Individual tolerances: Part 2

Catch up on the first post on knowing your tolerances here.


Indoors or outdoors

Individual tolerances for indoor training vary dramatically—some find it boring, others appreciate a bright, safe, warm workout environment during winter. Training indoors is time-efficient during a busy work week and allows for tight control over hard interval sessions. But training inside is often harder on the body and mind than training outdoors.

Being outside in a natural setting has the added benefit of improving body chemistry. Our brain’s response to nature is significant: it boosts activity of Natural Killer cells, increases production of feel-good brain chemicals, and decreases stress hormone levels. The result: boosted immunity, improved focus, heightened productivity, lower levels of inflammation, and decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms.

That’s a big, powerful list.

Wired or data-free

It's hard to escape technology these days. Outdoor workouts used to be the exception to this, but no longer. Those who work with me know my take on this—use data as a tool to measure progress, but don’t let it become an obsession. Nothing can take the place of being in touch with how your body feels.

If you feel you need data-free time, take it frequently. You’ll be better able to absorb the benefits of ecotherapy listed above, and you'll stay in tune with your body's biofeedback. 

Training load

Tolerance for training volume and intensity is earned over time, through hours and hours of work, combined with patient rest and adaptation. Over time (one. quality. workout. at a time) the body adapts and is then ready to ratchet the load to the next level.

A common mistakes made by new, fired up cyclists is attempting to manage the same training load of a 4-year cyclist who has been on a progressive load build for years. The result: hormone suppression, reduced confidence, burnout.

Scale your training load relative to your level of fitness and experience. Seasoned athletes are ready to (and often need to) ratchet their load to the next level, whereas novices need time to develop their tolerance and mechanics.