Ridefulness Journal — Performance is body and mind.
I woke up eagerly to see if the roads were dry this morning for a ride outside despite the forecast predicting rain in the morning. I hoped to avoid the trainer, knowing it was going to be a mentally hard session and I much prefer to be outside riding with friends. Unfortunately, it‘s’ going to be a dreaded indoor session. I didn’t feel up for it but embraced the session, knowing it will increase my fitness and is the reason why I would ride indoor. Super specific training to focus on my efforts, technique and breathing without any distractions. Purely on the trainer to train is my intention and what I find most favourable.
For my indoor riding experience, I use TrainerRoad to deliver effective and progressive workouts that improve my cycling performance. No fancy artificial world, virtual group rides or racing. Simply follow the bars of power and read the instructions, motivations and technique tips. This session was on anaerobic performance with repetition of short high power and short recovery in between. 10 x 20s @ 440w, 1m 40s recovery in between. Repeat for 3 times with 7 mins recovery.
I was able to hit the target power consistently, my body was strong to manage the repetitive burst, my legs had the efficiency to cycle lactic acid from the muscles during the short recovery but my mind was weary as I finished the first block of intervals. Seeing two more blocks to complete shrunk my confidence to last to the end… My motivation dissolved. I needed to realign my thoughts to just one block at a time instead of looking at the whole workout. One interval at time caused me to focus solely on one thing, bring attention to the effort at that moment and set aside any negative thoughts.
My mind cleared up, renewed and centred on the right perspective. I controlled my breathing to recover well and I sustained a fast cadence and smooth technique for the efforts. I finished completed and not depleted. It was a good reminder to myself that performance requires training the body and disciplining the mind. The uncomfortable efforts improve physical performance and just as important, improve mind performance.
Cycling Performance Tip — Body
Humans are simple in that we eat food to live and complex in how we use food as energy and fuel. When consuming food, the body breaks down the food and converts into something called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then breaks ATP into adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and phosphate (P). As you exert energy, ATP is used and to continue your efforts, stores of ATP need to be replaced. Your body has 3 interesting ways, called energy systems to do so. These are that Aerobic System, Anaerobic System and Phosphagen energy system. Today, I’ll just focus on the Anaerobic system.
The Anaerobic system
- This is your glycolytic energy system, where the primary replacement of ATP is on glycolysis (the breakdown of carbohydrates) from either glycogen stored in your muscles or liver or glucose delivered into the blood from food.
- During glycolysis, your body converts carbohydrates sugars into pyruvate for your body to use as energy but has the byproduct lactate. Some of the lactate can get converted back to glucose for use in more glycolysis.
- Sustained anaerobic exercise, causes a sustained increase in lactate and metabolic acidosis. As the effort becomes more intense, the amount of lactate eventually outpaces the body’s ability to use and clear it. This transition point is referred to as anaerobic threshold (AT).
- This system is dominant when engaged in intense exercise under two minutes, during which oxygen is in short supply.
It’s interesting and fascinating what the body can do and how it makes energy. For more information about the energy system, click here.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I love sharing my experiences of cycling and hope you enjoy my life experiences.