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Psychology of intervals and motivation

neebneeb Posts: 4,362
I know I benefit from (amongst other things) 2x20s at FTP, but familiarity just seems to breed dread..

There's the procrastination when I get back home which means I tend to leave it until as late as possible. The feeling during the last minute or two of the warmup is something close to fear.. Then there are those familiar low points that I know will be coming - the realisation in the last few minutes of the first interval that although this feels pretty horrible, the second session will be much worse.. The point 5 mins into the second session when it's starting to feel really bad but there is still 15 mins to go.. The point at about 12 mins in when you think you won't make past 15 mins and are considering quitting..

Maybe I'm sometimes doing them at slightly over FTP and that's the problem.. But if I lower the wattage a bit it affects my morale because I then have to accept that my FTP isn't what I want to think it is.. :lol:

Other times though I just think that it's all down to attitude - maybe I could manage the harder session if I just MdTFU.

What strategies to people use to deal with the psychology of hard interval sessions?

Posts

  • zefszefs Posts: 484
    Try doing them less times per month?
  • webboowebboo Posts: 2,712
    15 secs on 5 mins off and they feel a doddle :D
  • neeb wrote:
    What strategies to people use to deal with the psychology of hard interval sessions?
    The most important thing is having a very strong sense of why you are doing them. If the why is weak, well so will be your desire to do the work required to become a more powerful bike rider. And if your why is weak then why do them at all?

    The next issue is about the intervals themselves and how they fit into the context of your overall training. Are they the right sort of work to be doing at the moment? One session does not a training plan make.

    Thirdly there are various ways to make such work more enjoyable - often it involves finding some ways help motivation during the effort, or doing them with a ride buddy.

    Fourthly, if doing intervals then execute them as they should be done for the intended outcome. No point smashing yourself if that isn't the aim of the exercise. Goes back to understanding the why.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Too existential for a forum like this ...
    I'm surprised no one has suggested going up to a mirror and asking who is staring back at them...
    Peter Sagan or Mary Berry
  • joe2008joe2008 Posts: 1,919
    neeb wrote:
    I know I benefit from (amongst other things) 2x20s at FTP, but familiarity just seems to breed dread..

    There's the procrastination when I get back home which means I tend to leave it until as late as possible. The feeling during the last minute or two of the warmup is something close to fear.. Then there are those familiar low points that I know will be coming - the realisation in the last few minutes of the first interval that although this feels pretty horrible, the second session will be much worse.. The point 5 mins into the second session when it's starting to feel really bad but there is still 15 mins to go.. The point at about 12 mins in when you think you won't make past 15 mins and are considering quitting..

    Maybe I'm sometimes doing them at slightly over FTP and that's the problem.. But if I lower the wattage a bit it affects my morale because I then have to accept that my FTP isn't what I want to think it is.. :lol:

    Other times though I just think that it's all down to attitude - maybe I could manage the harder session if I just MdTFU.

    What strategies to people use to deal with the psychology of hard interval sessions?

    I would say that if you're feeling like that in 20 minutes then you must be doing them well above your actual FTP, because you're not going to be able to hold that power for an hour.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,362
    I'm probably doing them at about 2-3% above FTP (in the weeks / months when my FTP has dropped and I don't want to admit it.. ;-)) but that seems to make all the difference..

    The "why" is a big and complicated question.. I have goals but sometimes they are not as focussed and specific as they should be. And I sometimes shift the goals to fit the training, which is the wrong way around, I know.
  • working at the correct intensity for you is key. 10 watts too high or low and its a game changer. you should be clear if its a hard aerobic session, that you should stay in that zone. too hard, and its a different session. honesty is best with your ftp, and being sensible with rest and recovery.
  • neeb wrote:
    I'm probably doing them at about 2-3% above FTP (in the weeks / months when my FTP has dropped and I don't want to admit it.. ;-)) but that seems to make all the difference..

    The "why" is a big and complicated question.. I have goals but sometimes they are not as focussed and specific as they should be. And I sometimes shift the goals to fit the training, which is the wrong way around, I know.
    Then sorting this needs to be your priority and will drive everything else, including training in a manner appropriate to your goals.

    If you really don't have a strong why, then you've executed your intervals perfectly since there is no right or wrong, just whatever you feel like doing at the time. Sometimes just doing whatever you feel like is appropriate, being uber-focused is not for everyone and not for anyone all the time. It's a part of learning about what drives and motivates you personally. Having a fire in the belly and being willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve optimal personal performance does not always come easy.
  • petecopeteco Posts: 176
    Made my evening thankyou.

    Pete

    jgsi wrote:
    Too existential for a forum like this ...
    I'm surprised no one has suggested going up to a mirror and asking who is staring back at them...
    Peter Sagan or Mary Berry
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,362
    peteco wrote:
    Made my evening thankyou.

    Pete

    jgsi wrote:
    Too existential for a forum like this ...
    I'm surprised no one has suggested going up to a mirror and asking who is staring back at them...
    Peter Sagan or Mary Berry
    Completely over my head I'm afraid as I've never watched bake-off - so I'm guessing she's not a pure climber vs. Sagan's all-rounder then? :wink:
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,362
    neeb wrote:
    I'm probably doing them at about 2-3% above FTP (in the weeks / months when my FTP has dropped and I don't want to admit it.. ;-)) but that seems to make all the difference..

    The "why" is a big and complicated question.. I have goals but sometimes they are not as focussed and specific as they should be. And I sometimes shift the goals to fit the training, which is the wrong way around, I know.
    Then sorting this needs to be your priority and will drive everything else, including training in a manner appropriate to your goals.

    If you really don't have a strong why, then you've executed your intervals perfectly since there is no right or wrong, just whatever you feel like doing at the time. Sometimes just doing whatever you feel like is appropriate, being uber-focused is not for everyone and not for anyone all the time. It's a part of learning about what drives and motivates you personally. Having a fire in the belly and being willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve optimal personal performance does not always come easy.
    Good advice thanks.
  • petecopeteco Posts: 176
    2 things:

    Do you know why you are doing the sessions, and are you seeing measurable results ?

    I slavishly follow TrainerRoad plans because I believe they will make me a faster cyclist. Believing this means I know why I am doing them. I am also motivated by the fact that I want to be at least as fast as certain other cyclists who I go out with.

    The good bit is that I see measurable results on the road - my times are faster, and I can cycle for longer with less pain the next day.

    I guess you need to be a certain type of person to do trainer sessions - I do look forward to the challenge of completing them most days.

    Pete
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 8,874
    I find over/unders much easier psychologically than steady intervals - even steady sweetspot intervals, I find a 12-minute over/under interval much easier mentally than 12 minutes sweetspot.

    I even find the way Trainerroad breaks up longer intervals with slight changes in wattage every couple of minutes makes it much easier... Even though physically it's not really any different than doing the lot steady.
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