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How often do you train so hard you wish you were dead?

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How often do you train so hard you wish you were dead?

Old 03-03-17, 02:31 PM
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How often do you train so hard you wish you were dead?

This is a question I've been thinking about lately. I'm not talking about recovery days - but how often a workout is "excruciatingly painful please just kill me" vs "kinda hard, hit my zones, got the TSS, felt good"

I ask because I'm still trying to figure out what works best (and probably will be for another few decades).

A couple years ago I would do VO2 intervals as hard as I could every Tuesday, dreading each one. Then intervals Wednesday, then more on Thursday. rest 2 days a week. Long weekend rides would have at least one or 2 as hard as possible 20-30 minute climbs.

Last year I did fewer (and longer) days, but still tortured myself a couple times per week.

Now i'm thinking the opposite may be good - train to hit my zones but not flog myself during the week. Maybe a few close to all out efforts here and there but not as a regular thing. Save the real efforts for racing (which I do every week anyway). Or give myself a bit of torture 4 hours into a long weekend ride. My thought process is that I can still get improvement from a workout even if I could have done a few watts more, an extra interval, etc. And those real tough grit my teeth and try not to throw up at the end days might give me 5% more training effort but 20% more fatigue, so even a day off isn't enough to go hard again (regardless of what the PMC says).

What are your thoughts/habits?
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Old 03-03-17, 02:40 PM
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I train by my numbers. I do what I am told for the prescribed length. Usually, that is enough to leave me feeling pretty tired when I'm done.

In theory, if your numbers are right, and you are hitting them in training, you should be getting a solid workout in. If you're able to go well above and beyond your numbers regularly, it may be time to reassess your FTP.
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Old 03-03-17, 02:43 PM
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I'm sure everyone's different. but I find I perform poorly in a workout if I go into it with dread. I try to do VO2 and explosive strength type efforts only if I'm rested enough to be able to get myself psyched to get in there and attack the workout. If I spend the warmup thinking "oh god this is going to suck" it tends to suck. Also there is a resource cost to botching an intense workout, because in addition to not maximizing the workout goals and being demoralizing, it usually leaves you fatigued enough that you've paid the cost of the workout without getting the benefit -- you can't do a crappy VO2 day and go back the next day and crush the same workout.

Plus, there's the whole "this is supposed to be fun" thing, which is maybe a different topic.
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Old 03-03-17, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by globecanvas
I'm sure everyone's different. but I find I perform poorly in a workout if I go into it with dread. I try to do VO2 and explosive strength type efforts only if I'm rested enough to be able to get myself psyched to get in there and attack the workout. If I spend the warmup thinking "oh god this is going to suck" it tends to suck. Also there is a resource cost to botching an intense workout, because in addition to not maximizing the workout goals and being demoralizing, it usually leaves you fatigued enough that you've paid the cost of the workout without getting the benefit -- you can't do a crappy VO2 day and go back the next day and crush the same workout.

Plus, there's the whole "this is supposed to be fun" thing, which is maybe a different topic.
Yeah, slightly different topic, but related. Another reason I'm taking workouts a tad easier lately.

Originally Posted by topflightpro
I train by my numbers. I do what I am told for the prescribed length. Usually, that is enough to leave me feeling pretty tired when I'm done.

In theory, if your numbers are right, and you are hitting them in training, you should be getting a solid workout in. If you're able to go well above and beyond your numbers regularly, it may be time to reassess your FTP.
Well i guess if you aren't self-coached it's a slightly different story.

Not sure if I was clear - I'm not talking so easy it's not a good workout. Hard enough to get a good set of efforts in correctly set zones, just maybe not the tip top of the zone over and over until you go insane. Kinda like the argument I often hear for doing 2x20s at 90% instead of AS HARD AS POSSIBLE!!!!
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Old 03-03-17, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd
This is a question I've been thinking about lately. I'm not talking about recovery days - but how often a workout is "excruciatingly painful please just kill me" vs "kinda hard, hit my zones, got the TSS, felt good"

I ask because I'm still trying to figure out what works best (and probably will be for another few decades).

A couple years ago I would do VO2 intervals as hard as I could every Tuesday, dreading each one. Then intervals Wednesday, then more on Thursday. rest 2 days a week. Long weekend rides would have at least one or 2 as hard as possible 20-30 minute climbs.

Last year I did fewer (and longer) days, but still tortured myself a couple times per week.

