.

This workout comes early on the training plan when targets are high, and adaptation has only begun.
You attack. Attack and attack. The attacks come thick and fast from a threshold level with no recovery. As with most surges on The Sufferfest workouts, cadence spikes by ~15rpm and the power by Multiplies of Agony and Pain (MAP).
Each interval starts with a TT effort, ~100 rpm, then transitions into a climb with ~75 rpm. While I have no problem surging from 100 to 120 rpm regardless of power (usually), the surge from 75 to 90 is a challenge. Obviously, metabolic and muscular demands are different at these efforts and given enough of these repetitions, …

Here We Go Again

Image
Plan #2
Week 2.
10 Weeks To Go.

Welcome back, weary traveler.
I trust that you may have wondered about my decision about which training plan to pursue having completed a 12-week program on 12.10.2019.
You may have lost sleep, bitten your fingernails, pulled hair, and felt generally anxious and edgy. That's common, expected, and you're healthy - it's ok.
More realistically though (and Google Analytics doesn't lie) I, the composer of these digital scrolls, is the sole soul reading these lines anyway, so, like the rest of it, no one cares, right? But I keep at it nonetheless.
Remembering Why. That's why.

I had, at the time, contemplated another 12-week plan, an eSport/vRacing plan, or a Knighthood attempt.
Virtual Racing, I must admit, was most tempting because keeping a tight plan prevents me from hammering away on Zwift, which I genuinely enjoy.
As for the Knighthood attempt, I can always do that, and I'm quite confident I don't need five weeks to prep for it…

Glory Box

Image
*CAUTION: This post may contain images of a grown man in tights practicing masochism with the aid of a bicycle.

TL;DR:
The Sufferfest Training Plan, 12 weeks, MAP (VO2max) focus helped me raise my MAP by 4.3% (w/kg) and my FTP by 2.5% (w/kg).  Pre-Event Checklist? Done.
Event Strategy? Done.
All boxes ticked; battle awaits.

Today I rode my second 4DP Test: Full Frontal.
The first was a little more than 12 weeks ago, and since then, my focus is Maximal Aerobic Capacity (MAP, or VO2max) with The Sufferfest Training Plan.
As a reminder, this is the 12-week General Cycling Plan, Advanced Level, Indoor Only, MAP focus, with all the toppings: Strength, Yoga, and Mental Toughness.

TL;DR*:
NM: 987 => 994 (+7W / 0.71%)
AC: 470 => 456 (-14W / -2.98%)
MAP: 314 => 328 (+14W / 4.46% )
FTP: 268 => 274 (+7W / 2.24%)
LTHR: 182 => 180 (-2 BPM / -1.10%)

And in W/Kg terms (as I gained 1kg over these 12 weeks):
NM: 14.51 => 14.62 w/kg (+0.11 w/kg / 0.76%)
AC: 6.91 => 6.71 w/kg (-0.2 w/kg / -…

On Your Marks

Image
Just came off the bike after doing "Primers".
This drill "revs up the engine," so to speak by dishing out 4x 3 minutes intervals of around FTP, then 3 low effort sprints.
I vaguely remember from doing this before the previous Full Frontal 4DP Test that these efforts we a bit on the demanding side of things.
Spinning 90rpm at FTP, or just above, for 3 minutes and thinking, "this isn't as easy as it should be... I need 5 minutes at almost 100 Watts more tomorrow!"
I attribute this to the very light days prior: no ride yesterday (just some Yoga) and a 30min Recovery Ride the day before. So legs are a bit "rusty" to the extent that a coat of oxidization only a couple of days old can blossom.

Tomorrow is going to be a blast.

I went through the Mental Toughness Program pre-event work, have my TO-DO for today and tomorrow and getting things in place.
For instance, making sure to supplement and eat/drink enough today, even though it's just an hou…

La Flamme Rouge

Image
6 Days to go.

Last kilometer. La Flamme Rouge.
I've gone under the kite, as Carlton Kirby might say.
Into the final rest week of the 12-week Sufferfest Training Plan I go.
As a reminder, this is the General Cycling Plan, Advanced Level, Indoor Only, VO2 focus, with all the toppings: Strength, Yoga, and Mental Toughness.



At this point, it's interesting to look at the power zone durations for the span of the plan thus far:


4.3% spent in Zone 5, and another 1.6% in Zone 6 - and since there were not too many sprints in this plan, let's assume that the NM+AC work is there to support MAP development. We combine these two figures to ~6% (3.5hrs).
I'm very curious to see the impact this will have on the upcoming 4DP Full Frontal Test.

