Stop Worrying About Just The Metrics

We have been doing these Power File Analyses (PFA) for tons of possible new athletes, and even athletes that are just looking for a second set of eyes on their training. If you have any doubts about your training, feel free to contact us and we will take a look at everything you’ve been doing, and see if it lines up with your season’s biggest goals.

In one of the next blogs, we’ll be specifically reviewing what we are looking for in these PFA’s.

This past athlete’s email brought a few important bullet points to mind, so we wanted to highlight them in this blog.

Update: so many comments from athletes have been about CTL lately that if you read one thing, read the bolded portion below.

  • Have concrete goals. 

  • Understand rest. 

  • Stop obsessing over metrics that don’t achieve your goals. 

  • You are not your FTP

  • INTENSITY won’t do diddly for you if you don’t have the endurance to match.

Have Concrete Cycling Goals

So many athletes list one or two of their top three goals as metrics, like increase my FTP to 300W, or Increase Anaerobic Repeatability.

While these are great things to achieve, take it one step further by asking yourself “Why?”

Is there a big event coming up? Is there a group ride that you want to complete and you always get dropped in the same section? Do you have a certain QOM in your city that you are DYING to be Queen of?

Whatever it is, there’s usually an endpoint that goes much further than what the metric is, and oftentimes the goal needs a multifaceted approach; not just an FTP bump.

Set goals that are reachable, but also a reach! Don’t aim for just 20W, but go for a 40W gain AND beat the guy who crushed you on the local townline sprint each week.

Rest Weeks Are When You Get Stronger

I know, I’m hammering this point home, again.

Ask any new athlete that works with me, and I would bet they are amazed at how much rest I require them to take after a solid three week block. 

Initially, they hate it. Then, they crush Lifetime Personal Bests and realize that in all their years of training, they haven’t rested enough.

There is so much high intensity being prescribed these days, and while it is 100% necessary, we need to make the hard extremely hard, and then recover.

When you bike, or train, you are breaking the body down. This is the stress on the system. You do not get faster until you rest, recover, and come back stronger.

Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 06.53.27.png

The image above is from Strength Running and shows how supercompensation takes place: the body is stressed and fatigued from the training stimulus, you rest and recover from the new stresses and then come back with a higher performance.

Use the rest week to:

  • Attack Your Life’s To Do List 

  • Spend more time with your family

  • Spend time on other hobbies

  • Get a mental reset from having to train almost daily

  • Get stronger!

Chill Out With CTL Worries

90% of athletes see their CTL going down and assume they are losing fitness.

Yes, CTL is defined as your fitness, but most athletes are forgetting that there is fatigue in this equation.

Form = Fitness - Freshness

Form = CTL - TBS

You may have a really high Fitness, but if you’ve been driving that number upwards, you are not going to be fresh. So your Form, or measure of performance, will be lower than if you had a lower Fitness number and we’re fresher (from a rest week).

Check out this article that dives deeper into why obsessing over just CTL, just one metric, can create disaster in your season.

Too Much Intensity

There is a big push for high intensity over the past 3-4 years.

Why is this the trend?

  • Many time crunched athletes now ride inside; what is tolerable while indoors? High intensity. No one likes riding zone 2 while staring at a screen of Zwift or a movie

  • Short term gains. High intensity helps push out your VO2Max ceiling, making room for some new power highs that the athlete hasn’t seen before. These gains are usually short term, as after the athlete gets burnt out from the repeated high intensity, they need a break and lose their form because if you don’t use it, you lose it

  • HIIT: high intensity interval training received a lot of attention and if one session is good, four is better; right?

  • You feel like you worked out. We like the immediate feedback of: “I’m tired; this workout must have made me stronger.” Unfortunately, in endurance sports, that relationship is not true. I can make myself very tired, but not get faster at all; just tired.

  • Everyone is talking about FTP. It’s how we (incorrectly) compare ourselves to one another. Hammer lots of high intensity and sweet spot and your FTP will go up; you’ll also crack without the proper rest. This may not be taking you towards YOUR goals.

Dose the intensity at the right times, and use the endurance rides to build your aerobic engine and basic endurance. Having the capability to perform high intensity intervals in a one hour indoor session will not provide you with the ability to unleash those watts in a 3 hour group ride at the end when it really matters. Said differently, if you can’t make it to the end, or really hard part of the ride, because you lack endurance, the gains from the big high intensity workouts won’t ever be showcased! You’ll be dropped before the big climb, townline sprint, or whatever you’re racing for.

What’s a way to build up your endurance? Pedal Zone 2-3 on the weekend!  

No coasting: another way to build that endurance!

This extremely easy to follow workout won’t leave you feeling like you have intervals to do on the weekend, but it will give you a MASSIVE boost of endurance capabilities. National Champions at the collegiate and masters level have sung praises to this basic caveat to their weekend riding.

It’s not easy at first, and don’t be surprised if you’re spending 30% of your ride in zone 1. Once you realize how much time is being wasted, you’ll want to whip your group into shape and pedal that bike.

Thanks for reading and let us know if you’ve taken a step back away from the metrics to actually get faster.

Prefer video? We posted this one a while back.

Brendan HouslerComment