Now i'm thinking the opposite may be good - train to hit my zones but not flog myself during the week. Maybe a few close to all out efforts here and there but not as a regular thing. Save the real efforts for racing (which I do every week anyway). Or give myself a bit of torture 4 hours into a long weekend ride. My thought process is that I can still get improvement from a workout even if I could have done a few watts more, an extra interval, etc. And those real tough grit my teeth and try not to throw up at the end days might give me 5% more training effort but 20% more fatigue, so even a day off isn't enough to go hard again (regardless of what the PMC says).

What are your thoughts/habits?
I'm not an expert but Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday intervals sounds like too much.
I prefer doing VO2 intervals on Tuesday, Monday easy & gym, Wednesday off Thursday Long Threshold 1(20+10) type and weekend 3-5 hr ride. This year i've done a couple 5.5 hr rides and I've noticed the VO2 intervals don't leave me feeling dead even though i get my HR to zone 4-5
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Old 03-03-17, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by globecanvas
I'm sure everyone's different. but I find I perform poorly in a workout if I go into it with dread. I try to do VO2 and explosive strength type efforts only if I'm rested enough to be able to get myself psyched to get in there and attack the workout. If I spend the warmup thinking "oh god this is going to suck" it tends to suck. Also there is a resource cost to botching an intense workout, because in addition to not maximizing the workout goals and being demoralizing, it usually leaves you fatigued enough that you've paid the cost of the workout without getting the benefit -- you can't do a crappy VO2 day and go back the next day and crush the same workout.

Plus, there's the whole "this is supposed to be fun" thing, which is maybe a different topic.
this sounds like my expeirence as well.
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Old 03-03-17, 03:32 PM
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in running i was taught that you should aim for a "B+/A- grade" when doing a workout, because if you "go to the well" too often to crush it then you end up getting injured/burning out etc. furthermore, track coaches often are really strict about not "racing" workouts. i think this attitude is more prevalent in running because its so much easier to hurt yourself than with cycling, but i definitely buy into it. better to do more workouts in a week slightly less intense then one too fast and suffer because of it.

there is a time and place of maxing out, IMO, and that is in a race. races are a form of training as well, so experience digging deep in the races will help you for when more important races come around.
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Old 03-03-17, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by TexMac
I'm not an expert but Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday intervals sounds like too much.
I prefer doing VO2 intervals on Tuesday, Monday easy & gym, Wednesday off Thursday Long Threshold 1(20+10) type and weekend 3-5 hr ride. This year i've done a couple 5.5 hr rides and I've noticed the VO2 intervals don't leave me feeling dead even though i get my HR to zone 4-5
So are you saying you aim for a B+ (as Scheibo says)? I could do VO2 intervals at 330 and technically be in zone 5, or I could do them at 370 and be in zone 5. I guess what I'm saying is I used to treat VO2 interval day as a "racing workout" as scheibo puts it. try and hit 370 over and over. Or at least get close. But if I just aim for 345-350 it's still in the zone and I don't hate life so much lol.

Originally Posted by scheibo
in running i was taught that you should aim for a "B+/A- grade" when doing a workout, because if you "go to the well" too often to crush it then you end up getting injured/burning out etc. furthermore, track coaches often are really strict about not "racing" workouts. i think this attitude is more prevalent in running because its so much easier to hurt yourself than with cycling, but i definitely buy into it. better to do more workouts in a week slightly less intense then one too fast and suffer because of it.

there is a time and place of maxing out, IMO, and that is in a race. races are a form of training as well, so experience digging deep in the races will help you for when more important races come around.
That's what i'm aiming for lately. B+ intervals. But I still feel like I have to really push it once a week or so or the B+ power targets will start getting harder and harder! I don't really know though, hence the question to y'all!
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Old 03-03-17, 04:02 PM
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Yesterday is an interesting example - i did my Moody repeats at 375ish/380W and only got 2 sets of 2 in and nearly **** my bibs on the last one. I would have preferred doing 5-6 straight @ 340-350W no question - from a training perspective I think it would have been much more valuable. I'm still trying to get acquainted with VO2 work again, so I definitely overshot it a little bit. I'd only rate that workout maybe a B- though because I took a break in between the repeats and only did 4. Maybe I could have done 4 straight at that pace, but it would have been a A++ effort and I wouldnt be considering going out and doing a workout right now.

