Belief vs Reason
So, kicked off the road season with a basic 'ramp' test to get a fitness/power baseline. No big deal, right? Went into it confident, calm and without qualms. Verify that I understand the process and get started. A little more than 16 minutes later, my power drops and I have to quit. I see the line drop and my entire mental state crashes and an emotional tsunami of failure, disgust, frustration and a general "I hate tests. I hate this computrainer. I suck. I hate it all." It took all my remaining concentration to repress the impulse to explode. Fortunately, a quote I'd read in a small cycling coffee table book helped me keep a lid on it.
"Don't throw your bike. It's not professional."
I can hear you laughing. It's funny now, but at that particular moment I was run right up against what I believe and what I think and how those two things aren't always the same thing and how much more potent the former can be. I realized I believed "tests" were always things to get an "A" on and that I was used to getting "A"s and when it didn't feel like an "A," because I had to just quit when my body failed, I immediately believed I had utterly failed, triggering a hugely negative emotional response.
Marc spent some time reminding me it was just a baseline test, something with which to gauge training effectiveness, and that most especially, a training test is NOT racing. Of course, my head knew all that and a small rational voice had been repeating the same thing in my head, but it took a few hours to come around. But, I think I'll be OK for the next session. First, I'll spend some time mentally preparing myself for it by reiterating to myself what it is and what it isn't. I also know some of the numbers to expect. But probably what will be most helpful in handling my inner hothead is simply knowing what numbers I want to beat. Yes, I know that's not the way you're supposed to go into a fitness test, but I'm not to a point where I can just dig as deep as I got without someone or something tangible to beat.
SO, the reason I'm sharing this with you, is because Marc says it's a common response. If this happens to you, I hope you'll do what I'm going to do, which is to forbid your feelings to determine what you will or will not do in terms of your training. Use science and reason to train, then come race day, top it off with a lot of heart and pop open the resultant can of high-octane whoopass.