This spring I’ve gotten a new job, and starting about 8 weeks ago, a new schedule at work. It takes me a while to get used to a new schedule and now that I’ve had a full rotation of shifts at work, I feel like I’ve gotten a better handle on how well I recover after a 48 hours shift.
I’ve been pushing the limits of what my body can handle so far this season. Last year it always felt like I was right on track, but this year I’ve felt behind, tired, slow, and slightly overweight. I can easily see from my records that I’ve been training less this year, but it has felt that it is the most I can do, both in terms of what my body and schedule will allow.
Last week I had a pretty promising result at the TT, and I was happy to have followed it up with a solid week of training. Prior to this week, it has felt like I can ride all day (3-4 hours) at a moderate pace, but as soon as I start to really up the intensity I would fatigue pretty quickly. I’ve had a very gradual build up this year, and haven’t had much intensity until I started racing last month.
The base period of training consists of mostly long hours at a moderate pace. Towards the end of the base period I incorporated tempo intensity, but was interrupted by my episode of knee pain. This month I moved on to the build period, which has lower hours and increased intensity.
This week I rode hills at threshold, a training crit, and then a long, hard ride with 30 minutes threshold up Magnolia with low rpms (average of 70), and then 60 minutes of tempo up Sugarloaf and Flagstaff. I was glad to see that I could handle the volume and intensity better than I expected.
I’m at work now, so I can’t race at all this weekend. I’m hoping to race Deer Trail next Sunday, but I get off shift at 7am the morning of the race, so there is a chance it won’t come together on race day. I’m not looking at this in too much of a negative light, however.
During the bulk of racing last season, I felt like I was a little flat. My fitness was exceptional and I had quite a few podium finishes, but I never won a race. Last year I raced nearly every weekend, and was almost always looking to the weekend’s race when planning my workouts and predicted fatigue levels. This season I’ll have weeks where I’m not racing (like this week) and can focus on quality workouts.
I’m excited to see where this season takes me. I haven’t seen the results I had last year, but there is still plenty of time left. For better or worse, I’ve seen so far that hours matter. Last year I was able to ride more, and it payed off on race day. Of course some racers are more naturally gifted than others, but I believe that anyone can race at a high level if they are able to put in the work required.