In this episode of the Athletes Compass podcast, hosts Paul Warloski, Marjaana Rakai, and Dr. Paul Laursen talk with Phil Whitehurst, a prominent long-distance cyclist and key contributor to Athletica. Phil shares his journey from charity rides to ultra-endurance events, revealing the secrets behind his training, the mental and physical challenges he faces, and the fulfillment he finds in these extraordinary adventures. He also discusses the innovative Workout Reserve feature he helped develop, which aids athletes in real-time performance monitoring. Tune in for an inspiring look into the world of endurance cycling.

Key Takeaways

  • Phil’s Endurance Journey: Transitioned from charity rides to ultra-endurance cycling, emphasizing the importance of finding one’s rhythm and flow in long-distance events.
  • Training Insights: Importance of incorporating strength, VO2 max, and endurance workouts into a weekly training regimen.
  • Mental State and Motivation: Achieving a flow state during long rides helps in being hyper-present and connected with the surroundings, reducing daily life stress.
  • Balance and Lifestyle: Phil balances his semi-retired life, work with Athletica, and endurance training by integrating his activities and maintaining flexibility.
  • Workout Reserve Tool: A unique feature in that helps athletes monitor and adjust their effort in real-time to optimize performance.
  • Upcoming Goals: Despite a recent injury, Phil plans to participate in the Wild Atlantic Way and other major endurance events.



Paul Warloski (00:27)

Hello and welcome to the Athletes Compass podcast where we navigate training, fitness and health to help everyday endurance athletes perform their best. Today is another part of our series on the podcast where we get to talk with an everyday endurance athlete who has done some amazing adventures and accomplished some significant goals. We want to hear about the training, nutrition and life of these athletes and share.

their why so that others may be inspired for their own adventures. Our guest today is Phil Whitehurst, someone who's been a big part in the development of Athletica .ai, but also an accomplished long distance cyclist. Welcome, Phil. First of all, where do you live and what kind of endurance events do you do?

Phil Whitehurst (01:07)

Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

I live in the UK, born in the UK, I'm English, European as well, although we did leave the Union. I take part in what's called, it's called Audacs in the UK, but they're called Brevets more commonly worldwide. So North America, you might know them as Brevets. And these are long distance cycling events that generally start at about 200 kilometres. And they go right up to...

2000 kilometers or so and 2000 kilometers would be something that you would cycle in about one week so you'd average about 200 miles per day on these type events back -to -back that's the kind of events I take part in.

Marjaana Rakai (01:59)

Wow, so.

Paul Warloski (02:03)

You just admit it.

Marjaana Rakai (02:03)

I do Ironmans, but this is another level. How did you get started with endurance cycling like that?

Phil Whitehurst (02:10)

Well, I'm not fast, so if you're not fast, you have to go long, don't you? I don't know. I did some charity riding at work in 2010, and at the time I didn't actually own a road bike in 2010. I used to have a road bike up to 2002, which was my 1980s road bike, the 10 Speed. You know, the five cogs at the back.

Paul Laursen (02:36)


Phil Whitehurst (02:39)

And then I started doing sponsored charity ride for work, which was to cycle the distance from work, which is in the UK to Bangalore in India, which is one of our Indian offices. And it's roughly about 5 ,000 miles. So the idea was to cycle 5 ,000 miles over a year, which at the time I used to cycle to work, but I certainly didn't used to cycle that many miles per year, or at least I don't think I did. I'd have to add it up. And then my wife kind of said,

She took one look at the chunky tires on my mountain bike at the time and said, you'd better get a road bike. So I got a road bike. And then in 2010, I rode coast to coast across the country. I did a lap around the outside of our county, which was 256 kilometers, so 156 miles or so as part of that.

I basically rode every road in my county pretty much. I rode as many different roads as I could. So every time I went out on the bike I tried to ride a different road. I succeeded, I think I did 7 ,000 miles that year or 10 ,000 kilometers or so or 11 ,000 kilometers. And I discovered Audax that year, only a hundred kilometer beginner events, but I discovered Audax. And I discovered Sportives, which...

I'm sure you're probably more familiar with sportives where it's all signed and you have lots of banging music at the start and the finish and you get people cheering you and this, that and the other. And for my personality type, I'm quite an introvert really, quite a retiring person. Audax just kind of hit my soul. I just kind of, this is my kind of riding and I just really enjoy.

