What I Learned About Training Efficiency from an Internet Outage

by | Jul 16, 2022 | Mindset

If you’re living in Canada, you likely heard or experienced the internet and cell outage that Rogers had last week. While we didn’t lost cell coverage, we did have a day sans internet at home (and all the cafes in town were rammed, effectively making them useless). While I’ve come to terms with crappy internet over the last few years and am slightly better at keeping my cool when the signal is bad, I still DO NOT do great when I’m home, have a day of meetings planned, and the internet craps out. Traveling, I expect that and try to avoid heavy interneting on days when I know wifi might be if-y. But when you pay a lot for your internet every month, you assume it’s going to work.

As you can guess based on how thrilled I sound in that intro paragraph, the day did not go well. I did everything that a total rookie would do: kept refreshing the router, scrolling Twitter threads with the minimal data my phone was able to pull in, waiting until the last minute to move around calls, checking wifi signal over and over again…

Basically, wasting a couple hours of the day. The irony is that my to-do list had a few non-internet things like articles to draft, but I was so kerfuffled by the lack of internet that those non-internet-needing tasks also got delayed.

So, a day later, I’m able to sit back, assess, and see that I did a dumb thing. And I’m setting a new rule for myself—when the internet is out, I will:

  1. Work on non-internet to-dos (START HERE!)
  2. Do household stuff (cleaning, organizing, meal prepping, bike repairs)
  3. Take the day/afternoon off. Just stop wasting time stressing and use that time for actual relaxation instead, if it’s clearly not resolving quickly.

How does this pertain to training?, you might be wondering.

Well… How many of you reading this have had a workout stymied by your smart trainer not loading your workout right, the weather being dicey, your Di2 not being charged, your bike being broken/in the back of the car that your spouse drove away with, your device not charged, your internet not working so you couldn’t do your group ride on Zwift?

I thought so. This is where having those rules for when things aren’t going according to plan can be incredibly helpful.

What I’m proposing is that now—while nothing is awry or amiss—you come up with your set of workout rules similar to what I listed for my ‘when internet is out rules’ in the event of an internet outage (or whatever other training drama comes your way). Maybe that looks like a yoga flow that you print out or download on Prime so that you have it even if you’re offline. Maybe it’s simply a commitment that if your devices (including your bike) fail, you go for a 30 minute run or 60 minute walk. Maybe it’s committing that even if your trainer workout isn’t going to be perfect due to a download or Zwift issue, you do the thing anyway, using the trainer as a ‘dumb trainer’ instead of freaking out that it’s not going to be perfect. Maybe it’s that after 15 minutes of fiddling with your device/bike, if you can’t get it to work, you go for a ride on your other bike/do a run instead/do the imperfect version of the workout on the bike if it’s rideable.

Having these rules in place makes it easier to not just throw in the towel and skip a workout altogether, or waste most of the time allotted in your busy schedule for the workout on fiddling with getting ready for the workout. Like Ian Brisbin said on our recent interview episode with him, the only way he manages to get training in on his busy schedule is by being organized and having everything ready to ride. Barring that, have a Plan B ready to go. (If you work with a coach, you can always ask him or her what the optimal Plan B for workouts is, and maybe even work together to create  alternatives for easy rides/workouts/long rides.)

The caveat to this: Don’t default to Plan B immediately when something goes awry. Looking at my new rule set for internet outages, I can see how it would get tempting for me, the minute the internet turns off momentarily, to opt for the ‘well, guess I’ll take the afternoon off’ option versus spending a few minutes troubleshooting or just getting to work on a non-internet thing to start with. So don’t use this as an excuse to let yourself off the training hook too easily!


Before you go, check out our book, Becoming A Consummate Athlete, right here:


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