This has been week two following the British Cycling 8 week pre-season training plan.
In a Nutshell
It has been a week of snow and ice which has made cycling tricky. Still, I completed three turbo sessions, including the ‘bonus’ Saturday session. The icy conditions meant no getting out on the road on Sunday but this was maybe to my advantage as I managed a real day of rest.
Monday morning dawned and I was not feeling inspired. I was feeling tired. Really tired. I was pretty sure that my legs had doubled in weight over night and that I was lacking at least 12 hours sleep. This was a bit worrying as neither of the children have been up in the night recently.
Still, Monday is rest day in the plan.
Except that I still needed to take the eldest to school, the youngest to the shops then home, then the youngest to nursery, then me home, then back to school to collect them both and then all of us back home again. On a cargo bike.
Thank goodness for e-assist.
A couple of months ago I finally upgraded to an e-assist cargo bike. I love my old bakfiets but my knees were seriously struggling to cope with the weight of it with the children now 5 and a half and three and a half. The amount of assist can be set on it between 0 (do all the work yourself) to 8 (getting pushed along the street). Normally I keep it on 2 (like a gentle tailwind) and boost it up on the hilly bits. Today, I set it on 8 and left it on 8. Actually this was probably fairly good for recovery. I didn’t sit still all day, but I didn’t really put any pressure on the pedals either. By the end of the day I had cycled 17 miles but put in very little effort.
Wednesday and Friday are cross training days on the plan. I don’t have time for cross training so on those days I keep the power low on the e-assist and transport is my cross training.
“It Doesn’t Sound That Tough”
Those were my parting words to my husband as I headed to the turbo on Tuesday night. The session was threshold over / unders.
On paper this was only 10 minute sets with alternate minutes of 90% then 110% threshold power. Only 10 minutes. Ok, so I had to do this 4 times over. But it was only 10 minutes at a time.
10 minutes has never felt so long.
This was a really tough session. The instructions were a bit ambiguous as to whether I was meant to do 4 or 5 sets of 10 minutes. I decided it was supposed to be 4 because the time for the total session didn’t add up otherwise. Also because there was no way that I was going to manage another set by the time I had done 4.
I completed the session and was pretty pleased with that. But the full session was an hour and a half. The problem with this is that I don’t get out to start until around 8pm. By the time I was finished and showered it was 10pm. 10pm is bedtime. Except I can’t go to bed straight after a training session, I am too awake. So after these sessions it is closer to midnight before I get to bed. The trouble with that is that the day starts in our house at 6:30am when the little one wakes up. And when the little one wakes up, everybody gets woken up. Loudly! Lack of sleep is not the best for recovery and I am finding it harder than normal to get up in the mornings. That said, I have never really been a morning person.
Oh No, Not Again!
Thursday came around and I looked up the turbo session for the evening. To my dismay it was more threshold over / unders. The difference in this session was that it was to include ‘surges‘. So the same power zones as Tuesday with slightly different timing and the addition of a 20 second maximal sprint every 2 minutes.
Suffice to say that 20 seconds can also sometimes feel like a very long time!
Still there were only three sets of ten minutes this time and the session was shorter overall than on Tuesday. Session completed.
To Train or Not To Train
As I said last week, the Saturday sessions on the plan are deemed ‘optional’. However, I am aiming to complete them as I am not going to manage many of the Sunday long rides which are not meant to be optional.
I spent most of the day on Saturday out with the family trying to convince myself that I didn’t really have to turbo when we got home. After all, the sessions are optional and I was feeling pretty tired. I am not great with ‘optional’. It sparks off a lengthy debate between the version of myself who loves to stick to a plan and the version of myself who is really just a bit lazy. The will I / won’t I debate can rage on all day. The trouble, especially with weekend sessions, is that once I have talked myself out of it and skipped the session, I can’t then change my mind. There are no more days in which to add that session back in. This is just a bit final for me.
The ‘stick to the plan’ me won out in the end and off I went to the garage. The session was VO2 efforts, the same as last Saturday.
In the week since I last did this session, it had not got any easier.
Again, I hit power zone 5 which I was aiming for during the intervals, but my heart rate never made it as high as zone 5. Again, I do not think I could have gone any harder to try and raise my heart rate. As it was I was struggling to maintain the power at the end of the intervals. I am wondering if this is just how my heart rate is. I have a pretty low resting heart rate anyway (not unusual amongst those who are fit and active) so maybe my heart just doesn’t really like big numbers.
After the session I had legs like jelly. This was also the first time I have really wanted to head straight for a nap after a session. Nap I did not. Instead I read stories and helped put two children to bed.
Sunday: a Day of Rest?
Sunday started much as the rest of the week did – with snow and ice. There was no way I was going to get out on the road safely today.
I was also feeling pretty tired after yesterday’s session. My lovely husband very kindly let me stay in bed when the children got up so I got to sleep until 9am which was wonderful. Still tired though.
I also had a look at next week and realised that I was not going to be able to turbo next Thursday because of family and haircut commitments. Friday night is date night, not a training night, and I don’t like to do tough turbo sessions two nights in a row. That means I am going to have to turbo next Monday and Wednesday instead.
That means Sunday was going to have to be a rest day.
I missed getting out on the road but the day has probably done me good. It has been a rest day which really was a rest day. Other than an impromptu core session as I strung fairy lights in a ‘reading den’ I have not been on a bike at all. For me, this is very rare!