I enjoy the fact it's not competitive. I've not really been a competitive athlete. So it's non -competitive long distance cycling. You're just competing against yourself and against the distance. And it's full of oddballs. It's full of really interesting people that come from all walks of life. So you'll get surgeons, you'll get hand surgeons, you know.

You get someone who empties the bins or the trash, as you call it in America, and you have the most amazing conversations because you write these events because of the length of them. Certainly once you get up to 400 kilometres or so, you're riding through the night because of the timelines, because the clock never stops on them. So you'll have conversations and tell bad jokes at 3 in the morning and when the roads are empty, there's no one out there.

There's just the owls and the wildlife and the wildlife in the UK is pretty tame. We haven't got anything that's gonna... nothing's gonna eat you. You know? And it just captured my soul really. So that's how I got started.

Paul Laursen (05:36)

That's amazing, Phil. Yeah. I'm also an oddball and I have some roots also in ultra cycling. So Race Across America team event and just completely relate to what you're saying about cycling through the middle of the night and listening in the forest. Yeah. It's really cool. It's another kind of world and you challenge yourself.

in terms of how long you can go. And yeah, it's super cool. So it's awesome, man.

Paul Warloski (06:13)


Phil Whitehurst (06:14)

It is, and particularly when you get, there's early morning or late evening when you get an owl that just flies past your shoulder and then just, it just follows you along the road and you can just see this owl for, it might only be two or three minutes or so, but you've just got this owl alongside you and it's just looking for its meals, what have you, and it's completely ignoring you and just flying along there. It's just magical, just magical.

Paul Warloski (06:46)

You've kind of already answered at least part of this question, but what's your why? Why do you do these? I mean, the difference between doing 100k and 600k or 2000k is why do you do these really long ones?

Phil Whitehurst (07:04)

I think there's a concept called flow. It's also about where people say about being in the moment and being in the moment is a relatively recent phrase, I think, that's come to the fore. We spend so much of our lives with attention disorder. So we're distracted. We're moving from one thing to the next every five minutes. And when you do the really long events,

Paul Warloski (07:16)


Phil Whitehurst (07:34)

that all gets tuned out. And sometimes it might take a day to tune out, but you tune out to the rest of your life. You're in that exact moment. You're on that exact part of a hill. You're on that part of a curve. You're on part of a descent. You're looking at the moon. So you enter what I'd say is almost a different state of consciousness. And you almost feel...

that you're not separate from the stars above you, that it's all kind of connected and it's just a real calm, nice feeling that you have to put the hours on any endurance sport to get to. You don't get it at the start and you don't necessarily get it at the end, but there's a middle phase of these long rides where you're just in that flow state and everything just feels...

easy and you just pedal along, you can feel your heart beating, you're listening to your breathing, you're looking at the wildlife that you encounter, you're looking at the scenery and you're not thinking beyond that, you're not thinking about things back at work or the stresses of your life and it's just a really nice state that I enjoy being

Paul Laursen (08:59)

hyper, you're hyper present ultimately, Phil. And it's, you know, I'm again, you're causing me to reflect on my race across America with, and it was a team event race across America. I did with, with three other riders and a crew of 16, where we raced across the continent of North America from ultimately Los Angeles, California to Savannah, Georgia. But it's what is remarkable.

Phil Whitehurst (09:03)


Paul Laursen (09:26)

When we go back, we can take that group of 20 of us and we can get back in a room and we just, kind of to your point, we can go through, we remember so much. Think of your overall life, right? How much do we forget in our life, yet for whatever reason, we can go back as a group and we can pick out each individual moment of that six day crossing.

And to me, it just illustrates how present you get when you do these ultra sort of things. And even you, Marjaana, probably back to your Ironman that you just completed, right? Like there are a lot of that moments where you can probably, you know, it's quite, they go quite vivid in your mind. And same with you, Paul, with your long distance, long races too. So yeah, it's quite something when we do these ultra ultra things.

Marjaana Rakai (10:20)

Yeah, like I can so relate. Thank you for, you know, placing the word so nicely. Like I can, I can totally relate to that. And even like I was remembering my first triathlon, which is only three hours, you know, like it wasn't that long, but I just remember the feeling of, you know, oneness with the nature and being totally present and just.

Paul Laursen (10:27)


Marjaana Rakai (10:47)

with myself and everybody else, my new best friends who were doing the triathlon. But it's so beautiful that we always just remember it in our hearts. So thank you for describing that for us so nicely.

