Endure by Alex Hutchinson



I'm only about halfway through this book. It is interesting but so far it's not really telling me anything I hadn't read before or talked about with others or even thought on my own. I don't want that last comment taken as some sort of credit for great ideas. I do think that after 38 years of riding, 312,000 miles, 700 races and a lot of reading and discussion that a lot of topics have been hashed out.

One initial thought would be that all training should be replicating the expected physical and mental challenges of your event. Thats right, physical and mental. By the time you toe the line at the big race you should be ready in mind and body. Too many people are lacking both.

That leads me to say this: too many people just don;lt train hard enough, even though they think they do. One of the firsts things my current coach (6+ years together now) asked me was whether I train to failure or race to failure. I said not on the latter but I have on the former. If we don't push ourselves to our upper limits, and that should really hurt, then we can never know what we're capable of. I'm opposed to failing in a race. My training should take to the limits or beyond so that on race day I know how far I can go. And, maybe I can go a step further, as they're is always more.

When we train we need to push the limits. When I see the results of my field test (and I try to do better each time we test, even after almost 20 years) and my zones have changed, I continually try to train at the upper ends and then go beyond them. If we just always stay within the wattage range, maybe we'll happen to get stronger but we have to push into the upper ends and go beyond. I'm not saying I always do this but like in todays intervals the goal based on power tests was 326 for steady state and I held 333-350. That last effort shows I could probably do all fo them at 350, so what don't I? The one minute goal was 360 and I went for 390-420. I held that range on each. Why not 420 all the time? As I was doing these I thought about my one minute PR power at 612 watts. Could I throw that in and come back to a 5 minute at 330? I was about to say no but I'e never tried it. Maybe I could.

My times at Cleves the last few years are definitely off do to mental fatigue with that event. After 325 races on the course I really just don't care. I can ride at 85-90% and still put out a good time. Theres no reason that I shouldn't be riding with more power and going faster. My times are in the mid 22's. I should be able to get back in the 21's. My training power is at times better than what I put out in that event. When I've raced at state and national competitions my power is some of the best I've ever held. Even at 55 years old, I'm as strong or stronger than I was at 46-48 when I was posting better times at our Tuesday race. I just have a hard time caring about it. Its good training but thats it.

So, with plenty of book still to go I have no need to be convinced that our minds are critical to our success. Once we achieve a certain level of fitness, we need to be able to dig deeper to pull out more power. We have to train our mind to make our body look past the pain and just do it. When I see people quitting in their training, and really no where near their max HR or holding power well below previous efforts, its all in their mind. They have to believe. They have to push through it. We all have to take things a little deeper into the unknown. Training is the pace to do it.

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