by Sam Krieg, Peaks Coaching Group
Don't trust your legs on a flight of stairs. They will always lie! Stairs and cyclists are not friends. They are the devil. I would only train 1 day per week if I used the stair test.
If I listened to my legs I would have stopped training this morning, last week, and probably about 8 years ago. I have had some great days when I feel awful, and some awful days when I thought I felt great. I have had the most negative TSB in the world and still have ridden peak wattages.
8 years ago I felt like I needed a ton more rest.......... and took it often. Looking back I am pretty sure I rested myself right out of shape.
Four years ago I broke my back and spent 84 days in a brace. I couldn't ride so I went to the gym and used the (stair-master) I learned a ton about my body/mind in those 84 days. I couldn't sleep much so I would just walk around for 15 hours a day. I would go to the gym for 1-2 hours to murder the stair machine. I never took a day off. I just would go until I would snap. Every morning at 3:30-4am my back would wake me up. It would hurt so bad. Trying to sleep in TLSO brace isn’t fun. I would get up and start walking. Most of the pain would go away. I would head to the gym and just crush myself on the stair-master. I found that if I ignored how my legs felt and gave myself a decent warm-up... I could perform just as good as the day before.
I have had some of my most incredible days on the bike when I could barely walk up from my basement. Just do a nice warm-up and a few 1 minute 90+RPM efforts at FTP. I find that you might just surprise yourself. I went back and ran all of my PEAK 20 minute files for 8 years.
I found that I often put out my Peak efforts (20 and 5) when my CTL and ATL are crazy high.
I find that ramp rate has more to do with where your CTL has been before. If you have been to 100CTL, 120, 140.... you can go back to that level a bit quicker than if you have never been there before. Be careful this is just what I have found. Think of CTL like a mountain. The first time you climb it you are full of panic and nervous as hell. If you have a good “guide” you might make it the summit a bit faster, but you will still be scared. The 2nd time it will be easier and you will be a bit more confident, and the 3rd, 4th,5th etc…. the mountain gets easier both physically and mentally. The goal isn't always to (summit your CTL) and then run-away. Try and live there for awhile. See if your body can adapt. Don't panic if you have a few bad days or even a week or two. It takes some time to acclimatize to the new load. Right now I am riding around 130CTL and the load feels pretty easy. I remember years ago struggling at 80 and trying to get it to 100ctl.
I have found that if you want to really improve you need to endure a significant load change and attempt to bash through a few mental barriers. Use the Performance Manager Chart as a tool to push yourself… not limit yourself. Just because your buddy snapped 80ctl doesn’t mean that you will.
I remember getting a workout from Hunter about 6 years ago….. The day before I had done 4 x 15 and was pretty blown and very stoked about my efforts…. The workout for the day was to do the HOUR OF POWER at the same wattage as I had done the 4 x 15!..... My brain was in shock.. I thought he was crazy…..He had added a short sentence below the workout that said “so do you want to be good or what?”
It is easier now to be critical of my riding and training than years ago. I wish I could go back and shake the crap out of myself and give myself a little push. I was so scared that I was doing to much to fast that I was barely doing enough.