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Recovery and Late Season Strength

Yesterday, I made a hard ascent of Old La Honda road (a popular local climb in Portola Valley, CA). While it was not an all time best (19:17 vs 18:31), it should be considered fast, especially for someone in their mid-late-40s.

I was a little sore today from yesterday’s effort, and so the smart thing to do in theory was to take an easy recovery day. But my experience has been that after a long season of training and using proper recovery habits, a back-to-back training regimen of two hard workouts can move fitness up a notch.

And so today I made four ascents of Old La Honda, with “negative intervals”: faster each ascent (well, the last one was off just a a few watts):

Time     Watts
21:21    321.1
20:49    331.9
19:28    356.7
19:43    353.0
20:20    340.7  (average)
Personal best:  18:31

For me, this represents a best-ever effort for 4 intervals.

So what is the conclusion here for training? Well, what we feel are limits are often self-imposed, and might well be farther off than we think, especially late in the season at peak fitness. My feeling is that a hard workout can “open” up the body’s pathways to even higher performance, resulting in surprisingly powerful workouts the day after a hard workout.

My next goal is to set a new personal best of less than minutes on Old La Honda, before November, when rain and cold make it harder to train.

Click for a larger graph.

Old La Honda ascent: straight line is linear rate of ascent
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