Phil Whitehurst (11:03)

Yeah, and even though you're working hard, you obviously suffer over these distances. I mean, you'll be working harder than I am. If it's a pre -hour event, you're working a lot harder than I am as the percentage of what you can do. But we all suffer at some point during these events. We have a phrase in the UK called type two fun. So it's fun in retrospect, but you weren't enjoying it at the time, I'd have you. But you get these moments of calm.

Paul Warloski (11:27)

Ha ha ha!

Phil Whitehurst (11:31)

Even when you're suffering you have these moments of calm that you take back into the rest of your life when you return to the melee that is modern life. You take that calm with you.

Marjaana Rakai (11:41)

totally. Yeah. Yeah. And I think it takes a certain person, a type of personality to enjoy the suffering. Like when you prepare for these events, of course you put in the work, but in like mental minds, like mentally, emotionally, you're getting ready to suffer and you're like, I get so excited about it. because I, I know that on the other side of the suffering is just such a beautiful feeling and emotions.

Paul Laursen (11:43)

Mm -hmm.

Marjaana Rakai (12:13)

But let's get back to your typical training week. Can you walk us through how you train during the week?

Phil Whitehurst (12:22)

So I got very good at going a long way quite slowly. I'm still quite good at doing that. That's not something I needed to really train because I've got so many years of doing that. Part of the puzzle that was missing for me was how to incorporate high intensity because...

it's assumed that because we're going for seven days or my shorter durations are kind of more 12 hours, one happy, because you're going for that kind of duration, you don't need to do intensity. But as I found out, you do that it all helps build your overall sort of kind of fitness. So my typical week is Mondays is normally a rest day, which is what athletic always gives me. So Monday's my rest day.

And then Tuesday I do what's called strength endurance. So this is where you're doing low cadence but in a big gear. So you're working the legs quite hard but you're not aerobically working hard in my view. You're aerobically at more kind of low tempo maybe but you're working all the muscles in the legs. The legs are going really quite hard.

Paul Warloski (13:39)


Phil Whitehurst (13:40)

but at a lower heart rate. So that's kind of Tuesdays. Wednesdays is often VO2 max. Now something I haven't really said is that I do all my training outside through the winter as well, year round. I'm not really a turbo person. I do have one. It does sit there in the hall, but if I can go out, if it's not snowing and I'm not going to go down on ice, then I will go out.

and I've got a local hill that I go to that's about 20 minutes from the house. It's fairly easy to get to. And then there's a hill that I do hill repeats on, the O2 Max. It's about four or five minutes so I can do the long hit which kind of fits that picture. And Athletica tells me how many to do, although I sometimes vary it, but the AI tells me, you know,

some weeks I might do two so if it's a recovery week I might just do two of them but another week I might do six or seven so I might do 28 minutes of VO2 max which is probably about the limit I would think and that gets me actually really confident about doing hills which even if you do long distance if you do race across America you go through Colorado you'll go through the mountains you still do hills so you still need to be able to do hills.

Paul Warloski (14:46)


Phil Whitehurst (15:08)

If you've gone up hills as hard as you can sustain for 28 minutes, then when you come to your actual events and maybe I'm working at tempo or working at threshold, it actually doesn't feel as hard as it really should feel because you've got that confidence that you can maintain that and maintain it for the time that you're due to do it. Then first days is generally...

shorter endurance ride and a shorter endurance ride is all relative but generally Thursdays is a two, one and a half, two hour sort of aerobic zone two ride undulating again it's outdoors I've probably got

probably about five or six different regular routes that I like doing and I just sort of vary them around. So sometimes I go east, sometimes west, sometimes north, depending on the type of training I'm doing. Fridays is threshold. So again, on the left, on the left, you tend to have shorter threshold efforts. They tend to be five minutes or so on the ones that I get scheduled, but maybe I'll do 10 of them. So I'll do 10 times five minutes.

Paul Warloski (16:09)

Thank you.

Phil Whitehurst (16:23)

with a couple of minutes rest in between. Saturday is generally four to five hours and that's generally the morning. I also like to train in the morning because if I don't train in the morning I get distracted doing something else in the morning and forget to go out. So I always go out first thing in the morning, as soon as traffic's cleared a little bit. And then Sunday is a little bit of tempo.

