Quit Workout on a Bad Day or Grind it Out?

I had “one of those days” yesterday on a scheduled 4.5 hour Sweet Spot “Group Ride”. I did last week’s 4 hour ride with an NP of 84% FTP and felt good at the end. Totally different story yesterday. The first hour was about 84% of FTP, but I fell apart precipitously after that and I limped in at 5 hours, failed to hit the prescribed TSS, and my NP was about 72% of FTP. My heart rate was also much higher per watt than last week. Definitely a tale of two different Saturday rides. (I slept poorly on Thursday and Friday night, which I’m sure didn’t help)

I knew after that first hour that it was going to be a bad day, but decided to grind it out. I figured the learning experience might be worth it. *Do I have the mental toughness to keep grinding? Can I bring myself around with nutrition? The nutrition plan worked great last week, maybe I’ll bounce back!? *

Ultimately, the question is this. Did I benefit from grinding it out with pitiful power numbers and banking the TSS that I could? Or, should I have rerouted back to the car and called it a day? What’s the decision process when you want to FTFP, but things aren’t going according to plan?

I’m staying on the couch today and skipping the 2 hour zone 2 ride in my plan. Luckily, I’m headed into a recovery week.

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Hi!

Without seeing your training as a whole it is really tough to say. However number weren’t pitiful. You still averaged 72% of your FTP. That is upper zone 2 so you were getting benefits. Not like you were just out there in zone 1 where very to little no adaptation is taking place.

Coming towards the end of a training block there is going to be a good amount of fatigue built up. With people I coach the Saturday ride before a rest week is typically the hardest to get through. Sounds like you also had poor lead up with lack of sleep which is the number one thing you can do to be recovered and prepared for a big ride.

What you should do is look back at your performance manager chart. Look to see what your TSB was that day and the previous Saturday. Also look at your CTL. These can be things you can look back on to know when you perform better. So when dialing in the training a bit more you know when you perform better.

It is good that you stuck it out especially with a rest week coming up! If it was a Sunday ride and your plan was to turn around on a Tuesday and go hard you might considering shortening a bit.

Also with a higher heart rate was it hotter by chance? That can play a big factor in perceived exertion and heart rate. Sometimes you just have to listen to the body. I always remind athletes that you can’t just look at power but use it along with heart rate and perceive exertion. Usually you like to have 2 out of the 3 feeling in the ‘normal’ range. Sounds like you didn’t have that. But again with a rest week coming up pushing through not a bad thing.

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Thanks Jake. I appreciate the insight on how to look at some of the relevant data. This Saturday was only 3 degrees warmer than last, but more humid. Something tells me the higher heart rate and RPE is related to poor recovery via bad sleep. We also have a 4 month old at home - so there also isn’t a lot of down time. Anyway, here’s the data from my PMC.

Aug 22: CTL was 63; Fatigue was 82 and TSB was +7 - Felt really good and had consistent power start to finish
Aug 29: CTL was 67; Fatigue was 93; and TSB was -2 - Came unwound and felt like death by the halfway point

Yeah in a week your CTL went from 63 to 67. So a solid jump which lead to increase fatigue (lower TSB). And to add to that some bad sleep makes it harder to recover from the increased training load.

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