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.
RBR REPLIES: Here’s our 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.
Next Article: Physical Activity and Longevity
Lou Lamoureux says
A couple things:
If it is important to me, like when I’m training for an event, I make time. mornings before the kids get up works best for me, but what happens when they wake up barfing, reach the end of the day, and didn’t get that workout in? I tell myself I’m just going to ride for 5 minutes. that usually leads to 10, which leads to 20…and if I’ve done 10 and still not feeling it, I stop.
It should be noted a SMART trainer is key here in getting those workouts in during the early morning hours, or in inclement weather, and an indoor ride is way more efficient than an outdoor ride. Try ZWIFT or any of the other apps to make it interesting and less like work and more like cycling the great outdoors.
I trained too hard and not intelligently decades ago, so I try to avoid overtraining. I use Golden Cheetah to monitor my Coggan Training Stress Balance (TSB). Overtraining can kill your motivation and make it really hard to get on the bike.
80% of your rides should be easy (Zone 1 or Zone 2). Too many people get out there and expect personal bests every week. It’s a lot easier to get on the bike if you know it’s going to be an easy zone 2 ride than looking at your calendar and thinking you’ve gotta do this complicated workout with a dozen different intervals in every zone…
Sometimes motivation can come from something simple. I rebuilt my bottom bracket (there was significant slop) with new bearings and it’s smooth as butter again. There’s a joy in the pedal stroke that feels so good. I can’t wait to ride.
Clean and polish your bike or wax your chain or clean your rear derailleur, do these things after you finish a ride (you’ll dread them if you have to do it before you get on the bike), they are things that are easy to do and can give you a boost of motivation. In the process of rebuilding my BB, I took it apart before realizing I didn’t have the right BB tool. So I rode my race bike into town to my LBS, It’s a 22 year old Softride that has crossed from Seattle to Williamsburg, was used in RAAM 3 times (1 team, 2 solo DNFs) it has more than 30k miles on it and people in town told me it was beautiful and looked like new, because it was clean.
I’ve got a new race bike on order (my 3 bikes are old enough to drink, so I think it’s time). that’s the most expensive motivation booster there is, but that’s one of the reasons why we have garages full of bikes…
And finally, less expensive than a new bike, but costlier than laying out your kit the night before, get a coach, they can help hold you accountable.
Michael Stoecker says
Put your training plan on a calendar. Use notifications. Put your riding kit out the night before near your trainer or bike.
Tom Csillag says
Your RBR reply is correct. I raced, held a full-time job with seasonal overtime, raised a family and attended family events. Unless you think you can make it as a pro, then accept that your training won’t be the life priority. There’ll be cycling events/races you miss. Make the very best of the time you’ll have, and above all have fun. Riding a bike is a lifetime sport. I’m 77 and still riding. I didn’t make it up to Cat 1 racing, but I have a lifetime of enjoyment that cycling brought me.