Weekly Review October 19th – 25th 2020

Each week I try to review and reflect on my previous week on the bike. This allows me to see how my fitness and ability is progressing on a wider timescale than day to day. For previous weekly reviews please click here

This week was made up of four days riding, all of which was done indoors, on Zwift. This week was lighter in intensity than last week, which was significantly lighter than the week before. A large part of this is because I’m currently feeling run down, which I am hoping I will recover from sometime soon.

This week’s rides were as follows:

The graphs and charts show a steady decline in terms of how intense each activity was.

I feel this is somewhat misleading regarding the first two rides of the week, as I feel like the SST session was both mentally and physically harder than the Zwift Academy workout. The key difference between these two was that the ZA ride was shorter, but more punchy (a 4 minute max effort), whereas the SST session was / is far longer, but at a lower intensity.

I’d have to say that I found the latter part of the SST session vastly harder than the ZA max effort workout.

And I think, given that you’re supposed to be able to do this session frequently, that it (continues to) highlight(s) something isn’t quite right with me at the moment:

Sweet Spot Training (or SST for short) will give great bang for buck. Training at around 90 percent of your threshhold (aka the Sweet Spot) is useful because you can spend quite a bit of time there without building up undue amounts of training stress. You can do this workout as much as you’d like and watch your FTP rise over time.

SST session description from Zwift, emphasis mine.

I should probably point out that it’s not just me that feels run down at the moment. My wife is feeling the same way, with similar symptoms / side effects, and my kids have both been ill recently, with one still ill at the time of writing.

Taking some good points from the week:

  • I did hit my riding goals – 3 hours+, 100km+
  • I got through an SST session without having to pause, or quit
  • Zero shoulder pain

So I barely scraped past my riding goals this week. But, I did meet them. So there’s that.

Getting through an SST session shouldn’t be such a big deal, but I’m still not mentally recovered from this one. I have to admit that I did feel like quitting later in the session, so am happy to have finished it without giving up.

And zero shoulder pain. Yeah – as ever with riding indoors, there is the benefit of not having the UK’s horrendous road surfaces sending shock waves through my body.

Looking at the Garmin Training Status graph isn’t pretty at the moment.

The one good thing out of this is that the rather lurid lemon colour means “maintaining”. I did a bit of reading on training status this week, something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I feel I understand this now.

The Training Load graph, well, that’s been more of a puzzle to me. And again, I had time to do some reading on this also.

Training Load is more complex, but what I do know is it uses your heart rate. I’ve been making a bit of a boob with my Wahoo Tickr for … well, since I bought it.

Twice this week I’ve not been able to get the Tickr to register my heart rate with my Garmin or Zwift. Bad times. This happened on Thursday, which means I didn’t get to record my heart rate during the SST session. I feel it would have been quite high.

It also failed to record on Sunday.

What I’ve been doing, all this time, is soaking the middle bit. The electricals. Whoops. No wonder it doesn’t work, what with water and electricity not being best bedfellows.

Now I know where to wet. Well, assuming it starts working again once dry. Silly me.

So the point of all this is, I am, and have been for two weeks now, under my training zone. I don’t feel my workouts have been any less intense, but I will hopefully start to see this turn around as my mental and physical fitness returns at some point in the future. Who knows when that will be.

I’m happy enough to be “maintaining” anyway. Even though I’m below the desired range, things, it seems, could be worse.

As for the week ahead, I’m not planning on anything crazy. More recovery style rides seem to be the sensible course of action. I have another Zwift Academy workout to do, and that will likely be the highest intensity activity of the week again. I’m not expecting to get outdoors again this week. Maybe Sunday, if I’m lucky.

I feel I’m perhaps being a bit harsh on myself. 3+ hours, 100km+, it’s all better than slobbing on the sofa. Sure, I’m not in my best shape that I’ve ever been, but I’m in much better shape than I was. Think positive? I try.

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