Let’s talk Training
I’ve had a lot of thoughts on training and coaching lately and I wanted to share those thoughts. Through my coaching I am able to work with a large diversity of riders, racers, and people looking for general health and physical improvement. I am NOT a nutritionist but I love talking about food and sharing interesting articles that I might have read or my own personal experiences.
I believe that most people seek out a coach for instruction, knowledge, motivation, and guidance. Coaching can be rewarding and very challenging. Training is hard there are no ifs, ands, or butts about it. Training isn’t about the ride, the workout, or the race. To train is to decide and except that you are going to change your lifestyle. You can’t go do a killer ride with your buddies once a week and say that you “train”. What you do is ride with your buddies one day a week. Training also means sacrifice. You must be willing to make changes in sleep, foods (diet), intake amounts, certain rides, free time, tv time, late nights, you get the idea. What you decide to give up, or cut back on depends on how serious and committed you are to your training and goals. People come to me with great drive and desire, they are motivated and I’m motivated to help them and watch them succeed. However, most people don’t realize how hard training can be. That accompanied by a change in life can be overwhelming, and a lot more than people can handle. It is my job to help people achieve their goals and I’m up front as possible about how hard it is and will be. Success and failure are determined by drive and sacrifice. To achieve a lot of my goals I need to ride alone, I know how hard or easy my rides need to be and my success depends on this. Most of the time it sucks and I’d much rather be with friends but I’ve made goals and I’m committed to them. This is why when I am riding with friends I truly am appreciating that time. There are times where a group ride can be a great training ride, but that ride is also a scheduled training ride with a purpose.
Another obstacle I have come across is outside opinion and advice. We all know that person who tells you you’re doing this and that wrong. That’s fine, that’s their opinion, but have they spent the time to break down your life, work schedule, current and past training, riding, injuries, family, and goals. What works for one person may be great for them, but not beneficial to you at all, especially if you’re at two different points in fitness. There are a lot of common workouts, training rides and routes but they need to fit into your training on specific days. There is an art to progress through training and recovery and the balance is very fine.
Burnout, it’s going to happen. It can be either mental or physical, but it’s a demon we all face. This is where I’m thankful to be a diverse rider. When I’m burnt out on the road, or cross country I can always downhill, dirt jump, or cyclo cross or vice versa. Another type of burnout is from an over expectation of results in a short time. People are impatient and want results yesterday and I wish I could do that but I can’t. My personal fitness has come from many, many years or riding, racing and most importantly learning how my body reacts to training. This is where I as a coach comes in. I look for signs of growth, weaknesses, strengths, fatigue, burnout and undertraining. Now let’s talk about undertraining.
Everybody I work with is on some type of body strengthening program. Each workout designed around that person and their goals. Through my own experiences I have use exercises that I feel are best fitted to cyclist and the rigors or riding. This works in the same way as a personal trainer has his or her go to exercises. I typically give workouts to clients to do on their own and then join them for a session with me overseeing their workout. Afterwards I am told that it was a much harder workout than when they do it alone. Why? The intensity is stepped up when I am there. They don’t lose track of rest between exercises or get distracted by phone, TV, family, or anything else. When it’s time to work out that’s what you need to do. Training is about having an amount of time to get things done and you better give it 100%, or accept that your goals are slipping away. Undertraining can also easily be applied to rides. Have you ever heard the phrase “the mind will quit before the body”. Well this couldn’t be more true, and it’s an area in training that most people won’t push themselves to. There is a pain that exists and when you reach it everything sucks. Breathing sucks, air sucks, daylight sucks, sweat sucks, your bike sucks, and when I’m there making you feel this pain I suck the most. This is the zone in where you reach the most progress but yet most people quit before they reach it. This pain zone is something racers are very aware of, and the more time you put you spend here the more you learn about it, how to handle it, and how you as a human are capable of so much more than you realized. Pain truly is temporary, and the glory of achieving your goals is the best reward.