I´m gonna post early this week. Up ahead lie the Easter holidays and we’ll be visiting the grandmas with our daughter. She just started to walk. She just did it, it happened so fast! About a week between stumbling two steps into daddy’s arm to walking on her own. Crazy.
But you are not here for daddy stories and neither am I, so here comes the triathlon. The week so far went okay. I can feel the fatigue mounting and am very much looking forward to my upcoming recovery week. I was never able to identify this feeling before and it seems like following a properly structured plan makes the difference now. I am completing most of my prescribed workouts. Occasionally I skip a swim and when I hit the pool my sessions are usually shorter then prescribed. The second reason why my weekly volume is significantly lower than prescribed is that I am still following a sweet spot base plan and have yet to do a long ride outdoors. Instead of 3 or 4 hour rides I sit on the trainer for 90 – 120 minutes at much higher intensity. The TSS per week are in the same ballpark, so I am not really concerned by this.
Thursday was sweet spot day and my plan suggested a trainer workout with 4*10 min right at FTP. Boy was it hard, particularly because my nutrition wasn´t spot on. Going into the workout I was short on sugar. Nothing to serious in terms of overall energy, but I couldn’t follow through with my first two intervals and chickened out after 8 minutes. Then I took a gel and it made all the difference. Surely those few calories did not have a major impact in my legs. But what it did, I believe, were two things: It was a mental crutch to help me keeping on suffering. And it gave me more willpower, it fueled my grit machine. I remember reading about studies on ego depletion and how experimenters could show that willpower is directly correlated to our bloodsugar level. In short, it takes actual physical energy in the form of short chained carbs (sugar) to uphold „willpower“. And intervals on the trainer are probably the best example of this. You have to be tough and suffer, particularly in the medium length FTP sized intervals. There is no question that (if FTP has been assessed correctly) you can do 4*10 min pretty much anytime. But it hurts and sucks and takes a lot of mental focus and determination to suffer through these. Running low on sugar means that your brain lacks the fuel to will your way though these fuckers, even if your legs and lungs can take it. So what´s the message? Have a gel or something sugary handy for these tough sessions. Not necessarily to fuel your workout, but to give your brain the ink it needs to do its job and push your body through.
That was during the workout. But what after you’re done beating yourself up? Currently my favourite post workout meal is lifted directly from a random hipster café in London Shoreditch. Whole grain bread, two slices. A ripe Avocado, diced and squashes, mixed with juice of 1/2 lime and a few chopped pickled Jalapenos and some salt and olive oil. A ball of fresh Italian Mozarella cheese, shredded across the plate. Topped with a fried free range egg sunny side up (I prefer a poached egg, but my wife doesn’t prefer the mess I make making it). Garnish with a generous dash of Tabasco. Enjoy the awesomeness.