Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Battle

Last night I had a battle with my trainer, power meter, and my mind. I'm still not sure who won. If you know me at all, you know that the trainer is not something I have a love-fest with. In fact, other than a good little spin-out for the legs on a rainy day, I pretty much despise it. I have always thought that the bicycle was meant to take me places. And as Dr. Seuss put it so well - Oh the Places You'll Go!


However, this year I have tried my best to embrace the trainer. I understand that a controlled environment can often yield greater results. This doesn't mean I have quit riding outside - just that once or twice a week, I'm giving the quality very-hard-trainer-workout a shot.

The first few weeks of hard trainer workouts went amazingly well. I train with power and heartrate and I liked the numbers I saw. So of course, it wasn't difficult to embrace the trainer when it seemed to be producing results I liked. Until last night.


The set started fairly well - I dare say I was even excited to see the power numbers I could create. As the watts increased, my legs got heavier. I found my mind starting to justify things: "Well, you did run a lot of miles last week." and "The weights you lifted at the gym made your legs tired." But I kept trying to fight back with "Only two more minutes, you can hold these watts - two minutes is nothing." And thus began the mental battle. My legs would falter, the watts would drop, I would use my mind to convince myself I could carry on. This worked until the final set. And I cracked. The legs just would not push any more. The watts dropped. A LOT. And I threw in the towel. It's sometimes hard to figure out when to keep pushing and when to come back to fight another day. Giving up is not something I do. But there also comes a point in a workout when gains are not being made, and I knew I had reached that point. Until the next battle, I will enjoy riding my bike outside!

16 comments:

Beth said...

Oh I feel your pain. The trainer is more of a mental battle than any thing else I know!!

Christi said...

The trainer and I battle all winter and it is never a clear cut winner!

Andrea said...

What?? I LOVE the trainer! I don't have to get all kitted up, I don't have worry about trying to find a gas station for more water/restroom, I don't have to worry about being hit by car or chased and bit by a farmhouse dog ... The list of pros is endless!

Plus, I get to catch up on all the TV shows and movies I've missed!!

While I LOVE the trainer, I HATE the treadmill.

Jennifer Harrison said...

oh! I LOVE LOVE the trainer - but not any trainer - that would be a battle for me, but I love my computrainer! It is my #1 favorite training tool living in Chicago!
I am a TV junkie, so I watch TV and enjoy that...esp when we can't ride outside.

And, that Dr Seuss book - Marit gave that too me one year as a gift and I love it.

TRI714 said...

For me the mind games seems endless when it's not an easy flowing session. I havn't used a trainer in many years. Thats why I pay such High property taxes :-)

Aimee said...

Riding on a trainer is definitely a mental battle. The longest I've lasted was 2 hours, and after that, I was done!

Running and living said...

I, too, love the trainer, bc I am terrified of the Boston drivers, and I get to watch TV shows I would not allow myself to watch otherwise. But, my workouts are nowhere near as intense as yours:) The body adapts, right?

Elizabeth A. Rich said...

I LOVE the trainer too... and hate the treadmill! Keep up the great work, building that strength and continuing to listen to your body. :)

solarpowered said...

Hate the treadmill, hate the trainer. Like you, I believe my biking and my running are best for me when they take me places.

I don't see your situation as giving up. I see it as maxing out. In other words, on that day, in that workout, you maxed out what your body had. Fuel for the next workout, and you've automatically set new goal.

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Totally agree with solarpowered! Know your body and do what you can.

Teresa said...

Love that the "mind" took over to get you through a little more....hate that the "mind" couldn't get you through the last one. Either way, you went to failure...that is success!! Way to go!

PS: I LOVE the trainer!!!! tn

Caratunk Girl said...

Seriously I get it. I am 100% jealous that you can ride outside at all. I am stuck on the drainer all winter and get to dread it after a while...bikes were made to go places!!

Kim said...

i could ride hours outside and only complain a few times. 5 minutes on my trainer and im whining like a little girl. blech!

Libby said...

I'm definitely going to lose my hearing very early due to the volume I need on my ipod to crank out sets like this :) my schedule affords zero daylight so I spend all my bike time during the week on the trainer :( I'm pretty confident that whatever dirk gave you, that was the intention to push you to the max!! nice work!!!

Kiet said...

But you did make gains Charisa, though your numbers dropped, you fighting and trying to keep them from dropping means you gained, you gained mentally. In a race, I'm sure numbers are dropping for both you and the the competitor but the one who fights to keep the numbers from dropping the most will succeed. You gained something from it.

GoBigGreen said...

Oh Charisa, you just about nailed it on the head, winter riding. I think that it would be really hard to embrace the trainer "IF" i could go outside, even if its chilly ( ie above 40)
I have learned to "like" it bc i get sweaty, and i know its safe and i have a controlled environment, but overall I know its gonna HURT LIKE A MOTHER. I have a Kwiss bracelet that says WYAO. And i try to look at that when i am mentally losing it. Work your A$$ off, and yes we all crack, roll over and get back on next time.
Hang in there!