Workout Intensity - The Shovel

I am in my first week in the All-Purpose Road training plan. Tomorrow, I am scheduled to perform “The Shovel”. The IF on this workout is a little daunting. I was wondering if I should do this at less than 100% intensity. Last Sunday, I did the Full Frontal and my NM and AC numbers adjusted downward significantly from the estimates established during my Half Monty. FTP and MAP were virtually unchanged. Both training sessions were performed as part of the Half Monty/Full Frontal double plan. I assume the estimates for NM and AC are average expected values for someone with my FTP and MAP.

If you NEED to adjust, adjust. There is a post here on the forums from Sir Neal and there is a post on the web site about adjusting ride intensity to ‘get through it’. BTW, I find the NM portions to be the hardest. Also, if you are on a smart trainer, use level mode for the NM/AC efforts. You will thank me later.

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I’ve completed the shovel three times and, in contrast to @jmckenzieKOS, each time have found the second set of intervals, where it transitions from map to threshold to map much tougher than any of the ac / nm intervals - this despite me being categorised as a time trialist with a weakness for repeated efforts.
Once I start moving back into the higher intensity intervals (with progressively longer periods of recovery) things seem to become a bit easier (relatively speaking).
Try it at 100%, you might just surprise yourself💪.
You can always reduce the intensity for the second set.

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Thanks for your thoughts. I will review the article on “getting through it” and consider utilizing level mode during these efforts.

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Thanks for the information. I will likely try the first set at 100% and adjust accordingly.

@dmgadry61 +1 for starting at 100. The Shovel can be a messy one sometimes but just hang in there and don’t get side-tracked if you are off on one or two of the intervals. As other have said, if you need to stop or adjust down then just figure that out when the time comes.

Personally I like the diversity of efforts in this workout and it helps me to get through it (versus Violator). Done right this is one that really can help you work on recovery after big efforts - breathing will be key.

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Just go do it. On Wednesday (two days ago) I completed The Shovel for the 7th time. That workout used to own me. Every time I saw it on my training schedule it totally intimidated me. After about the 4th time, I began to realize that the mental side of that ride was actually far worse than the physical reality. One of the things that has made me a much better rider is the Mental Toughness Program (MTP). Your mental attitude before, during AND after the ride are very important to your performance during rides. The more positive and constructive you can be, the more successful you will be during The Shovel as well as other difficult rides. What you say to yourself during and after that ride will stay with you and will set you up for the next time. The reality is not so bad once you become your own coach and cheerleader. Best of luck in the Mines!

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Truth!

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+2 Agreed on The Shovel being just as much about the mental side as physical. The Shovel was one of my first hard workouts and I don’t know how I made it through. I think I did it 3 times in the first 2 months. I dreaded it. I feared it. And yet I always managed to somehow make it all the way thru on 100% even if it was by the skin of my teeth. You can do it. And the more you believe in yourself the easier it will feel.

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Yeah, it’s tough. Real tough, but maybe not quite nine hammer tough. :wink:
As others have said - flicking into level mode and just giving it all for the short ones is best. Don’t fret if you don’t hit those targets (or if you go way over).
I always do it at 100%, but have been known to miss one or two sprints if I honestly can get the legs turning. That is more likely in Tool Shed though… (have you tried that yet?).

Kick arse and think positive - you’ve got this!

Chris

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Lots of great advice and encouragement in the responses. I certainly agree the anxiety of the unknown is playing a major factor. I will give it my best and hopefully it will be enough to get me through. I know the satisfaction of completion will be greater than the short term suffering.

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Just completed at 100%. I felt pretty good throughout. Once I completed the first set of intervals, I was confident I could make it. Not sure if it was just a good day, but it didn’t seem like the hardest session I’ve done. I remember “Who Dares” hurting a little bit more.

Thanks again to everyone for their encouragement.

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It’s a great mental challenge. The days I approach the 1st pyramid as a “warm up” and give my self lots of mental kudos, the 2nd is much easier to get through. But then, I do like this workout.

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As a general comment I’d add that a good way to approach any of these workouts is not to think of completion as success and anything else as failure. Despite the banter, that’s not the SUF way. It’s much more about getting as much as you can out of a workout and doing yourself justice. If that means paring back for the second set of intervals, then so be it. If it means spinning though an effort to be ready for the next one, so be it. So long as you’re honest with yourself and put in what you CAN then the workout is a success and you can be confident that you WILL get gains in one form or another. If anything other than total completion meant failure then 9 Hammers would be counter productive.

In short, try and change the anxiety over a workout and it’s unknown into positive energy for hitting a workout as well as you can and benefitting from it. And always remember, you’re way strong than you think/feel you are.

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@leebo @dmgadry61 All great points I would also suggest writing your thoughts down post workout so that you can refer back to them the next time it is on your schedule. Stuff like where did you do well, what can you work on, how can you improve performance next time (breathing, cooling, focus, etc). Keep the notes positive to inspire your future self.

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I rarely do this myself if I am honest (can improve, should improve…), but it’s a great suggestion. In the longer effort workouts even just a simple remind like “Once the middle MAP interval is over, the effort drops sufficiently for you to recover” or similar gives you something to hang on to. And notes on where you can improve give you real things to focus on that can take the pain away.

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The Rule of Three can be very useful:

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