So I've got a nice little circuit I like that's roughly a flat -ish bit of road that's about 20 minutes long without any junctions. And that's just right for a 20 minute tempo interval. It's a bit of everything really, VO2 max to endurance. That's my typical kind of week. And then some weeks I'll have the Friday off, so I won't do the threshold, I'll have the Friday off. So I'll have Monday and Friday off and cycle the rest of the days.

Paul Warloski (17:20)

Thank you.

Phil Whitehurst (17:20)

I'm not so good at the weight training that gets scheduled but I do kind of body weight stuff when I'm out. So if I go for a walk I'll do tricep dips and push -ups and pull -ups and those kind of things. Because I'm not a gym person either, I'm not an in -built person. That's my typical week.

Paul Warloski (17:31)

that's good. That's good.

Well, that kind of leads us to the question about how do you balance all of this? I mean, you train a lot, your races are long. How do you balance training with the other commitments in your life with work and family and social activities?

Phil Whitehurst (17:56)

Well, I'm semi -retired. I pick up projects that I like doing that catch my interest, like the work I'm doing with Athletica at the moment on workout reserve. At the moment, I kind of spend two days a week on that and I make that afternoon. So basically, I spend my afternoons doing the Athletica work. I do my workout in the morning, my session, have my lunch, then I'll sit down in front of the computer in the afternoon and get that work done.

We don't have kids, so we haven't got any kids to look after. Obviously kids take up a lot of time. Once you've got kids, that's a lifetime commitment. They're probably still at home when they're in their 30s, so that's a lifetime commitment there. And then the endurance rides, I try and tailor them for my wife to come along if she can.

So I got her a new saddle a couple of years ago, so she wasn't very comfortable on the bike. And then we went to a bike show down in Alexander Palace, down there in London. And they had one of those pressure mats, electronic pressure mats that you sit on, and they sold the saddles with the cutouts and so on and so forth, got her a good saddle. So she'll often join me on the Saturday ride. She'll come out on the Saturday ride.

Paul Warloski (19:20)


Phil Whitehurst (19:21)

So we're riding together and it's tailored around here. So the AI might complain that I haven't gone hard enough, but it's not about me. It's about I'm still getting the time in. It's still endurance building and my wife gets to enjoy it. So we get to have a cafe stop somewhere. If I do them myself, a five hour ride, I won't stop. I just ride straight through because I don't need to stop and eat really. I just ride straight through. And then...

She's at work during the day, I cycle in the morning. So in the evenings we're both home. That's how it works.

Paul Laursen (20:01)

And I think it would be remiss, I'm just going to take over a bit, Paul. It'd be remiss to miss not asking you about workout reserve, which you work on, Phil. So tell us about workout reserve and your role in that feature. What is it and what do you, yeah. Tell us about it.

Phil Whitehurst (20:23)

Okay, so, well, Paul asked me on another forum if I was responsible for the aerobic decoupling thing on Garmin Connect. Now, I have to talk about what Garmin IQ is. So, Garmin IQ is a API and a set of software tools where you can build custom data and custom metrics that can run in real time.

on Garmin devices. Now they can run on the edges, which are the cycling computers, and they can run on the watches. Now, I think there's about a hundred and something watches. I've lost count of the number of Garmin watches, but there's so many different watches from swimming to golf to rowing to swimming. But Workout Reserve is focused on cycling and running. And what Athletica does, or what the AI part of Athletica does, is it profiles each half.

each athlete. So it looks at their pacing and their power profiles from everywhere from 10 seconds up to two hours and it profiles their personal bests for those durations. So personal best powers or personal best paces if it was running. And this was something that Workout Reserve was something that you used to get in your post -session review. So you get this green line on this graph with your heart rate and your power.

other things. And I must be honest Paul, it didn't really, I didn't really understand what it meant to me really. I couldn't associate it with the workout. I'd done my VO2 or I'd done my endurance and I was saying well what's that telling me?

Paul Laursen (21:59)

Mm -hmm.

Phil Whitehurst (22:09)

But then you say you asked if we could try and could we do that in real time and I think we were a little bit naive about the challenges to do that but so...

It was a project we decided to take on and I decided to take on and persevere with.

Now Workout Reserve on your Garmin allows you to see in real time how you're performing against your personal bests across a range of durations and it gives you an idea of how much you have in reserve during your running or your cycling. You know when you're doing your VO2 max it tells me how rapidly I'm heading towards a personal best or gives me a clue as to whether I'm going to burn out or not. So...

