How to Make Sensible Decisions and Influence Your Performance

Don’t ask me! I still haven’t learned one of the most valuable traits a good athlete can have – to rest!

In a conversation recently with Tony O’Connor (defending world record holder in the men’s Lwt 2-, Olympian and World Champion) on the topic of performance, he said “Sure Fiola, you had a habit of turning up to important races completely over-trained and white as a ghost”.

I find it hard to rest! But here are my thoughts on structuring training in the lead up to the two big events I will compete in over the next month-and-a-half.

The Engadin Radmarathon and the Alpinathlon

This weekend I’ll be in one of my favourite places in the world – Engadine my favourite Canton of Switzerland to take part in the Engadin Radmarathon!

The race has two lengths, 97km (positive elevation 1,325 mtrs) or 211km (positive elevation 3,827). I have decided to ‘only’ do the 97km for a few sensible reasons outlined below.

Why only 97km?

After suffering from a cold this month I feel like I couldn’t train as consistently as I would have liked, and the mileage I had hoped to achieve, didn’t really happen (I would have liked to have been up at about 800km but I only hit around 600km for the entire month).

So, the best way to prepare for my target race, the Alpinathlon, would be to train through next week and weekend, then reduce the mileage in the week leading into the event.

IF I chose to do the 211km course of the Engadin RM I’m pretty sure it would be Wednesday or Thursday next week before I’m actually fully recovered (and who knows, maybe even longer since I am just over the sniffles).

Hence my sensible decision to do the shorter route. Still feel like a wuss though!

Preparation for the Inferno Triathlon

For the Inferno Triathlon it will be a different story as I would like to peak for that – so Ill probably be more structured with my training. I will use the Zurich Metzgete as the last hard session before the Inferno – similar to what I am doing with the Engadin Radmarathon before the Alpinathlon except with a week of total rest between the events.


Despite it all, I feel strong on the bike, I’ve seen some improvements in my strength. I’ve always thought I am a better in the hills but this year Ive seen a marked improvement in my ability to maintain an average speed and wattage on the flat too.

My max wattage (according to the probably highly inaccurate records from my Garmin on Strava) for a 5 minute ‘test’ (which I didn’t really even test) was 392 Watts. Now, divided by my bodyweight (60kg) I get a score of 6.5. According to this chart – that isn’t too bad! I must be doing something really wrong.

Im pretty sure that my calculations are way out and without a power meter on the bike the wattage on my rides as calculated by my Garmin – is just an estimate. But what I am looking for is some reassurance that I’m doing something right in my training…at least then all I have to deal with is my head in order to pull a good performance out of the bag!

Comments? Suggestions? Mathematicians?


3 thoughts on “How to Make Sensible Decisions and Influence Your Performance

  1. Now, if you also go for Gigathlon, you’d have the trifecta of really cool Swiss multisports events complete: Gigathlon, Alpinathlon, Inferno Tri 🙂

    As for Strava calculated wattage (I’m a computational fluid dynamicist, after all), I haven’t looked at how it is calculated, but since it is based on Garmin data and body weight only, it can’t be more than a VERY rough estimate.

    I’ve checked the table now. Congratulations! World record holder isn’t too shabby!

    Let me have a closer look at how it’s calculated (if they decided to publish that), and I’ll get back to you with recommendations how to test it 😉

  2. Do! Im interested to hear more. We didnt use Watts when I was rowing – just for controlled lactate testing on the rowing machines. In the boats we measured speed (splits for 500mtrs) and heart rate. You’d think that cycling and rowing would be similiar but there is a lot more talk about power and wattage in cycling than rowing.

  3. Forget the 5min Wattage test with your Garmin and go for a steep climb – measure distance, elevation gain and time required and ‘calculate’ your average power output on

    Not 100% accurate but clearly better as the garmin… Goud hill for this worlout could be Etzel or Buchenegg close to Zurich. You’ll probably know them well.


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