When I lost my mojo earlier in the season, I decided to stop tracking my CTL and ATL and just enjoy riding for a while without worrying about training stress scores and hitting the right hours in each zone. This coincided nicely with the weather gently improving and a number of my longer training rides through May. By early June I found myself fighting niggling injuries, constantly exhausted and generally a bit out of love with the bike and the whole idea of the Transcontinental.
After floundering for a couple of weeks (power good, but energy very low) I finally checked back in with the numbers… and the problem was immediately clear. I had a big week before Severn Across and felt I’d pushed a bit harder than I should of – the numbers agree wholeheartedly. I jumped to 150 CTL (yay!), but racked up the highest fatigue of my entire cycling career and knocked my stress balance deep into the negative.
With time before TCR short and my general gung-ho approach, I simply carried on riding and building CTL (topping out at 158) while never letting my stress balance recover. By the end of May, I was probably the fittest I’ve ever been, but exhausted. I’ve piled on the weight, developed a twitch in my right eye and generally been grumpy, sleepy and sick of riding.
Fortunately, there’s a few weeks left to turn it around. That elevated CTL will come in handy for TCR, so I’m keen to maintain as much of it as possible. The fatigue and negative stress balance needs to go though. I’m going to focus on high intensity efforts, while bringing my mileage back down. I’m hopeful I can maintain a CTL around the 140-150 mark, while starting TCR with a nice positive stress balance and happy legs.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m simply not good at ‘training’. I like riding my bike, but setting goals changes my mind set and turns riding into a chore. I’ve entered a few TTs to give me short term goals that will hopefully distract me from the TCR and I expect group rides and some general mucking about will feature in the next few weeks!