2 Week Recap
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 weakness
- 24 weeks of Advanced Strength training
- 12 weeks supporting Yoga
- 12 weeks of Mental Training Program (MTP)
(there's also an ongoing 30 day Yoga Challenge, ending in about a week, so I'm doubling up on the Yoga for now, which is no prob, fun actually).
Below, a daily recap. Future posts will be shorter as writing frequency will rise!
Week 1 - started officially on 9.18.19 (which is a Wed, I know, odd, but had to plan so Rest Day is when the cleaner is here and I need to pack up the Torture Chamber).
Day 1: like the first day on a new job, you are taken around and introduced to everyone. The #1 item was the MTP exercise on self-reflection and to set a goal. What is it that I want to achieve more than anything else?
Or as in the words of The Old Man From Scene 24:
"What is your quest?"
For me: Increase FTP to 300W, MAP 390W to by June 2020, reduce weight to 65, get back to 10% body fat.
My target is June 2020, so with that in mind, I plan to run through 3 full 12-week cycles of the SUF plan.
Strength and cadence builds.
Don't let the relative ease of the Strength training fool you - I had DOMS (which I LOVE!)
It was fun to do some drills - haven't done those in ages.
Day 3: a bit of Yoga (hamstrings are so tight!) and a style session with Carlton Kirby narrating... put me in Eurosport mood :)
I've been working on efficiency for years, but it's always great to get some new pointers and to have the "checklist" in my head stuck.
Day 4: the first "real" cycling workout, which is basically 40/20s intervals followed by just-under-threshold intervals. I recently did this workout (pre-plan), so I knew what I was heading into... that certainly helped.
MTP focused on the Goal Setting Habit - a method of setting a monthly goal, breaking it down to weekly goals, and setting a reward system.
My focus for the month is to eat less crap. I can easily snack away "healthy" nuts, fruit, etc during the day to account for several hundred calories. Enough of that if I want to reach Mt. Sufferlandria!
I'm also using The Sufferfest Nutrition Guide ("Plan to Eat to Suffer to Plan") and I'm out of Nails.
Day 5: Another strength session and a recovery spin. Phew.
Day 6: The nice thing about The Sufferfest video workouts is that with a click of a button, you reduce the intensity. It's like the PgUp/PgDn on Zwift, to change FTP. So when the plan has you doing "ISLAGIATT" (It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time) for nearly two hours but asks you do to it at 80% intensity - you know, you will live on. Today will not be the last day of the Journey.
At 80%, this is a relatively easy endurance ride. So thankful for that.
Some Yoga to mobilize and a short breathing exercise, accompanied by a steady drip of informative resources from the SUF library. So you're learning along the way as well.
Day 7: I don't want to talk about it ok? Look, it's not that bad, but 10 intervals of 90sec way above threshold, with 3min of upper Z2 in between, hurt. You're then treated to the "Extra Shot" which is a 20-minute workout to stick to the end of your previous one. I hazily recall that the high cadence was the biggest challenge, but I've put away those memories in a cold dark place for now.
Doing the Yoga after felt good, though.
Week 2! Ramping up.
Day 1: Positive thinking MTP, a bit of Yoga and a recovery spin. Yay.
Day 2: More Yoga, working on balance and agility, a Strength session and then... Cadence Builds and Holds.
Easy on paper, hurt a lot.
I can spin it up to ~180-190rpm these days. 20 years ago, I could hit 200 and more on occasion. Holds at around 130 for 1 minute are certainly a challenge, but easy enough to accomplish. So not a big punishment on the day, but I paid the price on:
Day 3: "Fight Club." Notoriously known for being messy, scrappy, and tough. Bike racing, you say? Aye. It's basically sitting at threshold and attacking non-stop.
I certainly felt yesterday's cadence drills in the legs today. Keeping 100rpm on most of the intervals today was the biggest challenge. It was also a surprise to discover how hard it is to attack from a low cadence of about 75 going to 90rpm. "Normally" I can pull this off with ease, today, far from it. Had Phil Gil for inspiration though, but reached Failure on the last attack.
Had difficulty walking afterward. No Joke.
Day 4: a welcome reduced intensity workout, so LTP, with some low cadence work. Yoga "hip openers" a joy.
Day 5: Strength, Yoga and, gulp, more cadence drills. These are fun, in a hamster-on-a-wheel-kind-of-way.
Today was a longer session including some single-leg work. This is a bit messy because my Tacx Neo, when single legging, shows half the cadence and the watts are also off. Not sure why that is, but I switched from ERG to Slope mode here to keep cadence at around 85rpm and watts at Threshold.
"Single-leg at threshold" you ask? 'fraid so.
Later that day, the MTP session was about the "why" - the reasons for undergoing this Quest, and how to remain persistent. This post, rather the commitment to writing it, is one of the results.
Day 6: 2-hour endurance? Can be done "outdoors"?! I'm outtahere!
Kids are on holiday, and the house is a mess. Gimme 2 hours to escape this mayhem and update my tan lines.
I sold both my SRM cranks earlier this year (costs too much to send them to Italy/Germany for a battery change) so no power meter on the bike, but keeping Z2 by feel is easy.
Day 7 (today): I rode "Blender." See that graph? The 1 hour is just a grind to exhaust. Then comes the fun part of the "pain shakes" - look, I'm actually pretty ok with such efforts. I'm an Attacker, remember? So big push, short recovery, big push - hurt, but manageable.
The time-trialing after was the though part - fighting away cramps and just looking at the RPM...RPM...RPM.... keep spinning! So that's done and dusted but had to take a short nap to be able to stand for the rest of the day. Yoga will come later in the evening and looking forward to tomorrow which marks Week 3 (REST DAY!!!).