Saturday, May 23, 2009

Training - Exhaustion & Training Diaries

It's hard to remember what happens from year to year, especially at specific times of the year. For example, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly how I felt physically, mentally, and emotionally a year ago. It's hard to recall what I did, other than broad images or events.

With the Hartford Crit on for tomorrow, I was curious exactly how I felt going into the race.
So, although I may know that I went to the Hartford Crit last year, I don't know exactly how things were around that time.

That's why I keep a training diary (and so should you).

I was wondering how I was doing last year because, frankly, right now, I'm totally exhausted. Like tired down into my bones. I'll check to see how my race went last year because I think I went there but I don't remember what I did. By the way, although I've used physical diaries in the past, I've been using WKO for a couple years and it's nice that I can easily add up different months of training etc.


Last year I sprinted a lap early at Hartford. Oops.


Reading about 3-4 weeks of entries briefly, I can summarize my life back then.

1. Unemployed.
2. Riding extremely consistently.
3. At that point 142 hours of riding for the year, 158 for the season, and I didn't keep track of a bunch of SRM-less trainer rides (wrote them in elsewhere), but I had 150 total hours going into March, so figure another 30-40 hours of training by the end of May. Let's say 190 hours of training for the season.
4. Fresh. Doing intervals and such, a slightly organized training schedule.


1. Working a relatively physical job, 50-ish hours a week, 8-5:30 during the week, 8-5 on Saturdays. Coming home a total zombie on certain days, including this one.
2. Riding somewhat sporadically, although motivated to do Mon, Tue, and Wed rides when weather and energy levels cooperate.
3. Just under 78 hours for the season. Add 6 for track riding, but basically about 1/4 the time as last year.
4. Extremely fatigued. I'm talking I just woke up from a 6:45 PM nap at 8:30 PM, and I could barely keep my eyes open on the 2 mile drive to the place where we ate tonight. I skipped a ride last Monday because I was totally and completely exhausted.

In fact, I decided to skip my pre-race spin tonight. Too much energy for not enough benefit. Not only would I have to ride and shower, I need to bring the bike up and down stairs to get it to the trainer, and, really, I just don't feel like riding at all.

Heck, I'm struggling to get something to drink.

So I'll do my pre-race spin tomorrow morning, sitting on the trainer.

Hopefully I'll be able to find some get-up-and-go. Right now I don't know how it'll happen, but I hope that I "freshen up" a bit overnight.

Anyway, I wanted to make the point that it's important to keep a training diary. If you're just starting out, you can use a Weekly Reminder of some kind. I find them the best combination of size, available writing area, and ease of reference.

With a Weekly Reminder, you can sum up the hours each week, write it in the corner (I circle it, like an elementary school teacher might circle a test score), and it'll be an easy way to see how your hours varied over the course of the season. Races appear in the bottom corner (Sat/Sun), and there's enough room to write stuff like "2:00, did the Loop 2x, felt great, 53x15 up that roller, chased a bus on 2nd loop, 75 deg, shorts + ss jers, no cap"

I tried a Daily Reminder but I found it harder to find broad patterns because I could only see two days at a time (left side of book and right side of the open book).

Monthly Reminders, although cheapest (and therefore used during college and other lean years), have almost no room for writing. I wrote in tiny letters in those things, and if I screwed up something, or wrote illegibly, I had to sacrifice another day's space to correct things. Races would take up 1 1/2 days consistently.

Or, in today's modern era, you can use a computer program.

I happen to use WKO+, Cycling Peaks, whatever it's called. I don't explore it too much, and my review ends up reading Summaries through the Calender View. I use the "Time and Distance in Last 28 Days", select a date range, and make it 365 days to one data point to see total time and distance (one point for a year, basically, so it summarizes it for you).

But, at some point, I'll want to revive the physical diary. Installing and importing all this training data will require extra work, and I don't train scientifically enough to really need to use software.

(Okay, who am I kidding? I don't train scientifically at all.)

It's much more fun leafing through old training diaries anyway, and the hours/day and circled hours/week is pretty much all I check. I like the race descriptions. Just a few words will let me recall the race in vivid detail, at least the important parts. I think that's all I need.

Well, that and notes like "Tired" or "Rest" (where I don't ride at all).

Today would be a "Rest, Exhausted" day.

Let me type that into WKO. I gotta go to bed.

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