Eat This.

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:
The bottom line is that this time, as was the ISLTA repeat and The Shovel repeat, it was easier.
A lot has to do with the physical strength, of course, but on a conscious level, the MTP Focus exercises and work on form and technique that help immensely.
During this session, I had laser-beam (Goat-like) focus on the cadence. Nothing else. As each interval started, I blocked the world out and saw only two (sometimes three) digits. I didn't look at the power target, I didn't check how many seconds had passed or how long remains. Nothing but the cadence. Positive self-talk and focus played a more significant part than any other element.

I'm getting stronger, faster, tougher.

A Very Dark Place, only this time with a flashlight.

I had experienced this sensation many times.
One time last year, during the second Build phase of one of Zwift's training plans (Build Me Up), I remember thinking to myself:
"this is getting easy...time for a new FTP test"...
(BAH, FTP. Never again. Well not on its own, anyway).
And indeed, the following test was +30W better.
Other times on group rides (that outdoor stuff we all used to do once), I recall the joy of restraining myself, dropping off the back without anyone noticing so I can hammer it for a few seconds and close my self-inflicted gap.
You likely know... when you are full of explosive energy, but keep the lid on.

I'm curious to see what the next 4DP test will bring out of me. In a previous post, I talked a little about how I suspect that there will be a bit of a seesaw effect as one Dimension gets stronger on account of another, as subsequent training plans slowly balance things out. We shall see!

In other news, the rest week was ok, thanks for asking.
I started it with a stuffy nose and sore throat, so the timing was perfect for taking it easy and recovering for the beginning of this block.
Lots of Endurance and Recovery-oriented Yoga and MTP.

My focus was and is on nutrition, though.
If there's one thing that will make The Sufferfest perfect and really "everything you need in one app," it's nutrition plans (because you already got GCN real-time rides!)
Yes, there's this wonderful guide:
But I want it integrated with the plan, at least on the Macronutrient level.
Meanwhile, I've reinstalled MyFitnessPal, which I had used for years to track every single thing I ate. When I stopped using it, I had a streak of over 700 days. This was back when I went Paleo + Keto + all those other inconveniences.
Maybe I'll dive into that topic some other time, but let's just say that for at least two years, I kept eating clean, real food (Paleo) and maintained Carbs at less than 25g a day (Keto). I trained throughout and had no problem to go on ridiculously long rides (100-200km) with nothing but water.
As long as the pace was "comfortable," I could go on forever. There's something very liberating about not having to worry about food on rides; however, there are two main problems:

  1. Fast rides: anything that wasn't "endurance" was very draining. So if a group ride turned nasty, which they all do, then I had trouble with the pace towards the end of the ride. Not bonking, that's near impossible with Keto, but just short on explosive power, with longer recoveries from efforts.
  2. "Comfortable" = The Laser Goats Are Going To Get You.

For now though, as my monthly goals are about losing weight to get to A Cat (I'm 67 kg now, but will be 65kg when I climb the peak of Mt. Sufferlandria!), I'm back to tracking intake as I could improve that aspect of my overall training regime.
Tracking with MyFitnessPal helps me get the right amount of protein I need to build and recover while fueling up with carbs for the longer rides. Based on The Sufferfest nutrition guide, I set goals in the tracking app to match the average requirements for a rider of my weight and activity level.
So I'm making progress with a little less guesswork these days, but ideally, this should be part of the plan.

As for the rest of this week, the forecast is fair. Not too difficult as it seems, mostly strength work with technique.
We have "The Downward Spiral," which, on paper, seems like 1:1 work/rest MAP intervals, so that should be a breeze if the cadence targets aren't too high (please?!).
Then some easy endurance and on Tuesday "Revolver" followed immediately by "Half is Easy." This will be fun!
Revolver is, if I recall, 1 minute On then 1 minute Off, and I had no problem doing it last time (hooray Repeated Effort Strength!), and "Half is Easy" looks like a condensed version with higher targets but shorter durations.

So I'm getting that "final stretch" feeling which on the one hand excites me, but on the other turns my stomach with the dread of what's to come.