Meanwhile, this rest week is a blessing.
I'm utterly exhausted.
To illustrate a point, last night, I rode the 90min Endurance+ ride, which generally puts me in a hazy comatose state. This time it was so challenging that I had to engage Mental…

Humming along

Image
Week 10.
14 days to go.

It's when you're singing along, humming to the tunes on "It Seemed Like Thin Air" that you know you've been doing this for a while.
As the 40-minute climb draws to an end, "Don't Talk To Me" plays loud over the TV speakers. Louder than the 20" metal-bladed fan, spinning at full blast, that's for sure.
My wife, who had just come back home from work, gets the message — no exchange of words necessary. The puddle of Sufferlandrian Holy Water beneath me extracts a nose scrunch, though.

I keep an eye on the clock because I'll be doing the cooldown on the MTB on the way to fetch the kids from school.
It was close this time. I lost electricity twice during the session. Luckily, we have a backup diesel generator to keep everything working while the main feed from the electric company is down - which happens more often than not these days. It can be because of the rain, a fire, or some maintenance work - but you'll be s…

Empty The Tank

Image
Week 9, 21 days to go.

Today I took the Empty Tank Express.
I'm in the Peak phase of the plan, and while I haven't tested my legs in a race or anything more demanding than the Full Frontal Test, I'm hitting minor breakthroughs consistently.
Xert helps me keep tabs on my progress, maintaining the balance between informative analytical data and analysis-paralysis (e.g. Today's Plan).


What you see here, are two Sufferfest workouts done back-to-back.
"Revolver," followed immediately by "Half is Easy". Here, have a taste:






Both these workouts revolve around the same idea: equal work to rest ratio, at VO2max or above.
Revolver is 1 minute On, 1 minute Off.
Half Is Easy dishes out 2 sets of ~10 minutes each, with 15sec On, 15 Off.


Now, look here. On the one hand, I have a VO2max (MAP) weakness.
On the other, I have Repeated Efforts as a strength ("Attacker!").
The result of these two combined? I can pull off these kinds of workouts without too muc…

Eat This.

Image
Week 8, 26 days to go.

I get that tingling feeling from time to time.
No, it's not the beta-alanine OD, although that's fun too.
It's when you KNOW that you can go harder than the workout demands of you.
It's that feeling of restrained, controlled patience.
The sensation of having more to give, even though you don't need to.
And when you get that feeling in "A Very Dark Place," then you know you've come a long way.
It also hints that a Full Frontal Test is imminent for raising that bar once again for renewed, fresh, Suffering.

The Sufferfest - A Very Dark Place - Trailer from The Sufferfest on Vimeo.
The value of repeating a challenging workout on the same plan cycle is immense. The comparison, at least in RPE, is invaluable.
I could go technical and compare in detail how the two repetitions of A Very Dark Place differ.
I did that for The Shovel here: https://suffer.tavor.io/2019/10/mining-courage.html
The bottom line is that this time, as was the ISLT…

Off the MAP

Image
End of Week 7

In 34 days, I'll wave to you all from the peak of Mt. Sufferlandria. You won't see me, of course, as looking up towards the summit is a sure way to burn your eyes blind with the falling lava snow.

I'm heading into a rest week now, having finished another 3-week block of the Advanced Sufferfest Training Plan.

These past few days were rather enjoyable if you also consider fun to be constant fatigue, sore muscles, burning sensations, and pain as an unrelenting companion.

In dread of losing form and tolerance during the rest week, I'm adding a spoonful of this stuff to every glass of water:



Tangy, but a Sufferlandrian delicacy on par with Real-Pagne.

This past week, as you may recall, crept upon the heels of ISLTA and some strength work.
It then continued with "14 Vice Grips" - a VO2Max session of 14 intervals ranging from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. These get progressively longer, then shorter in two sets of seven intervals:


The power target is the sa…

Surprise. Surprise.

Image
Week 7
I may never discover what Salted Watermelon tastes like.

As I soak in this glorious Rest Day (that still includes a recovery spin, Yoga, and MTP), I have time to reflect on the past couple of days.

On Monday, I rode "Who Dares."

Now, whenever I see an "FTP" focused workout, I tend to relax.
Why? because I find it relatively easy to settle into a rhythm and push on. No workout is going to have me sitting at FTP for an extended period (shut up FF), and a session that's an hour-long, well, can't be that punishing with FTP focus, right?
Wrong.

"Who Dares" is basically 3x 9.5minute sets of:
Sprint > subFTP > Sprint > Grind > Surge >Sprint > Rest
The idea is to teach your body to be more efficient at recovery under pressure and clear away metabolites faster.
The sprints flood the body with metabolites (lactic acid and its buddies). The following sub-FTP efforts force the body to clear them out while still pushing hard. The chang…

Mining Courage

Image
Week 6.

