I came off the CT camp mentally drained. There was a lot going on besides just the camp. I took Monday and Tuesday fully off, feeling like I was on the edge. Turns out I was as I'm nursing my second cold of the year. It's my own fault - I slept maybe 4 or 5 hours per night at camp, and then last week getting back into things and having a busy work week, I slept only 4 or 5 hrs per night each night. This is my killer - lack of sleep. OK, it wasn't just work I must confess - Lisa kept me up late one night watching the 2 hr finales of 24 and Lost.
Anyway, before I got sick, I went out on Wednesday to ride a benchmark ride. This is a ride that I typically do once per month to see where I'm at. I look at my time, avg HR, and avg watts for the 40 mile course that goes up through Bethel and around the reservoir in Redding, down into Wilto and back. My best time ever on this course was 1 hour 48 minutes. This course is a tough one. It doesn't have any killer climbs, but it rolls constantly and has enough to really deaden your avg speed. Back to last Wednesday. I set out not intending to do a test, but instead to do a few longer intervals. I headed up Hattertown road and could feel the camp fatigue in my legs, but I was still holding a high wattage and a good pace. I decided to try and hold this for 1 hr at this HR which works out to be my mid C zone. Well, one hour in, I felt great and kept going. I hit the 40 mle finish point in 1 hour 43 minutes! My avg watts were way up especially considering my lower HR.
I was thinking about why I had such a good ride. This year, I committed to keeping the ball rolling forward with momentum. It's a simple analogy, but think about the beginning of the season when you first begin your serious training towards your A goal. This is when you first start the ball rolling. The goal is to build momentum, so as that when you approach your A race, you are peaking. The problem is that in the past, I'd do things to either slow the ball down, or stop it all together. Things like training too hard through illness, training too hard on consecutive days, not absorbing my training, not paying attention to my nutrition, ... You get the picture. This year, thus far, I've been getting smarter. I've taken more days off, yet feel stronger in general. I'm not a slave to my exercise log. I still aim for a very consistent routine, but I'm very honest with myself when assessing whether I need extra rest or not.
Of course, I am writing this as I sit here full of congestion. Remember, I mentioned I was getting smarter. "Getting" being the key word. I've always said I am a much better coach than I am an athlete.