Monday, November 13, 2006

Recovery Week

The 12 week training plan I am following is split up in 3 week blocks. First you do three really hard weeks. Then you get one week to rest and recover. Next you perform two more three week build one week rest cycles to complete the plan.

At the beginning of the 12 weeks and at the end of every rest week, you perform a 20 minute time trial to estimate your functional threshold power (geek speak for see how fast you are). The idea is to test yourself at the beginning to see where you stand. Then after each three week build you want to test yourself again to see how you improved. The reason you test yourself at the end of the rest week is to make sure you are not tired while you are testing.

Today I started my first rest week, and my test is coming up Saturday. I hope to see some improvement from the test I did three weeks ago. I feel like I have worked really hard. I did my best to follow the workouts in my plan exactly as they are described.

However I did blow off one workout. Mentally I just couldn't force myself to do it that day. The workout I missed was a pedaling drills workout. I don't think that particular workout would have made or broke my training goals so I still feel good about the work I did.

One good thing about my power meter purchase is that I will know for sure if I have improved. For the test I did three weeks ago, I calculated 230 Watts as my threshold power. Seeing how I weigh 75 kg that is really not a very big number. Looking at the cyclingpeaks power profile, it looks like I am either a pretty good Cat 5 or a really poor Cat 4.

The Cat numbers are really road racer categories. Cat 5: Beginner, Cat 4: Novice, Cat 3: Sport, Cat 2: Expert, Cat 1: Elite. Above the Cat 1 category are domestic professionals and above those are World Class Professionals (think Lance and all those guys that routinely lose to Lance).

I never plan to race road, but I would like to be able to finish a 100 mile off road race in a reasonable amount of time. I compared my time at ORAMM to another rider's time that has raced both ORAMM and the Cohutta 100, and I think it will take me a little over 12 hours to complete the Cohutta 100. I want to shave an hour off this time. A time of 11 hours and change would at least get me listed on the results page of last year's race. :)

Anyways I will retest myself Saturday and compare my numbers. I know that even the tiniest bit of improvement will really help motivate me. If I don't improve or get worse, I think that will be good to know as well. Last year it sucked not knowing if all that hard work was helping. At least now I will know before the race that I really need to step it up.

I am starting to think a lot of this training process is mental. If I really want to I can move my pain threshold and get better. If I start feeling sorry for myself and feeling like I am working too hard as it is then I may never get better.

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