FAQ ~ Satisfying Failures
Paul Le Bihan ~ riding to the edge (and
Ramp Test to failure ~ they hurt
I just can't seem to get the pacing right on your
sessions. Just as I get the hang of it, it changes to
Probably everyone that's ever taken a programme!
Not really a frequently asked question, more a frequently used statement. And, as always, there is a perfectly sensible explanation.
All our sessions are set up to make you almost fail, but in a good way! That's because the start of your future success lies at the edge of your current failure. Keep this thought in mind when the going gets tough...
Our Green Weeks are for "exploration"; a rider will usually over (they very rarely under) estimate the effort required for any given interval.
This is good, this is part of the learning process for you, your body and your pacing judgement. If it isn't perfect, it's not a problem. That's the way it is meant to be.
The Amber Weeks give you a chance to "dial it in," to help you get closer to your desired/expected performance.
You have the information from the green week session about what was, or was not, the optimal operating range; be it heart rate, power or kph.
I always say ignore the numbers, but that's from a performance setting perspective, not a performance analysing perspective.
The amber week gives you a chance to use the learning experience from the previous green week, develop from it and adjust your subsequent performance accordingly.
Having adjusted your starting effort up or down according to your judgment; the overriding caveat is, ride the session to the best of your ability. That's all you have to do; just get to the end.
At the end of the amber week, you will have further, more precise data, on which to make future judgement calls and best plan your Red Week. But the problem with a red week, is that fatigue begins to kick in and the ability to hold the big numbers becomes compromised.
The session might "look neater" in the analysis software, but the wattage and speed may be down, and the heart rate might be up. Which, again, is another reason we don't allow ourselves to be driven by numbers. Do the best you can, that is all we can ask of ourselves.
Finally, we come to the Grey Week. Most people call this the "recovery week" but it's proper name, and purpose, is to be an "adaptation week". This is the week that brings it all together. We drop volume and maintain intensity. You'll still feel fatigued, but you now suffer for less time.
This is a crucial part of your development, do not fudge this period. Recovery is training. You don't get stronger when you smash yourself, you get stronger when your body has repaired and rebuilt itself. For that it needs rest and recovery.
Normally, in the grey week, the (power/speed) numbers are slightly down and the heart rate and perception are up. But the grey week has a knack for smoothing out power profiles on the ride data.
They aren't usually the best results, but they are the "smartest" and the most indicative of what is the ballpark effort for whatever timespan is being measured. At last, we've got the hang of it.
Now we've sussed it, we move on to something else! Don't want to become complacent do we?
Now we go to a different session, giving a different physiological adaptation and, once again, put ourselves out of our comfort zone. The whole, "am I doing this right" green week scenario begins all over again.
Do the right things, in the right order, at the right intensity and you dramatically increase your chances of standing on the top step...
Jay Chisnall ~ first
non-German to win 24 hour Rad Am Ring
To sum up. You will always be at the edge of your comfort zone for all of our sessions and there will be times when you will fail to finish or believe you have underperformed. You haven't, you've just overestimated!
Many take this as a bad sign, it is, in fact, perfect! You have learnt a valuable lesson; it's what you do with the information gleaned that determines if it's a failure, or a success.
If you repeat the performance for the following session, then it's been a failure. If you use the knowledge you now have, to adapt your following performance and (just) complete the session, then the whole exercise has been a raging success.
You can now go on to be a fitter, faster, stronger rider.