I agree, really pushing it on occasion is still required, but for me its much more rare - like once every 2 weeks *maybe*, because it really takes a lot out of me mentally (less so physically) and I wouldnt be able to convince myself to workout as much.
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Old 03-03-17, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by scheibo
in running i was taught that you should aim for a "B+/A- grade" when doing a workout, because if you "go to the well" too often to crush it then you end up getting injured/burning out etc. furthermore, track coaches often are really strict about not "racing" workouts. i think this attitude is more prevalent in running because its so much easier to hurt yourself than with cycling, but i definitely buy into it. better to do more workouts in a week slightly less intense then one too fast and suffer because of it.

there is a time and place of maxing out, IMO, and that is in a race. races are a form of training as well, so experience digging deep in the races will help you for when more important races come around.
I don't think that applies to cycling though; the chance of injury is way less.

Which is what you said, but still. Max out dammit!
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Old 03-03-17, 04:20 PM
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I guess it depends on what is coming up on the training schedule. If I'm near the end of a block I am willing to dig deeper because there is less risk associated with inability to recover for the next workouts. If I know I have a similar workout the next day and that I also have another week and a half to go before a rest period I play it a bit conservative.

It also depends on what the intervals are. If I wind up unable to pedal after a vo2 workout I know I'm going to be screwed for a day or two. If I wind up laying on the side of the road after 10x30 AWC I kind of consider that normal and I know my legs will work the following day.

It also also depends on whether or not I am able to hit my normal numbers. If I feel like dying and my numbers are low I will generally abort the workout and spin home easy and tack it on to a workout later in the week. If I feel like dying and the numbers are normal, see the above paragraphs for my decision tree.

All of this is overruled by KOM sniping, of course.
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Old 03-03-17, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by scheibo
Yesterday is an interesting example - i did my Moody repeats at 375ish/380W and only got 2 sets of 2 in and nearly **** my bibs on the last one. I would have preferred doing 5-6 straight @ 340-350W no question - from a training perspective I think it would have been much more valuable. I'm still trying to get acquainted with VO2 work again, so I definitely overshot it a little bit. I'd only rate that workout maybe a B- though because I took a break in between the repeats and only did 4. Maybe I could have done 4 straight at that pace, but it would have been a A++ effort and I wouldnt be considering going out and doing a workout right now.

I agree, really pushing it on occasion is still required, but for me its much more rare - like once every 2 weeks *maybe*, because it really takes a lot out of me mentally (less so physically) and I wouldnt be able to convince myself to workout as much.
Idk, if I nearly **** my bibs I'd consider it an A++ (or at least one of those dreadful workouts I'm thinking of reducing).

Originally Posted by mattm
I don't think that applies to cycling though; the chance of injury is way less.

Which is what you said, but still. Max out dammit!
The cat 1 has spoken. Nearly **** the bibs 4 or 5 times a week?

Putting motivation aside for a moment and assuming the mind can handle all-in workouts every time, is the training response better one way or the other? I guess recovery HAS to come into the picture. Assuming equal full recovery days, it seems daily recovery might be severely reduced with the all-in-every-workout method (I feel like that was so was when I was doing it). One might argue that the final week of a block before recovery week might get close to extreme dread/pain level with more moderate workouts, vs hitting that level the first week and desperately trying to hang on til recovery week.
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Old 03-03-17, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin
I guess it depends on what is coming up on the training schedule. If I'm near the end of a block I am willing to dig deeper because there is less risk associated with inability to recover for the next workouts. If I know I have a similar workout the next day and that I also have another week and a half to go before a rest period I play it a bit conservative.
That's kinda what I was getting at in my last response. Maybe training response is better if one doesn't over-reach in early-block workouts (TSS aside, I've noticed TSS doesn't really know the difference between a decent workout and digging a big hole.

Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin
It also depends on what the intervals are. If I wind up unable to pedal after a vo2 workout I know I'm going to be screwed for a day or two. If I wind up laying on the side of the road after 10x30 AWC I kind of consider that normal and I know my legs will work the following day.
Those VO2 workouts can be killer, and a big part of what this thread is about (for me). I can go into a VO2 workout feeling great, get like 40 minutes in zone (or maybe 20 at the top of the zone) but the little extra TSS that provides vs a more moderate workout doesn't quite capture the crazy recovery time.
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Old 03-03-17, 04:45 PM
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does this question have to reflect upon training?

