THE short answer is that I’m getting more rest and better sleep. I’m listening – to my body and to my gadgets.
GADGET may not be the best descriptor I initially thought but upon looking up the definition (a small mechanical or electronic device or tool, especially an ingenious or novel one) I realize it is apropos.
THOSE gadgets to which I refer, and about which I recently blogged, include my Garmin Fenix 6x and my Whoop strap.
THIS morning I had planned on getting in a fairly hard training session before work. However, my tech was suggesting otherwise. And after a month of wearing said strap and “comparing notes” with the Fenix, as hard as it was, I decided to listen.
I need more rest and frankly I find that part of training to be the most difficult. It’s easier to just ride.
OUR cat Ditty (nothing knows how to rest and relax better than a feline, right?) consistently shows us how to get it done so I figured I’d follow her example, and actually pay attention to what my devices, and more importantly my body, were telling me.
THE Fenix’s display indicated that I need 31 additional hours of recovery and that my recovery was delayed by poor sleep. Indeed, I was up late, celebrating my wife’s birthday and so was not able to get my usual Zs.
WHOOP’s recovery screen advised that I was only 18% recovered – my resting heart rate (RHR) was up and my heart rate variability (HRV) was “33.1% below its typical range, indicating that your body is not fully recovered.”
IT seems counterintuitive, at least to me, but since I’ve been focusing more on rest and sleep and mixing up my harder workouts with walks, runs, Kenpo workouts, easy e-MTB rides, and long endurance rides, I’ve been getting stronger.
GO figure! Putting in fewer hours (and miles) on the bike yet getting stronger…And, having more fun in the process.
ON April 1st I was following my new guidelines and I jumped on Zwift for an easy 45 minute spin. It took me a minute to realize what was going on (that’s my avatar with the yellow wheels) but rather than stress about not having my “real bike” (one rider chatted “this isn’t funny anymore Zwift, give me my bike back”) I just enjoyed the ride and the memories that came flooding back. I had one of those Big Wheels when I was a kid, you know?
I was smiling and giggling almost the entire session; in the past I would have whined about it.
THE reason I’m still in need of more recovery is three-fold.
- An intense HIIT workout last Friday
- An endurance ride on Saturday
- A virtual climb (focused on a new personal best – which I attained) on the Ebbetts Pass North Ascent on FulGaz on Monday.
FOR the HIIT workout I went with rocket drills. My workout consisted of six (6) sprints, two (2) minutes each at full throttle, from a standing start, up a small hill on Hot Springs Road. The rest interval was five (5) minutes, by the way, and I did that by doing a bit of easy spinning farther up the hill as well as back down to the starting point.
ON sprint #5 I hit almost 900 watts – the highest I’ve ever done on the road and it was the penultimate interval!
SPRINT #6, however, was almost a hurl-fest. Thankfully, though, no technicolor yawn.
SUNDAY, after Saturday’s approximately 90-minute endurance ride, I joined the wife for a short and easy ride on our e-MTBs.
THAT set me up for Monday, where I was able to set a personal best on the entire climb, as well as one of the segments, and hold a heart rate of 159 bpm for 60 minutes (per Trainingpeaks), a 2021 best.
RESTING and SLEEPING
AND so it was that I scheduled yesterday as a rest day and joined the wife again on our e-MTBs, this time for an easy ride up to Grover Hot Springs State Park, where my wife got her first taste of gravel on her new Rail.
AS for sleep, that’s where WHOOP is really helping. Now that I’ve been religiously wearing the strap for over a month I’m finding that what I like most is the focus it provides regarding sleep. From the after-action report in the morning, to the alerts the night before, it is teaching me (and it’s validated in my performance results) that sleep is just as important to training as the actual workouts.
WHEN I pay attention to the feedback it provides, as well as the input from the Fenix and Trainingpeaks, I perform better.
WHEN I don’t, I don’t.
AND so while I find myself champing at the bit to ride, or do something else hardcore today, I’m not going to do that.
I’M going to heed the warnings and try to be more like my cat. And in the process I know I’m going to get even sturdier on my steed.
THE Deathride is just over three (3) months away after all and it’s going to be a doozy.
HAPPY hump day! I hope you too are conquering some of those training humps and as always your comments are most welcome.
2 thoughts on “Riding Less but Getting Stronger – How’s That?”
Nice work! Do less, get better, gotta love that, haha! 🙂 I’ve seen a lot of ads for the WHOOP bands recently. I may have to look into it in more detail.
Indeed! Quality not necessarily quantity, as they say, eh? Yeah, Whoop is worth checking out. Def. helping me better understand the whys and hows. Thanks for the comment!