Workout Review: Karsten's Max Aerobic Intervals

Click here to see Coach Serena's original post and discussion in the Facebook group.


Taking a look at Karsten's file from Tuesday, I'll first make a few high-level observations:

  • Power/cadence/heart rate dropped a couple of times, so let’s ignore those anomalies

  • Karsten was fighting for the cadence and power targets but getting it done; we can see this in the difference between average and normalized power

  • The workout was completed as planned, with a push to the top of the Alp - hence yellow vs. green


Digging in a bit.

I know that Karsten came into this workout with alpine skiing legs. He knew he wasn’t fresh, but skiing the day before was worth the tradeoff. He wasn’t sure how this workout would go and is self-proclaimed "rpm challenged."


During the workout, I mentioned that the second interval is always easier for me: my body has warmed up, knows what to expect, begins to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. For Karsten, a similar thing happened, but not until a bit later into the workout.


When we look at Karsten’s intervals, we see an interesting pattern:


Average power / cadence:

  • Interval 1: 351 / 102

  • Interval 2: BAD DATA

  • Interval 3: 355 / 102

  • Interval 4: 361 / 102

  • Interval 5: 360 / 102

Karsten gets stronger as the workout progresses. He holds his average cadence steady throughout, but his power increases as his legs open up and he pushes through the uncomfortable and learns to feel the efforts.


Why is this important?


There are days when our legs feel heavy or we aren't stoked to get on the bike, and we can tell ourselves stories about how the workout will go before we ever start. Or we can pull on our PMA and commit to the challenge.


Karsten’s first effort was below target by more than 10 watts. During the second, the technology monster showed up. The third was better, but still under target…and guess what. He stayed focused, doubled down, and made the last two his best efforts. Oh, and then he knocked out almost 20 minutes at sweet spot.


We can review files, crunch numbers, and look at ratios all day, but when it comes to who is going to win the race, it often comes down not to who can make the most power, but who is willing to keep making that power when it hurts, when it doesn’t come easily, when it requires fighting for it.


Karsten, way to get it done. Maybe next Monday you’ll take a real rest day!

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