It really gives you a sense of how to approach your workout. Because you can see it in real time now, it helps you to adjust your pacing or the amount of power you're putting out so that you get the best out of your workouts.

Paul Laursen (23:13)

well described. It's not an easy one to articulate. And I think you did a very, I think you did a very good job. Yeah.

Phil Whitehurst (23:15)

It's not, no.

Paul Laursen (23:19)

just to finish on that one, it is a feature that is unique to Athletica and yeah, currently you don't get anywhere else. This was invented by our AI guru in the backend, Andrea Zignoli, and Andrea and Phil work close together to bring this to everyone in real time. And yeah, I use mine every day when I'm riding and it's...

The more like kind of like to Phil's point, the more you use it, the more you, you start to be able to use it as a tool. And yeah. And, and you, the cool thing also is you can do it. You can use it over short durations and also long duration, type workouts as well. Right. And I find, I find both, kind of interesting and there's actually this bar that shifts on your, your device as you move from, you know, across these, you know,

hard, punchy efforts over to ultra long type distances and durations. So yeah, super cool.

Phil Whitehurst (24:25)

Yeah, I think seeing workout reserve in real time, to explain to people who don't know, workout reserve shows you a percentage of your workout reserve, how much you've depleted that workout reserve. And before it was real time, you didn't really get a sense of how that related to what your perceived exertion was, what your heart rate was doing, how your legs were feeling, and so on and so forth.

Paul Warloski (24:48)


Phil Whitehurst (24:52)

Once you've done it across a range of workouts, as Paul was saying, you get a real sense of how that ties into whether you can repeat that interval and something you'll find that workout reserve, when it hits zero, that means you've hit a personal best and you rapidly find out that if you hit a negative number, so you've basically set a new personal best on your first interval, you can't repeat it. Well, at least I can.

Paul Warloski (25:11)


Phil Whitehurst (25:21)

you get to your second interval and you've burnt your matches, you've set fire to the matchbox and you're struggling on that second interval to get, even to get down to 15 % sometimes because you've burnt it. So this is a bit about the pacing that you learn that what is repeatable for you. If you've got five intervals to do, what should you be aiming for on workout reserve? And you really do get a personal feel for what are your...

Paul Warloski (25:28)

Ha ha.

Phil Whitehurst (25:49)

targets for your intervals to aim at, independent of your heart rate and your power and so on. You can just, I mean, I do have power showing, but generally I have workout reserve showing. I think I have my cadence showing. I don't have heart rate showing. And I can pace my VO2. I can pace my temper. I can pace my threshold. Just looking at workout reserve. Cause I'm on an outdoor road and I ride the road all the time for the same workout. So I know when I get to a corner.

Yeah, my workout reserves should be about 60 % at this point. And if I've gone a bit harder, it's like, maybe I've gone out too hard and then I need to back off a little bit. And then when I get around that next bend, then yeah, I should be down to about 20%. And again, if I'm lower than that, then I'm heading towards a PB, but I'm not working too hard. So it gives you all those kinds of insights that we've been trying, people have been trying to solve for years really, haven't they?

Paul Warloski (26:28)


Paul Laursen (26:48)

Yeah. And what's cool is that it, it's not like you're just talking an absolute power number, which is kind of how, you know, people talk today. They talk about, you know, how much power are you kind of doing and stuff? And, you're just looking at this. It's, it's completely specific to you and what you've done in the past. And I don't think, there's anything else out there that really gets at that yet. and I think workout reserve is maybe one of the first things that actually looks at.

It's looking at your profile, all that matters is you right at the end of the day and what you've done in the past, your training. And this, this encapsulates, like you said, it's your, your power or pace profile. And it's, it's, it's looking just at that. And it sees what you've done in the last six weeks. And, which is pretty cool. So we're, we're quite excited about it.

Phil Whitehurst (27:24)

us today.

your preference.

And you can do it outdoors. You don't have to be on a smart trainer. You can be on a smart trainer. If you pay your device with a smart trainer, then you can do it on a smart trainer. But you can do it outdoors. You can do it indoors. You can do it wherever you find yourself. You're not tied to that

Paul Laursen (27:40)

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.



Paul Warloski (27:57)

Thank you.

Marjaana Rakai (27:57)

I've been using the workout reserve all the time too, in my training and I absolutely love it. It's really cool.

Phil Whitehurst (28:05)

Thank you.

