Saturday, September 01, 2007

at the edge of a cliff

Did one of the hardest trainer workouts of the year this morning in the basement. For the first time in a while the mental sides was in synch with the phsyical side and was able to complete the workout totally. The last several trainer workouts have been typically cut short.

This Morris kung fu is just good. I'm telling you. Today was a workout that started to pull together two divergent physical systems, both of which are essential for mountain bike racing. The workout combined Leadout intervals with MSP (Maximum sustainable Power)

4 sets of:
-6x0:20 on 0:20 off Leadout intervals
-1min rest
-5min MSP
-no rest immediately into
-6x0:20 on 0:20 off

5 min rest between sets

It took a long time to finish. Had to stop and refill the water bottle with go juice in the middle.

This was a really hard workout, but it is just a great simulation of what happens in mountain bike racing. MSP is race pace. Steady state, but no mountain bike race is a constant grade. There are technical sections, short grunts, passing. All these require you to go outside of the steady state.

The first set of leadouts weren't too bad, then the MSP was actually a welcome relief to the leadouts. I've been really happy with MSP and my steady state the last few weeks. It just feels pretty solid. Though only having MSP isn't the best for MTB racing because it has a tendency to make me feel flat and a little stagnant. With no acceleration, no snap.

But then with no rest going into the second set of leadouts was harsh. The legs were just burning so bad. But I finally am doing what I always 'say' I'm going to do and that is train as harder than a race. It just seems that every race is just a rude awakening and makes me wonder what have I been doing for the last 8 months.

MSP is a neat place. It doable, it's a place where I can be but it's still scary at the same time. Two analogies. One is having to make your way across a really thin ledge. You're back is to the cliff wall. Your feet are firmly on the ledge but your toes are hanging over the edge. It's not a pretty place but you aren't going to fall unless you move too far over the edge. These leadouts right after the MSP are sort of like dangling your foot over the edge, or having to work your way around a rock as you move along the cliff.

Another analogy is standing just out of reach of a bully. He's trying to pummel you but you are just out of harms way. It's not a happy place, in fact I'm shaking in my shoes. But I can stay here for awhile. The leadouts or SMSP intervals that are done in the middle of MSP are like running up to the bully and tagging them then running away back to your 'safer' zone. Do it too much and you're going to get tagged back.

This type of training helps you be able to go outside your MSP and then go right back to it w/o having to slow to a crawl to recover. ..Ideally.


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