You reached your Mt. Sufferlandria. Now What?

If you follow our Mental Toughness Programme one of the first things you are asked to do is identify your personal Mount Sufferlandria. This is a your one big, ambitious goal, the reason you're putting in all of that hard work on and off the bike. Once you accomplish that goal and are standing victorious on the summit of Mount Sufferlandria, what's next? 

This might sound like Couchlandrian propaganda, but don’t be alarmed: the best thing you can do right now is rest, relax and recover. Do your best to avoid media commitments, excessive parties thrown by your fans and signing that new pro contract too early.

Why? Well, it’s well known that in order to get fitter, faster, and more BADASS, you need to pummel your legs with 9 hammers and spill plenty of holy water. However, all of that hard work is wasted when you do not give your body and mind the time it needs to recover.

The “F” word

A fundamental rule of training is that you should only train as hard as you can recover. It’s a safe bet that you were training  pretty hard during to reach your Mount Sufferlandria, so now it’s time to put your recovery into overdrive. Just how much recovery you need depends on how fatigued you are (there’s the “F” word). Let’s take a closer look at the factors that influence fatigue and determine just how much recovery is right for you.

  1. How did the stress of completing your Mount Sufferlandria compare to your previous 8 weeks of training? Was it a significant increase in intensity?  
  2. Were you fatigued from training or life stress in the lead up to your Mount Sufferlandria? Were you hitting your training as normal the week before the your event? Did you have a particularly stressful week at work or in your personal life?
  3. How do you feel right now -- are you pretty tired and/or fatigued? It's important to be honest with yourself here.  
  4. Do you train with heart rate? Did you notice that your max heart rate was lower for the final stages, that it does not drop as quickly during recovery periods, or that it is lower at a given power than it was 1-2 weeks ago?

Did you answer “yes” to all of these questions? If so take at least 2 days off the bike. After those two days -- days woefully absent of Suffering and stress -- take baby steps with two days of easy and short recovery spins. Turn off your cycling computer. Explore a new (ideally flat) road. Clear your head and legs.

If you answered “yes” to some but “no” to others, you still need at least one complete day devoid of Suffering and stress. Return to the bike with a recovery spin on Wednesday, and crank it up a bit on Thursday (but resist the urge to do a HIIT workout).

If you answered “no” to all of these, GvA would like a word.


How to CRUSH your recovery
As a Sufferlandrian, it behooves you to maximise your return on Suffering by recovering like Chris Horner attacking Vincenzo Nibali on the slopes of l’Angliru. To CRUSH your recovery you will want:
  • Extra Sleep. 30 minutes more a day helps and, if you can sneak in a power nap, do it!
  • Good Nutrition. Make sure you build your body back up with nutrient-dense foods. During a recovery week you can never have too many fruits and vegetables!
  • Yoga! While your body needs time away from the bike, you don’t want it to tighten up on you. Adding in a single 15 minute yoga session will keep your body loose without adding more fatigue. Sneaking in a morning session and an evening session would be even better!

Once you start feeling energetic again and are just itching to get back on the bike, we strongly recommend  starting up the 7-day Full Frontal Prep Week Plan. Not only will it get your body back into the groove of hard training, but it will give you the perfect opportunity to see exactly what kind of fitness boost your training gave you. Oh, and there’s no harm in sharing your BADASS fitness gains with the rest of Sufferlandria -- GvA and The Minions love hearing about fitness gains!

And then? Well, it’s time to get to work with one of our training plans, which are tailor-made to develop your primary weakness and develop your strengths.




Read more from Coach Mac Cassin

Mac Cassin has been coached by Sir Neal Henderson since 2009 and is a coach at APEX Coaching, with a focus on masters and junior racers. As an elite cyclist who also has to balance the demands of ‘life’ with his goals as an athlete, Mac has a deep understanding of how to get the most out of those who have limited time to train. Mac has raced at the World and PanAmerican championships and holds several US national and state titles. His studies were in Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado and has worked as a research assistant in the CU Neurophysiology lab.

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