Paul Laursen (28:06)

Yeah. Yeah. We often talk about it as a athlete coach after as well. So it's a good, again, for the coaches tuning in, it's pretty, it's pretty kind of useful to reflect on it. especially when an athlete has a certain comment about,

Paul Warloski (28:12)

It's grateful.

Paul Laursen (28:21)

they went too hard or felt, you know, that, that, that session felt easy. you can really look at, you can look right at the workout reserve.

the ugly green line and whatnot, but you can look at it, right, on Athletica and then you can actually, like, the coach can actually get something from that too, right, in terms of how deep they've gone relative to their past, so that's pretty helpful too.

Marjaana Rakai (28:46)

Yeah. Yeah. I think it can be really helpful also for new athletes to kind of tune into how they feel and their RPE kind of understanding. Okay. They started feeling really hard at 8K, you know, let's look at their workout reserve. it's, it's around 10. It should be feeling really hard, right? So I think it's super useful tool.

and I'm excited to learn more as we go. So very excited. Phil, what is next for you in your endurance journey?

Phil Whitehurst (29:27)

Well, as I was saying before Paul joined, I came off the bike yesterday, so I've got an injured spine at the moment. It's a small injury, but it's an injury. I was in hospital all day yesterday. I managed 20 minutes of my bike ride and came off in some gravel on a sharp bend, basically, but unfortunately, I landed badly. So the next four weeks is recovery.

Paul Laursen (29:36)


Phil Whitehurst (29:52)

which is mostly, certainly the next week's going to be just basically getting out and walking and staying mobile. I'm not someone for sitting around, but I'm also sensible about recovery. I've had some big accidents in the past, so I know to be patient with these things to get a proper recovery. So I've been advised not to go on the bike outside while the bones fracture's healing, because obviously if it gets...

gets another impact then that won't be good especially it's the spine so that won't be good but I've been allowed on the turbo which is not my favourite but it's there and that's what these are the kind of things where you think it's great that you've actually got the turbo because you can actually still get some work in. I need the back to calm down a bit because it was yesterday the accident the pain's a lot better than yesterday already so hopefully that will improve and I've got an appointment next week with the Fracture clinic.

see how it is after a week. But the end, hopefully in about three and a half, four weeks, I'm hoping to do a 720 kilometer ride over three days. So it's 240 average a day. The amount of climbing will be about 7 ,000 meters roughly, maybe a bit more, maybe 8 ,000 meters, maybe the height of Everest, who knows. It's not Everest thing.

it just happens to be that height. And that's purely because of the pure distance. You will reach those climbing figures from the distance. So people think about the distance, but they forget you're also doing the climbing. These aren't flat rides. Hence why VO2 is useful. So that'll be over three days. And we're actually doing it via what in the UK are called bed and breakfast. So accommodation each night. So we're not planning to ride through the night on this one.

Paul Warloski (31:42)

Thank you.

Phil Whitehurst (31:50)

planning basically to leave leave about five in the morning be finished by about nine in the evening ten o 'clock at the latest get something to eat get some sleep get up at five in the morning get going again so basically it's riding from sunsets or sunrise to sunset so we don't get to ride through the night but we do get the sunrise and the sunset so that'll be over three days and

That's a practice run for what's called the Wild Atlantic Way, or WAAWAA, is our nickname for it. And that goes from a place called Kinsale, which is in southwest Ireland, to Londonderry, which is in Northern Ireland. And it covers the entire west coast of Ireland. And every single headland that exists on that coast, we hit, we cross, we climb.

every bit of headwind we ride into, every direction we ride into. There's a 40, I remember from, I rode it last time in 2016 and I remember there's a lighthouse called Blackthod Lighthouse, which is connected to World War II, but that's a different story. But it's 40 kilometers out on this headland, 40 kilometers straight out into the Atlantic. And there's nothing between that and North America where you guys are. So you just get,

these winds on it. I remember in 16 I was riding at 12 .5 kmph working as hard as I possibly could and there were some guys that were ahead of me and they were coming the other way and they were doing about 45 kmph in zone 2 so it's that kind of weather and it's 2134 km but we've got a bit more time this year we've got 8 days and

18 hours to ride in. So I'll set off on Thursday the 4th of July at 8 in the morning and we'll need to be finished so because it's not competitive you just have a you have a earliest time that you can finish a maximum speed you can go out overall and minimum time that you can finish out so we'll finish on Saturday the 13th of July.

at 2am, that's the deadline, so we need to be on the Peace Bridge in Londonderry by that time if we're to get validated and have the ride count, otherwise we don't appear in the results. The first thing with these rides, they're success or fail, you don't have anything in between, you don't win them, you don't place them, you don't get first, second, third, either you finish or you don't, but along the way, whether you finish or not, you still have one hell of an adventure.

