Updated: May 5
In all the workouts we have to manage the efforts based somewhat on our perception of the ride and make a decision based on how we feel.
The structured workout files are a great tool. But the prescription in them is not gospel. You have to apply your perception of the effort, the goals of the workout, and your own personal zones to your effort. These things all interact in and around the workout to help you make a decision each day about your workout based on how you feel.
Your decision making starts in the warm-up each day. For instance, it is better to have an easier warm-up than one that leaves you feeling drained. Pay attention to how your legs feel. If on a given day the legs don’t feel up to pushing the prescribed wattage in a warm-up then back it off a bit. Given the time to open up at an easier effort the legs will likely come around, leading to a better workout.
Not feeling the pressure to hit your “numbers” right off the bat can relieve a lot of mental pressure. Less mental pressure will leave you with a better mindset going into the workout. It is OK to be tired sometimes and push a bit less.
Of course we want to all push more wattage! But more important over the long term is to be consistent and finish our rides feeling good. You almost always want to finish feeling like you could probably have done one more effort if it was asked of you.