So, the first week of my classes at Endurance is over.
Seriously, just wow. I like to think of myself as in decent shape, but doing really intense interval training is a completely different animal than heading out to just tool around on the bike for a couple of hours. That's the point, of course -- training right below and right above your anaerobic threshold is how you get better at riding at it, but it's hard.
It doesn't help that I've been sick for going on two weeks now with some sort of mutant cold that I can't shake. I think it's a fact of life that when you have small kids in the house that there's just going to be a higher level of germ circulation than you might like.
One thing that has become clear is that I need to be religious about stretching and doing other body work outside of class. Boosting my intensity this quickly might not be the smartest thing I've ever done (although so far, I feel pretty decent). But my muscles are definitely tight, especially my IT band, which can be a bugaboo for cyclists as well as runners. Last night, I spent 30 minutes trying to loosen it up with a foam roller, one of those activities that's squarely between helpful and excruciating.
Today's class was particularly tough, especially the last interval set, which was meant to simulate the dreaded Seven Sisters, a particularly annoying set of rolling hills that sit on Ridgecrest Road in Marin County. If you check out the data from the workout, and especially that sawtooth pattern for my heart rate, you can see how I waver back and forth just over and just under my threshold heart rate. Brutial, but no doubt effective.
Before that last interval, I actually felt like I was handling the intensity slightly better than earlier in the week. One benefit of riding indoors is that you can really focus on technique, and making sure that you're activating your hamstrings and glutes as well as your quads as you pedal. I've been concentrating on that.
The other day in class, I had an interesting thought. I was looking around the room, and even though I was dying, it occurred to me that other people in the class felt even worse.
It's perhaps not nice, but their pain somehow made me feel better, and like I might actually be a competitve racer by the time this process is over.