Question: I’ll have a great week with solid rides and even new personal bests, but the next week, due to weather, family, work or lack of motivation, I just go through the motions. What’s the key to training more consistently? — Randy W.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Here’s my belief: The recreational roadie who juggles career, family, and other responsibilities with “serious” cycling has a higher HQ (hero quotient) than pros who do almost nothing but ride and recover.
It’s a real challenge to fit the bike into our busy lives, especially when we can’t justify cycling the way we justify duties for job and family.
We can’t say we ride to make money or to achieve fame. We ride because it feels good, it makes us healthier and it satisfies a deep need for challenge and competition, if only with ourselves.
So you have to accept that some weeks are going to be better than others.
During the fortunate weeks, it’s easier to get on the bike and easier to go fast. Then the weather turns bad, the boss tosses three more projects on your desk, the washing machine breaks, and it’s your turn to drive the kids to their soccer game.
Pros schedule “down” weeks into their training. Typically they increase their training load for three consecutive weeks and then back off mileage and intensity by about 30% during the fourth week.
But most of us can’t predict when we’ll be off the bike due to life’s many responsibilities. It probably won’t be the ideal fourth week of a carefully planned monthly buildup.
So simply write off the loss of cycling time and believe that it’s actually an advantage to miss some rides. You’ll be fired up and eager to make the most of it when you do have time to ride again. And your body will be more recovered, too.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred’s full bio.