They say that Fear arises from uncertainty.
From the Unknown growing dark in your mind.
Akin to inexperience: undergoing a new adventure without preparation, doubt breathing heavily down your neck.

Courage, on the other hand, would then be risk-taking?
Nay.
Courage is action in spite of Fear.
And Courage can be mined if your shovel can take the beating.



As for Fear, though, I do have my objections.

It was back in July, before starting the structured Sufferfest training plan, that I rode The Shovel.
It was the first Sufferfest video I played in several years, back since when the SUF videos were in Strava (only 90's kids will remember).

Now before diving into the gory details, let's just say that The Shovel is simply two sets of 23 intervals (5sec to 1min) with inverse ratios.
In other words, the harder the interval, the longer the rest and vice-versa, taking a minute in total.
For example, 10sec all-out sprint, 50sec rest; 50sec FTP, 10sec rest, etc.

For those graphicall…

Ritual de lo habitual

Image
It's 9:30 PM on a Tuesday. Finally, kids are asleep or silent, dreading the eerie vacancy of Flogging Station #7 that may be instantly occupied should a whimper be heard.
I'm exhausted - mentally more than physically. It's been a long day of working on small irritating tasks followed by keeping three kids off each other's throats. There's nothing I'd like to do now more than to fold away somewhere and fade out for a good night's sleep. In years past, I had other hobbies that took the edge off, usually resulting in finding myself at 2 AM, red-eyed, and hungry staring at the open fridge. Long gone are those days, never to return, as if lived by a different man.
Nonetheless, I need a hit.
Most people, when faced with a 2-hour Z2 ride at this moment, would find the first logical thing that comes to mind and adopt it as an excuse. "It's too late." "I'm too tired." "I'll do it tomorrow." "I worked hard enough today." "…

Easy days.

Image
Week 5 (end of).

The Sufferfest training week has me riding the longer sessions on the last two days before the rest day.
For me, this these are Monday and Tuesday, as my rest day is on Wednesday.
(Why? because that's when the cleaner comes and I can't ride and take a shower like a normal Sufferlandrian who has the house to himself.)
Luckily, this first week of the second training month is pretty relaxed.

Three days ago was all about strength with a Yoga session, Strength Training, and then some cadence builds and holds. So neuromuscular training at its best. I use the Halo Neuroscience Headset to neuroprime before these sessions. It seems to help with learning moves and maintaining form, but also I find it reduces RPE. So you're able to perform at very high intensity, yet it's somehow more tolerable. I will try to articulate it better on a later post.

Yesterday (Mon) was "To Get To The Other Side" - a leisurely Tempo ride with The Col Collective's Mike C…

Faaaaavorite

Image
Week 5.

I open my eyes.
It's already light outside, must be late.
My smallest son is next to me in bed - he usually comes over at around 6 am if he doesn't wake up to do so at about 2 am.

It's Saturday, so no rush. No need to initiate the coffee ritual with the usual urgency and mayhem of kids getting ready for school and kinder. A drowsy affair of sorts on most weekdays and even more so today.
I shift my attention and scan from the feet up.
Ah, sore muscles. My faaaaaaavorite.



I smile.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is my friend. My joy.
It means something's working.
This is new. This time it's different, I can tell.
No other training plan, at least in the last couple of years, had me enjoying this pain regularly.
Of course, whenever I hit the weights with a hard session of an hour or more, working to Failure on exercises, I'd soak in sweet DOMS the following days.
But here, with the SUF plan, the Strength sessions are less than half an hour and are only bodywe…

I Will Comply

Image
Week 5

When I first started with The Sufferfest Training Plan, I had to pay attention to planning the upcoming weeks carefully.
Going from Xert, which is "dynamic," meaning you can find the right workout for your goal on any given day, SUF Plans are pre-fixed.

Let's dwell on that for a moment:
Pre-fixed training plans are a "given." You get the workout schedule for the next ~12 weeks and follow it.
Sick child? Holiday? Business trip? Tough luck.
Yes, life always gets in the way, but you more or less have to make up for missed sessions somehow.
The Sufferfest makes it easy to figure out what to do in such a case: https://thesufferfest.com/blogs/training-resources/skip-a-workout-dont-panic.
But as a whole, you're committed and inflexible.
It's the same with training plans on Zwift and Today's Plan.
Zwift will give you a short window to complete workouts, but if you miss the train, you're in trouble.

Dynamic/Flexible training plans (a la Xert) are…