Cyclists are rarely eager to stop a planned workout. Sure, they might joke about it, but the truth is high-achievers don't want to quit.
There are some cyclists who will go to any length to avoid the did-not-finish (DNF) stigma, even for workouts. While that might seem noble and tough, in some cases you're better served by a DNF.
As a cyclist, it can be a difficult choice to end a workout early. This is because you're wrapped up in the emotion of the goal in front of you. You might feel guilty because of the time and money invested in this crazy hobby, or maybe you feel that a particular workout is critical to the rest of your season. There are a lot of reasons why goal-oriented athletes find it hard to stop.
To have long-term success, it's important to recognize when you should cut a workout short or not begin at all. It's possible that you'll do more harm than good. To avoid illness or injury, learn how to identify the warning signs.
Insignificant Contribution to Goals
At the beginning of each season, it's important to list your three primary goals for the year. These main goals should have sub-goals, or stepping-stones that will help you achieve success.
If the workout in question doesn't have a significant impact on the season goals, it's easier to eliminate than one that does have impact. Seldom does a single workout have critical, season-make-or-break importance. This is important to remember if you aren't feeling well, if you notice fatigue or a muscular problem that a workout might make worse.
When a cyclist has been ill leading up to a key workout, it can be difficult to predict how the workout will go. For example, if a cyclist has a bout with the flu on Monday and Tuesday, he or she might feel good enough to do a long ride on Saturday or Sunday. The decision is made to "just start and just see how it goes."
If the workout is short, it's usually easier to quit the session than if it's long. For example, a cyclist decided to start a century ride after having the flu earlier in the week. The first 56 miles went well. He was riding strong and at the front of the group.
At one of the stopping points, his face lost color and became pale. He was nauseous but felt that he'd be fine after eating. After the fueling break, his speed was noticeably slower and he was obviously struggling, compared to earlier in the ride.