From 1st Cat to Elite: A Weekly Training Diary #6.

Winter is ticking by and it’s now cold and frosty in the mornings. But if that’s putting you off and you haven’t started your winter training already then you’d better get cracking. It’s only 15 weeks until the start of the season (March). So if you want to get 8 weeks of base training and 8 weeks of a build phase before your first races then you’re already late!

Also if like me you’re carrying some winter pies already and want to lose 5+ kilograms before you start racing then unfortunately the diet has to start with earnest as well. Dropping weight at a sensible and sustainable rate of 0.5kg per week (depending on your current weight) should be easy if you’re mindful of your diet but it take ages… EUGH. I hate dieting.

This week is the 2nd of 3 build weeks and it’s been another solid week of training. 9.5 hours on the bike and 602TSS with an intensity factor of 0.79 for the whole week so all really good quality. This week I replaced a CX race with some structured and planned V02 max work as I have a winter time trial in one month. Without wanting to disappoint too many people, I think my illustrious CX career has already been canned. If i want to be anywhere near the top 10 I’d need to get super serious and quite frankly I can’t be bothered. Adding another discipline to my ever growing list of things I need to be good at would be too much. Also I hate getting muddy. So there.

For this winter i’m trying to make a habit of getting a long solo ride in on a wednesday. With the aim of doing as much Z3 pedalling as possible. This weeks “wicked wednesday” was a breakthrough session. 2 hours at the very top of Z3… otherwise known as Sweetspot.


See the full ride here on Strava . The reason this was a breakthrough session is that it felt a whole bunch easier than the same session last week. I felt strong at the end instead of struggling to keep the power on. I also rode 13 watts higher normalised power for 4 beats lower on the heart rate, 142bpm down from 146bpm. So a definite improvement. Next week i’ll repeat the session to see if it was a fluke. If the numbers are the same or better and it feels good I will extend the session during my next block and maybe push it to 2.5hours sweetspot.

Summary numbers from the performance management chart look pretty good. CTL up +4 and form -10 lower compared to last week.  last time I went into my 3rd build week my form was -27.9 so I might be able to push a little harder for this 3rd week in the current phase. I have to admit, I adjusted a little this week and have had the whole weekend off. I’d originally planned to do a recovery ride today, but have opted for complete rest instead with some stretching and foam rolling sounding a lot more appealing.


As part of my time trial prep I completed a ramp test in my TT position. The position I ride in is very aggressive and pretty extreme which makes holding the watts super difficult. In fact, the results of the test show my anaerobic threshold (commonly referred to as FTP) to be 30 watts lower than my latest test on the road bike. ”Why ride in that stupid position then?” I hear you ask… well that’s a good question. Aero gainz is the answer. Prioritising your aero position above anything else and then working hard to maintain it should result in a net increase in speed, even though you’re pushing less watts. If you work hard enough on it, you can push harder in an extreme position. Aero is everything as the famous Dan Bigham might say.

It’s important for me to be aware of my current abilities in that position, particularly as I haven’t done a single minute of pedalling in it since July. If i were to just take my road zones and go out to attempt a session of 2 x 20 minutes at FTP, I might think I was doing the right thing, but when you look at the training zones with the difference in FTP taken into consdieration it tells a different story:



By my road zones i’d be trying to hit 370w for those efforts and would actually be riding in zone 5! If you’ve ever tried to do 2 x 20 minutes in zone 5 you’ll realise that’s actually mental. It’s destined for failure, missed sessions and ruined motivation. So by swallowing my pride and knocking back the training zones by 30 watts i’m much more likely to complete sessions, train correctly and feel really confident going into the race next month.

Take a look at my pain face here as I Facebook Live’d the whole test!

This week I started monitoring my daily weight and trying to hold back on the snacks and treats a little. My weight has dropped a little too fast from 93.7kg at the start of the week to 92.5kg on Friday. With two rest days this weekend I imagine it will hop right back up (especially as I had a few ciders last night!). The 1.2kg loss will be the result of 3 big days of training in a row. My weight typically varies dramatically from day to day when i’m dieting and training. So looking at things over a longer period of time is the best way to take stock of whether it’s a genuine loss in weight or not. The weeks morning weights looks like this:


It’s a bit too soon to get mega serious on the diet and live like a monk, but I can’t slack off for too long as I said at the start of this blog.

This next week has a lot of commuting miles coming up so I need to plan my hard efforts around that. This may mean taking more of a semi structured approach as i’ll be contending with road works, roundabouts and angry motorists! It’s best to keep calm and just do what you can do when it’s commuter miles. All being well I should be able to get 10+ hours in and a TSS of around 640+.

Have a great week everyone and as always, drop me a message if you’re interested in coaching or would like me to help you out.



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