(but really, training until you hate the bike or workout will just lead to you quitting the sport sooner than later
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Old 03-03-17, 04:55 PM
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I've worked with a coach and I've worked by myself as well. When working with the coach, he'd usually notes on various workouts like "if you're not hitting numbers, bag it" or "give it all you have regardless of the feels". I think I pushed myself harder into the redzone/wanting to kill myself when working with a coach because it was harder to tell him I quit than it is to tell myself I quit. My CTL went up quickly, but man, there were days I just didn't want to ride my bike. In retrospect, there were days I'd probably have benefited by calling off the 6x3 at however many percent and just noodled about, but I was determined to smash it.


Now without a coach, I try to mix structure into group rides and supplement to address deficiencies. So, if the weekend smash fest has a couple of VO2 climbs in, I'll hammer those and add in a couple of VO2 attacks as well to round out the day. I find on the climbs I can push a bit deeper because there are better climbers than me and the competitive drive adds a few extra watts. In the end, the numbers are similar, but I dread the work a bit less. There have been rides this winter where I've had no other choice than to do intervals solo and I haven't driven myself nearly as deep as I did when I was with a coach. Too early for me to tell which is better, but I FEEL better not digging that deep.


In a round about answer to your question, when I was working with a coach, I'd go deep into the pain cave to hit metrics. Without a coach, I still go deep in the pain cave, but that's to keep up with so and so jamming up the climb.
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Old 03-03-17, 05:03 PM
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Consistency, moderation, progressive overload...

Insanely hard workouts disrupt consistency and are not moderate.
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Old 03-03-17, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic
Consistency, moderation, progressive overload...

Insanely hard workouts disrupt consistency and are not moderate.
Nor are they progressive overload. More like instant overload.

So how often do you go out and turn yourself inside out? Last week of a block as TKP and I suggested, or only race days?
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Old 03-03-17, 05:53 PM
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In race season I'm not supposed to go all out, just aim to maintain and recover (i am still learning how to do this). In the fall I pound myself into dust. In the winter, during build, and weekends without a race I do as outlined in my first post.
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Old 03-03-17, 08:17 PM
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I did this for two winters when I was 15 and 16, intervals on the trainer.

I was so burnt out from intervals in the basement that I avoided going into the basement even when I was 21-22 years old. I just hated being down there. Only after some massive changes (fixed a leak, painted the whole place, etc) have I felt okay being down there. Took maybe 20 years for me to get over the off season interval nausea/dread feeling.

I basically never do intervals. The hardest I go is in races or FTP tests. I did do intervals for a few weeks in 2015. I am trying to convince myself to do them for the next 6 weeks. Haven't done one set yet.
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Old 03-03-17, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd

So how often do you go out and turn yourself inside out?
Almost never but my version of "turn [myself] inside out" is pretty dark. I once pushed myself so hard running I woke up in an ambulance with exertional heat stroke. After that incident I listen to my brain a bit more when it screams stop.

Oddly a lot of races don't take me to the same place as some "workouts."

Some of the hardest stuff I've done in my life is when your order is reversed. It's not exercise so hard you want to die; it's having so much emotional pain you ride or run until your body screams and you can no longer think and that's an improvement.

Yeah, I was kinda screwed up. I'm happier now but fatter and slower.

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Old 03-03-17, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic
Almost never but my version of "turn [myself] inside out" is pretty dark. I once pushed myself so hard running I woke up in an ambulance with exertional heat stroke. After that incident I listen to my brain a bit more when it screams stop.
I've been close to that once. Went all out for a KOM on a punchy climb. After the top there is a little descent to a stop light. At the stop light I sat down, then laid down, then a couple people asked if I was ok, then 20 min later an ambulance came. I had to convince them I was ok and rode away embarrassed. Got the KOM though.
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Old 03-03-17, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd
The cat 1 has spoken. Nearly **** the bibs 4 or 5 times a week?
During Build, 2-3 times a week I'd say. In Base, no.

Not that I do this personally, I don't really like intervals all that much.
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Old 03-04-17, 02:15 AM
  #23  
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Fast Talk, ep. 11: Busting the 'no pain, no gain' myth | VeloNews.com
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Old 03-04-17, 09:12 AM
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The four coaches I at least had this discussion with (two for my kid) - never advocated going hard enough to wish you were dead.
It is hard due to structure, but in training the effort level was never like that. Training.
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