So that's what's next for me in July. Fortunately, I should be recovered by then. I have to accept that fitness will be lost, but I'd rather recover properly. I've seen too many friends from mountaineering, because mountaineering is another hobby of mine. I've seen friends in mountaineering who've been injured and try to do too much too soon, and they become permanently injured.

and particularly with the back you don't want to mess around. So recovery first and then endurance shouldn't drop too much that should still stay fairly good over four weeks but obviously the VO2 max and that kind of side the high intensity side will have been lost so I might need to do some some priming in the in a couple of weeks or so just just to give that a bit of boost the two weeks before I go out there so that would normally have been a taper.

Paul Warloski (35:12)


Phil Whitehurst (35:39)

But I think the tapers started now and then I'm going to do a bit of a boost before I go. Because I don't think endurance is going to make much difference to endurance. I think it's more the sort of top end of my fitness that's going to drop.

Paul Warloski (35:42)


Phil Whitehurst (35:55)

And then after that, I'm going to rest. I'm going to rest. I'm going to rest. I mean, what tends to happen is that your whole year is focused around your main event, which is obviously what Atlantic Way is for me this year. And there can be a little bit of a... I suppose this is talked about much, but after you've built up for so long for such a big event, there's a bit of a... When you finish, there's a bit of a downer.

Paul Warloski (35:56)

Phil, do you, yeah, after that, I'm curious. You're gonna rest?

Paul Laursen (36:00)

Thank you.

Phil Whitehurst (36:24)

Everyone suffers a little bit of a drop in motivation in just getting on the bike. I know we've ridden a long way, but you've been on the bike for so long, you've been training so long, you go to the event and what happens in the event, that's just how it unfolds. It doesn't matter whether you, it doesn't really matter necessarily how you do it. It's just, you're at the event now, you've made it there, you've done everything you can and you just go with it.

but when you've finished, whether you're successful or not, you can have a little bit of a downer. I'm quite an even temperament, so I'm reasonably good at not having a big downer, but usually after these events, you usually have a couple of weeks where you just don't touch the bike. You just go for a walk and just enjoy the peace and quiet and just chill.

Yeah, until I think of what I'm going to do in 2025, which I haven't decided yet. I think I've decided what I'm doing in 2026, which is race around the Netherlands, which is the same distance, but a bit flatter. So that's 2100 kilometers and that's ultra racing rather than Brevet. So something a little bit different for me. But I ride a recumbent, which is a reclined bike and quite popular in...

in Holland because of the terrain, old Netherlands rather. So I think that's 26 sorted out. 25, I've got a choice, London, Edinburgh, London, which I've done before.

Or something else, maybe a big tour, who knows.

Paul Laursen (38:04)

My three takeaways from the conversation, well, it really started with Phil's why. And that, you know, for all of us with what we do is we are searching or we wind up in this flow state, whether it is an ultra cycling or mountaineering, that suffering that we're doing in training. It brings this presence.

And then it also winds up, you know, driving resilience for everyday life.

You know, back to Athletica, the utility of it and the usefulness is that, you know, you're going to get these, longer sessions, these L twos, you're going to get the hit type work. and this is structured so it makes, you know, your everyday life and, and even doing ultras, a lot easier and doable to, to push up in those, those difficult moments.

And third, I guess we spoke about the project that Phil works on workout reserve. And this is a tool that you can actually use to help you with your pacing across both high intensity and long duration workouts. So be sure to check out Afarika and Phil's workout reserve that's going to continue to evolve in coming months.

as he continues to heal up and perform more of these incredible events that he does.

Paul Warloski (39:44)

Well, thanks to Phil for joining us and that's all for this week. Thank you for listening and join us next week for the Athletes Compass podcast. You can help us by asking your training questions in the comments, liking and sharing the podcast, giving us five star reviews because after a conversation like this, we clearly deserve it, and engaging with us on our social media for Phil Whitehurst, Marjaana Rakai and Dr. Paul Laursen. I am Paul Warloski and this has been... the Athletes Compass podcast. Thanks for listening.

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