Coach's Column with Andy Applegate: When To Push Through a Bad Training Day
Question: How do I know during a training ride when I should push through it
feeling like crap and the body not coming around or when to call it quits for
the day? Should I try again the next day?
Answer: This is a good and very common question. Here are some thoughts: First,
donít make your decision to stop or cut the workout short on the first effort.
Sometimes you can have a poor first effort, but recover and continue for a
great session. Wait until after the second effort to make your decision, or if
the efforts are very long (longer than 10 minutes such as during a threshold
interval session), make the call in the middle of the second.
the metrics you have available to monitor intensity. We all have perceived
exertion, many have heart rate and some have power available as these metrics.
We could include pace (speed) as well if you are doing the workout on a known
course and "normalĒ conditions. If one of these metrics is "offĒ, lower than
expected or desired, donít worry too much. However, if 2 of these are below
expectations, then you might want to cut the workout short. For example, when
doing a set of VO2max intervals if you canít seem to get your heart rate to
jump into the range you expect, but your power is good and perceived exertion
is ok, then you should be good to continue the session. Conversely if your
heart rate is low along with a lower than expected power or higher than normal
perceived exertion, you should consider pulling the plug.
hard efforts, specifically those above Lactate Threshold you can expect a
little "fadeĒ in power across multiple efforts. Normally we would expect to see
heart rate go higher and power fade as you progress through a series of hard
efforts. However if you see the power fading greater than about 10% you might
want to consider cutting the session short.
If you do
end up bailing out of a hard session due to fatigue, generally I donít
recommend just trying it again the next day. Too often riders will do half the
hard session (still some real training stress), then try it the next day and
fail, then do the same thing the day after in a never ending cascade of
somewhat hard, mediocre workouts. Rather than this approach, if you canít
get through a scheduled session, just do an easy day the next day or at
least continue with what you had originally planned the day after had you been
able to complete the offending workout. If you were fatigued enough to
not be able to complete a session you probably need the extra recovery time to
get you ready to hit your next hard workout.
Andy Applegate is a Pro level coach
with Carmichael Training Systems. He has over 20 years of racing experience and
has been coaching cyclists full time since 2001. His passion is endurance
mountain bike racing. We would like to welcome Andy to our amazing group of
elite coaches. You can find out more about Andy and his training programs at www.trainright.com