March 25, 2016

We're very familiar with the mentality a lot of the athletes we work with. A mentality that believes unless the athlete feels well-worked, beat up, and exhausted, they don't feel that they had a good workout. When we encounter that mentality, we like to offer some clarification/enlightenment:

-a good workout doesn't always need to be a hard workout

-not all workouts are created equally. Nor should they all feel the same.

-there are a variety of training stimuli that we hit during the program. Some athletes will find certain stimuli challenging while other athletes will claim those same stimuli feel relatively easy.

-all training stimuli does not need to cause a burn in the legs, create the urge to vomit, or drive your heart rate to maximum. As long as the training stimulus actually, well, stimulates adaptation, you're good.

As an example, take our last phase of training. Here are two sets we performed. Read over each and estimate how you would feel during and after each set.

Set 1:
2 x (20 minutes on, 5 minutes recovery)
...where the "on" interval is done at your low aerobic/base power but done at a cadence 15 rpm higher than your natural cadence.

Set 2:
10 x (30 seconds at your 5 minute power, 30 seconds recovery)
5 minute recovery
10 x (30 seconds at 5 minute power, 30 seconds recovery) 

Which set feels easier? Is one set considerably more challenging than the other? We guarantee that a percentage of you will claim that set 1 is easy while set 2 is a challenge. And another percentage of you will say the reverse. Another group of you will say both sets are similarly challenging.

What is interesting at WattsUp is that by giving consistent attention to how you feel during our workouts, you can develop a pretty accurate picture of your physiology and mental make up. You'll learn what sets and zones you're strong in. Which sets and zones you find a challenge. You'll learn if you're a short-and-explosive athlete, or a long-and-steady athlete, or a well-balanced athlete...or some hybrid in between. You'll learn where you're mentally strong and where you are lacking. Taken another step further, once you know your inherent physiology and mental make up, you can better select events/races that are suited to your strengths.

You experience a well-balanced training program at WattsUp. Handling the number of athletes we do makes it near impossible to have every workout dialled in specifically to each athlete's strengths and weaknesses. The ebbs and flows in the training should be welcomed. Enjoy the easier days/sets when they come, and work hard on the challenging sets. Overall, you will get stronger. We see it every day: athletes getting stronger.