Sunday, November 29, 2015

Everyone has a bad workout

Picture this: You are just about to get on your bike to get started on a key workout. Today's session is meant to test your fitness. You've been logging more time on the bike, pushing yourself really hard and seen numbers in training that were higher than you've seen before. You had a few stressful days leading up to today and hard run yesterday, but you don't care. You want to rock this workout and prove to yourself that you are, in fact, stronger than before! It's all about perspective, anyway. A positive mindset will work, right?

So, you get on your bike, you warmup for 10 minutes still feeling pretty excited for the task ahead and the test set later on in the workout: 4 x 3 minutes at max power (with 2 minute recovery in between). Then you start getting into the workout and it's evident fairly early on that the legs are tired. Zone 1 feels like Zone 2, and Zone 2 feels like Zone 3. Your heart rate is elevated for the effort you are putting in. You brush it off, convincing yourself you are just not warmed up yet. Then the pre-set starts, which is some Zone 3 efforts meant to get you ready for the test set. It's very tough. This effort, meant to be sustained for 2 - 3 hours, is hard to maintain for 3 minutes. You think there might be something wrong with the power meter. So you recalibrate the trainer, you put more air in your tires, you adjust the resistance on the back wheel. Everything you can think of. You think positive thoughts, you try to tell yourself that it's mind over matter. Then you resume the workout. But nothing's changed. In fact, it just gets harder. Your heart rate is high, your legs feel like they are pushing through mud. Eventually, you accept the fact that today's just not your day. You cry. Months of hard training and finally a chance to test your fitness and you just don't have it in you. We've all been there.

That is when it's important to remember that training is not all about your performance on one day or in one test set. It's about accumulating consistent, hard training. It's about enjoying the good workouts and learning from the bad ones. Because every time you fail you learn something about this case it was what you can and cannot push through. And you move on, because a bad day today means that there is a good day coming up. And there will be another chance to test your fitness.

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