"The Tyranny of Perfect" and "The Possibility of Better"

I came across these great concepts from author Seth Godin which I believe apply to what we do on the bike- be it in riding, training, or competition. Here is the relevant excerpt:

The Tyranny of Perfect
“PERFECT closes the door.
It asserts that we are done, that this is the best we can do.
Worse: Perfect forbids us to try.
To seek perfection, and not reach it, is a failure.”

The possibility of Better
“BETTER opens the door. Better challenges us to see what’s there, and begs us to imagine how we can improve on that. It invites us in, and it gives us the chance to seek dramatic improvement.”

So I invite you to seek “better” in your training. Each and everyone of us can do better, and by focusing on personal improvements, we can find daily fulfilment instead of expectations for the “perfect” result or outcome.


Very well stated, and definitely something to consider as we try to improve ourselves as athletes. Thank you!

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I had to make a decision today to ride my intervals as per @Coach_Theia’s training program or ride the first stage of the Tour of London. I picked the tour of London… And while I feel a little guilty about it, I killed it! Clearly this training is working because I finished 216 out of 848 riders… top 25%! Last year I was happy to finish in the top 50%. I kept my watts in check and rode at a very comfortable cadence. So thank you for making me a stronger and smarter rider, Coach! Anybody else doing the Tour of London?


So happy you saw improvement! Way to go @Betsylink!

Nice result @Betsylink. I’m not going the tour. I couldn’t make it work. In the past I’ve done the workouts in a tour ride. Write it down and
Did it old school
There is no ride for me today in TP so
I get to go to a meatball party.

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I’ve done the first two and ended up in the last 100 each time. I love to ride and I love these workouts but am I doing something wrong if I’m not seeing marked improvements? @Betsylink how love have you been doing the training program? Congrats on such a huge improvement!

I’m doing the Tour, did Stage 1 yesterday instead of the workout (shh, don’t tell @Coach_Theia), felt pretty good. I did the short course, group B. I’m hoping to do Stage 2 tomorrow (group C), but I’m fighting off the dreaded crud. Knee is also acting up a bit, and there’s a lot of climbing on later stages, so I might wimp out and do workouts later in the week.

I’d call that being smart :wink:

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On occasion what I’ve done if I want to do a zwift event and a workout is to do the short course, not kill myself, then do 1 set of intervals or something after.

@gossimrr a girl’s gotta eat! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

@Coach_Theia, a marked improvement! I wasn’t even tired by the third lap and I was able to power up in the right places to move ahead, even though it wasn’t a race LOL! I started out somewhere around position 400 of 848 riders and I ended up at 216. It actually made me smile when I was powering up the inclines and other people are slowing down. This is good stuff!

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@stacypro that’s a great idea! It was actually my original plan but I got home late and ran short on time so I couldn’t do 2 rides. Plus I did the tour of London last year and I wanted to see if I had improved at all.

@reneea2002, i’m not sure what I’m doing differently than anyone else in the 360 Velo training; I’m just trying to follow the cadence and watt requirements in each interval. Even if I find it difficult, I try my best to match whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing. It has definitely been helping as far as I can tell. I have to say, I am not a good sprinter, so I practiced my standing sprints yesterday and it did help me get a good jumpstart. I got like 10 PRs throughout the ride. I am stronger in a lower gear and 80-90 cadence. So for example in last nights ride, if I felt like I was falling behind or I needed a breathing rest I shifted down one gear. My watts output went up slightly but I was able to pedal less quickly and still pull ahead when I needed to. And for some reason I don’t breathe as hard when I’m not pedaling as fast. I have no idea whether this is right. But I do know my exercise induced asthma seems to kick in less. And I did get a notification yesterday from TrainingPeaks that my threshold heart rate value increased from 134 to 144 so I think that’s good. Does any of this make sense? @Coach_Theia, maybe you can impart your wisdom…

@Reneea2002 I’m not crushing a new FTP either. I have noticed in my irl riding this summer better hill climbing skills, more confidence and things like that. As @Coach_Theia said not me, not all gains are getting on a podium or getting new pr’s. I’m older thAn most here so I think some of my progress and ski acquisition has to do with that.
@Betsylink the veggie meatballs were yum!

