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Showing posts from October, 2019

Surprise. Surprise.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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…

Guess who's back?

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As the burning haze engulfed me, blurring my vision and scorching my lungs, I recalled the mystical counterspell: "You. Can. Do. This."

It was still more than forty-five minutes to the end of the session, and my inner thighs began to cramp up.
I don't remember if this was on Mt. Sufferlandria, Mt. apocalypse, or some other Col du-know, but I hurt, and I had to keep going.
I knew that with these cramps - pure physical pain, almost mechanical, like someone or something literally and visibly pulling ligaments and muscle - I had to go on.

To Stop is to Die.

No soft-pedaling, no taking-it-easy.
Just keep pushing.

1:52:34 elapsed... cramps are gone, but they'll be back, I know they will.

It Seemed Like Thin Air is a Sufferfest video that has "tempo" climbs at various lengths.
The shortest is 8 minutes, the longest is, um, 40 minutes.
Now "tempo" is a relative thing. Yes, it can be constrained in Power Zones or HR zones, but when you're fighting it…

Drill Me.

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Week 3.

It's rather odd to have DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) after so many years on the bike, but I always embrace it with joy.
DOMS means something is working.
Pain, as I've learned, is one of the best indicators:
It will let you know that you need to make a change.
It will alert you to something new or odd.
Pain will guide you and provide limits, borders, and frames.
Steering way clear of any cliches, but you know the one.

For example, foot pain in the form of plantar fasciitis will let you know that you need to work on your gait, flexibility, and foot strength.
Pain in your back will force you do work on your core strength, posture, and balance.
And the sweetest of all, muscle pain from good old hard work and suffering tells the tale of growth and gainz ;)
So yeah, I ❤ DOMS.

Yesterday was a day focused on pure power.
The drill on the bike is called "standing starts" and, as the name suggests, means sprinting with a super-heavy gear from a standstill.
You only do 4 of t…

You. Can. Do. This.

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You. Can. Do. This.
The final words on the "Positive Self-Talk" MTP session (The Sufferfect Mental Training Program). It's not the first time I've completed this little exercise, and the value keeps coming back with interest. In this session, you'll learn about the types of self-talk: Motivational: "you can do this!"Instructional: "Keep spinning those legs at 100rpm."Reward: "You did it, you crazy SOaB."
And get some pointers on how to listen to your self-talk and direct it to the Positive, so the outcome is in your favor.
If you've ever pushed hard enough, you know it works.
A few months ago, I decided it was time to ride the Uber pretzel on Zwift.  I ventured outside the Torture Chamber and set up a mobile Pain Infliction Unit outside on my porch. T'was a lovely day, and I felt oddly positive. 4 hours later, and rather loudly, while shredding chamois up the Alpe du Zwift's +10% grades, audible to passersby were my chantings of: &…

Torture Chamber Set up

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A couple of days ago, we reviewed the first two weeks of the Journey.
Yesterday was a Rest Day flavored with some Yoga and the MTP session named "Relaxing to Recover."
It's rather enjoyable. About 20 minutes in which you flow through a contraction-relaxation routine from head to toe. Some background music adds a lot, and, if you are lucky enough to find 25 minutes of uninterrupted stillness (i.e., no kids screaming in the background that they don't want to take a shower, no SO on the phone, no doors opening and closing, no people coming in and out because your torture chamber also happens to be their playroom...etc) then it's wonderfully meditating.
Today is just a Strength session with a recovery spin — nothing to write home about.

So instead, let's paint the background picture with details of the torture chamber set up:

Trainer: Tacx Neo (1st. Gen) Smart as they get.
This trainer is by far the best thing I've spent money on this decade, except the bike,…

2 Week Recap

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This is no ordinary post. As you may learn, Couchlandrian Tendencies are a deadly omnipresent danger. We can fall prey to laziness, slackery, oh and donuts, with ease. So, as easy as it could have been to abandon a 0-view blog about my personal experience on the Quest, I have learned and applied mental strength. You see, The Sufferfest has you working on all fronts: cycling (duh), strength, maintenance (Yoga), and Mental.  The last Mental Training workout I completed had a drill about forming habits that support the Quest. Keeping the focus on the "Why." Using a simple set of daily reminders and actions creates consistency. For me, and you, the fruit of my actions, to support my Quest, is what you're reading now. So while this is just another post, it is the first post written with a purpose that paves the Journey.
Right, so what have you missed? Today I completed the first two weeks of the SUF training plan. To recap, my plan is: 12 weeks Advanced Cycling for cyclists with VO2 as a…