Saturday, February 25, 2017

#10WeeksTo100 - Week 7 – How to find the time

Depending on what else you have going on your life, finding the time for endurance training may feel like as big a challenge as your event. While the 10-week, 1,000+ mile training plan I have outlined can appear daunting to a novice rider, it is built on a balanced mix of distance and up-tempo rides that can be worked into the most hectic of schedules. You should also keep in mind that over training is that the most common mistake for many novice riders!   Here are some helpful tips for staying on track and dealing with the pitfalls of your endurance event preparation.
Riding into the Portsmouth TOSRV Mural - a TOSRV tradition
of mine.

Training Scheduling Tips:
  • The first step to training time management is to add your workouts to your calendar. Adding them to your calendar shows you are serious, and lets you spot and adjust for conflicts.
  • Don’t forget to block out some extra time before and after each workout for getting ready and putting things away.
  • It is also a good idea to start by blocking out the same riding time for the entire calendar period. If you finish early, you have spare time in your calendar to take care of the stuff that life throws your way.
  • If practical, schedule your long ride training days to start the same time as your event. As mentioned previously, this helps you know what to expect from your body the day of the event.
  • A regular outing in a fixed time slot will help you build consistency, and makes scheduling easier over time. Just remember you can be flexible when conflicts arise.
  • As you ride faster, your distance will increase for the same time on the bike. Getting a few extra miles in for the same amount of time can be very satisfying and show you’re making progress in your training.
  • If you have only 2 hours on a weekend where the plan called for 3, increase your intensity for the time you have. Here again, workout quality is just as important as quantity.
  • Save time by staying organized. When you put away things after your ride, leave them prepped for the next. Don’t loose workout time looking for gear or a taking care of a problem left over from the last ride.
  • If your situation allows it, bicycle commuting to work is a great way to find extra training time and miles. While you can’t always do your speed work out, commutes can be recovery or base miles days.

What if life gets too crazy? Here are some important thinks to keep in mind throughout your training and riding.

It’s supposed to be fun, not a chore. Yes, you have to ride, but time on the bike should be your reset time. Leave your troubles behind for an hour or two, and enjoy the moment. Another reason to not bring work along for the ride is to stay focused on your riding environment and staying safe. Riding in traffic or in a group is not the time to try and solve a work issue.

Your training can still be successful on 3 rides a week. Two weeknight rides and single long weekend ride can keep your preparation on track, especially if you make one of your weeknight rides an up-tempo ride, and you are still able to incrementally increase weekly long ride.

Quality can make up for quantity. When time is really tight, don’t under estimate the value of a short intense workout. At one hectic time in my life, I would take an hour before work and ride a couple of miles to a nearby river bluff climb, where I would just ride up and down the winding 3/4 mile hill 8 to 10 times, before heading home. This is just one way to pack a great workout into an hour or less.

Listen to Your Body. A stressful workweek can leave you just as fatigued as a series of hard workouts. This is again where learning to balance work, life and riding is important.

Be Realistic in Your Expectations. Where you need to cautious is when your schedule results in missing multiple scheduled rides or prevents you from incrementally increasing your long rides. The concern is that if you try your event with too little preparation, you risk an overuse injury that could have a long lasting impact on your riding. If you do find yourself cutting back miles week after week, consider adjusting your event goal accordingly. Remember, you are into cycling for a lifetime, not just the next event.

And finally, share some of your riding time with family. I have been fortunate to have a spouse who loves to ride, and we do lots of miles together, even though she does not like to ride the distances I do. Your rest and recovery days can be a great opportunity for relaxed riding with your non-competitive family member.

Learning to balance life, work and riding is all part of making sure you have fun. Learning these habits will prepare you for success for in your first event. And these are the habits that put you on path to a lifetime of fun, fitness and fellowship through bicycling.

Week 7 of the #10weeksto100 series. 

Continue to Week 8: Drink, Eat, Repeat

The series is intended as mentoring, rather than athlete specific coaching. The being the case, these are broad, general guidelines of a riding style and philosophy. You can find the series intro here - Preparing for Your First Long Ride or Century

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