There is only one way

I am leaving a strange period were training was some kind of a dull routine. I had lost some interest in the process. Covid is no stranger to that. After wandering in diverse stuffs where I lost myself, I decided to come back to some intensity in exercise and the best way for me to do this is on my turbo trainer like I described here.

For the last months I had the idea to work in my high endurance zone (aka zone 2) and also do some threshold work. I didn’t feel well in this kind of training and it didn’t work for me. Maybe it was not the right time for it, maybe I didn’t do enough of zone 2 (highly probable, since I only spent 2,25 hours per week in what I expect to be my HR zone 2 where maybe 4h would have been a better goal since I am more trained than the average recreational athlete with 8-10h of weekly training lately)

HR distribution from september 2020 to march 2021

So I pulled back the card of my beloved 4×8 min workouts. The goal is to do 2 workouts of this nature on the turbo per week. In the scientific literature, a group of athlete had good results training this way for 7 weeks. The goal was to produce the best effort they can during this 32 minutes of effort. Frankly this is a bit hard for me to aim for this, so I merely target 90% of my max heart rate during the intervals, and I can tell you it’s still hard. Good is good enough. I know myself : I can give it all for 2, 3, 4 workouts and then I will be buried in a big hole of fatigue. So I keep it cool and have a 7 week duration in mind. If I am stronger during the second part of the training, maybe I will ramp up a bit the intensity. (For Garmin fans, this kind of workout gives me a 3.8 – 4ish aerobic training effect)

This week I did two of these workouts and there is already one good point : it made me feel great 🙂 I balance things with light training and second cool effect is that it simplify things : besides this two workouts I have to go easy, no questions.

This quest of self coaching is a bumpy road. It’s sometimes fun and sometimes unpleasant. But it’s the way to rock n’ roll, getting lost is good way to learn your geography ! So let’s summarize some dead-ends for me.

You can find in this latest « sport thoughts » blog post some relations with my words here.

I acknowledge that endurance sport is of foremost importance to me. Knowing a bit more myself, I see that even if I dream of being a super long endurance athlete, I am more build for a pinch of intensity, if there was 2 hours cyclings events it would be a sport for me. Short climb power could be an asset for me for example, I might be more of a puncher than a rouleur. And to bloom in my sports I need a bit of intensity to maintain my machinery. I tended to get lost in the last 2 years looking to change this. I listened to too many podcasts and read to many stuff about the intrication between glycolytic capacity and « pure endurance » and at the end of the day it doesn’t seem good for me. Same with nutrition manipulation, I didn’t get too far on this but it was enjoyable to test some fasted training, I didn’t turn a special knob in myself doing this…

I really thinks that coaches who advocates for their strategy believed in it because they saw it working on athletes, but again, again and again : context is king and everyone is unique. Like in medicine ! Even if I understand better that we are biology tinkerer in medicine and that we have a lot of limits (hello Dunning-Kruger) I think that I gain from experience that I can recognise a patient who will benefit from a strategy that would suit less to another one. Same in sports, coaches training hundred of athletes might see faster the big picture than the athlete itself.

So here I am today, I don’t know what is THE best strategy for me but today, 4th of April 2021 I believe that :

  • having/building a good environment/relationships to express myself is important (and with covid loss we get aware of things missing like some camaraderie chit-chat at the pool etc.)
  • doing some endurance sports is good for my health even if I don’t find the magic formula to perform, it’s still good for my body. So time pumping some blood around is not lost
  • to pursue joy in sports I have to challenge myself with some « short » and high intensity… and balance this with super easy training, light for the joints and for the soul 🙂
  • I can get lost in trying to self coach myself, and apply concept like periodisation to me. It makes me laugh now. The control freak in me wanted to turn the right knobs at the right moment but things are so intricated that it’s better to just mix consistency and variety 😉


Une réponse sur « There is only one way »

Hi Rémi,
As always a pleasure to read your thoughts!
Even if I dedicated less time and efforts than you into this quest to find the perfect training scheme, I can still understand many of your comments… you re not alone in there mate !

As you tend to reach some wisdom state at the moment, I believe you are right, and that we must not forget the purpose of all this: we do it because we enjoy it, or at least we should. Performance and fitness are second to that imo.

Looking forward to those chit chats with you, possible on a 2hours ride as you seem to fancy now (but opened to longer 🙂 )

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