Mastering one’s own psychology is an ongoing challenge for any athletic goal.
As I wrote in Training Restarts as the Virus Retreats, I have to be realistic about what losing nearly three months of base miles means for competitiveness in the Everest Challenge (or even being able to complete a double century anytime soon). It’s especially hard (for me at least) to come down from the “high” (last fall’s extreme fitness).
Then there are those unexpected bonus days in which everything “works”.
Like today when after being almost sedentary for six weeks (shoulder surgery and a 2+ week virus assault following weeks having to back-off from a knee irritation). So today I rode my most enjoyable ride of the year; it just felt easy and fluid and everything that it ought to feel like when things are working optimally. Well, my legs did feel it by the end (endurance down), but dang it felt good, which was a much needed pyschological boost after several challenging months in multiple ways. This kind of positive result helps reestablish a sense of normalcy when too many disruptions have occured.
Surely the new bike fit helped in delivering the respectable 254 watts for 75 minutes (though it remains to untrain my body from its asymmetric twist from the former asymmetric-crank mistake). The pouring rain did not dissuade me in the least as I was feeling relaxed on the bike.
My heart rate was ~17 beats higher than a similar workout last fall (155 = 88% of my max of 175), and that is too high for this power output, but such HR behavior is always true early in the season and/or when detraining occurs and/or if not fully hydrated (I wasn’t). That should drop with miles on the bike, so I have no concern there, and one ride does not establish a baseline. Besides, my small airways remain somewhat impaired and reactive from the virus, and that definitely raises heart rate by reducing oxygen uptake.