@gossimrr I’m 57… I feel your pain!! But then, age is only a state of mind.

@Betsylink I’m 53. I’m doing a bunch of tests to hopefully figure things out. My ftp tanked after the summers bout of exercise induced asthma. If that’s what it really was. I hope to improve over the winter!
Menopause madness.

@Reneea2002 improvements can have many forms and can be different for different people. It’s also about context.

My main message (bottom line) here is: focus on personal progress, whatever that means to YOU, and avoid comparing yourself to others. Here are a few reasons/considerations to support that:

  • I rode part of the Tour of London today outside of the event module, but alongside the participants as I was doing my workout. I was doing hill repeats on Box Hill, so I’d go up for about 5-6 min during an interval then back down - so I was able to see several waves of riders. Because I had read your comment earlier, I was paying attention. In the front of the group, no one was going at less than ~3.0 w/kg. In the second half of the group the power was around 1.5-2 w/kg and below. Because the Zwift environment favours w/kg, those with higher w/kg tend go faster than how this would play otherwise outside. Another thing that can play a role is terrain. I get crushed on flat roads but am able to crush on rolling terrain and climbs, so flat stages are my worst nightmare. Everyone is different.

  • Group rides - not everyone enjoys or is good at keeping up with a group. I will use myself again as an example. I really dislike co-ed group rides. I don’t like having to keep up with men and don’t like having them dictate the pace and I have to hang on. I can do it, but I don’t enjoy it at all and always feel like a mediocre rider at best on these, unless I am riding with people who are not as strong/fast than me or it is a social ride. But I don’t let that define me as a rider.

  • Progress is never linear. Progress is not a straight line going up on a chart. It’s more like the stock market: it goes up a little, then down some, then up again, then down. If we are consistent with training and do our part off the bike to maintain a healthy lifestyle (good sleep, stress management, good nutrition), the overall trend should still be upwards when you look at the big picture.

  • It takes time. It takes a long time to see significant progress. Most people are not patient enough to see it through. Everyone wants immediate results. It may look like some people are getting faster results than you, but in reality you don’t know anything about that person’s progress and journey/history/level of fitness up until this point. It is rarely ONE thing that pushes progress forward. It is a continuous effort and a combination of repeated steps over time. Run away from anyone (in sports or nutrition) who offers you a quick fix or quick result. They aren’t real and won’t last. It took me every bit of two years to see tangible/big results from my training with my current coach. It could take you longer, or shorter than that.

  • What is progress to you? That’s a question that can and will have different answers at different points in your life. For some of our athletes who are coming back from injury, it’s simply being able to do a ride. For others, it’s re-establishing consistency after falling off the training wagon. For others, it’s feeling good about being a badass person who challenges herself. And for others, it’s getting faster on the bike.

  • How do you measure progress? Once you know what progress means to you right now, it becomes easier to measure it - keeping in mind what I said above about the stock market line of progress. But it has to be tailored to YOU. The best way to figure out if you are getting faster is to pick a segment/route that has a distance and type of terrain that are aligned with the typeof rider that you are, and do it every 3-4 months to see if you are getting faster. But it’s YOU doing it and you are timing it against your own self (prior time). This is NOT an FTP test, note that I don’t mention power here, but speed. In fact, I have been planning to incorporate this last concept into our training starting in January!

Hope this helps!


Thank you. Everything you said is very good reminders of things I know but sometimes forget lol. Its easy to get caught up in getting better and faster but the bottom line is im having so much fun being exactly where im at right now. I love the workouts and so i thought the group rides would be easier now than when i first started with zwift but they arent and thats alright. Im not a racer, i will most likely never be a racer but i love to ride and i will continue because it makes me happy.


Love this @Reneea2002!! You got it!!

Why do you think zwift uses w/kg to determine speed? As a “heavier” rider one would be kinda penalized right?

In real life if 2 riders are riding together given that they both have power meters and are riding at the same speed would the power output be way different if one is like 120lbs and one is 180lbs? Just curious