If you are spending a lot of time on the trainer (and why wouldn’t you, FulGaz is the best way to travel the world in the current crisis!), the amount of data and constant feedback you’re exposed to can become overwhelming.
Although the data is helpful, it can lead to a perfectionist attitude and a diminishing of the sensory joy of riding a bike..
Go on a data detox – I dare you!
In the app you can hide your power, heart rate data, and focus on the road ahead. This doesn’t mean you become out of touch with your effort, but rather more in touch with your body and the cues it is giving you.
The home trainer is a perfect way to focus on sensation cues, this is something I work on with my coach a lot. Here are some tips on how to gauge your effort without data.
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
More and more coaches are using this approach with athletes, as sometimes the same effort on paper doesn’t mean that it felt the same when you do it. Life stress, energy levels, sleep, fueling, day of the week in your training block can all impact how hard something feels. RPE is a scale from 1-10 where 1 is super easy, basically no effort, where 10 is the hardest thing you have ever done.
If you select a ride on FulGaz, you can set yourself a plan based on RPE – for example, today I want to ride at a 7RPE, so quite firm. Or other days, you can choose an easier loop and approach it with a 2-3. Remember, the idea here is it based on how you FEEL, so no numbers allowed!
I have been a big fan of this one lately as I restart my pre-season training. I have scheduled a lot of endurance rides lately, and if I followed them rigidly to endurance power, there is no doubt that at my post-off season fitness, my heart rate would climb above the endurance zone and therefore start putting demands on different energy systems, which isn’t the point of the endurance ride.
Instead, I use the ‘talk test’ – for the recovery day rides, I should be able to have a conversation with no problems, for the endurance rides, be able to chat but not the entire time, give some space to breathing as well.
You can put this to the test by talking to your kids, partner, singing out loud if you are meant to be keeping it easy on the ergo. If you start to get caught up in the momentum of a ride then simply raise politics or religion and that’s sure to get you talking, and slowing down to a more manageable pace.
Long, hard efforts
On the other end of the spectrum, if you do have prolonged efforts to do (eg, 8 mins threshold etc) then it can feel horrible just staring at the power for those efforts that feel like they will never end.
I like to begin by riding to target power, noticing how it feels, and then hold that while focusing my attention to other sensation cues. For example, relax my shoulders, breathe into my belly, make sure I am making nice circles with my pedal strokes and not stomping too much. sending my energy down into my legs and not death gripping the bars. All these cues will actually help you complete and repeat the effort, and be more in touch with how your body responds to the demands. I find the home trainer is the perfect place to begin practicing these cues as you don’t have as many distractions, and with enough practice, you may notice that the feeling translates to outdoor riding as well!
There you have it! Other ways to gauge your effort in a hard workout without being a slave to the numbers. All metrics have their place, but by mixing up your methods you can learn to become a more intuitive rider and when you do have to hit that perfect power curve, you will be mentally refreshed and ready to do so.
Until next time
Brodie’s Set up
Brodie uses a set of Elite Nero Smart Rollers to keep the fun flowing on FulGaz.