Training Progress – February

Another month has passed and one month closer to L’Etape. February’s training was good and had more variety than the earlier weeks of the winter training plan. The highlight had to be the Tour of Sufferlandria which was 11 Sufferfest videos spread over 9 consecutive days. Although the intensity of most of the workouts (10/11) was high, I felt myself getting stronger as the tour progressed and I was able to hit or exceed the power targets for each video. This was a nice confidence booster.

Following a recovery week after the TOS, I did an FTP test and my FTP has increased by 12% since the beginning of the winter training plan. I suspect that this explains being able to hit the power targets throughout the TOS!

After planning out the months leading up to L’Etape, I’ve decided to extend the base training period until early April. During this time, I will focus on Base 3 training as outlined in Joe Friel’s book, “The Training Bible”. For the individual workouts, I will mix and match between the workouts in the book and the equivalent workouts from the A1 Winter Training plan. Once the Base 3 training is done, it will be time to head into a 10 week build + peak phase leading to the Etape itself.

At the end of January I was worried that I would not be able to find sufficient time to get the required training volume done. Thankfully in February things improved and I was able to hit the training volume targets most weeks. Hopefully this trend will continue through March.

Beyond the fitness improvements, one thing I am noticing is that my mental approach or attitude has changed slightly. The Etape course still scares me and I still have big doubts about my ability to complete it but I feel a sense of gratitude for being able to do the training and to be able to attempt the event. The simple sense of feeling lucky enough to be able to do this is starting to mute the fears and self doubt. This is welcome but unexpected.

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, 
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!