If you’ve followed me or this blog for a while, you know I love back-to-school time. Just like January 1 or a birthday, it symbolizes a new chance to refresh, set some goals, and really do a bit of a reset with training and racing. I’ve always had a back to school vibe in September, and many of you reading this do as well: Summer is for mountain biking and road racing, but September? That’s cyclocross season, baby! (And despite the fact that I’m not racing CX right now, it still feels like the shift in seasons happens.) So, how can you harness the power of back to school? I have a few ways!
Write down your assignments
Put all your races and workouts into your calendar. I say this time and time again, but it’s super helpful to make sure that your life/work calendar also has your training and racing schedule on it. If you’re a premium Training Peaks user, you can do the sync this way. If you’re more like me and you use an Excel spreadsheet for your training log, you may not actually add every workout to your calendar… but you can set a recurring daily task to train and/or update your training log so that’s always on the task list!
Go back-to-school shopping
You may not need a new pair of loafers or a school uniform (though I won’t judge if you treat yourself to a new notebook or planner!). But is there anything you need so you can train comfortably in the fall? This may mean some cooler weather layers or a good raincoat. I don’t think you need to buy a whole new wardrobe, but it’s nice to treat yourself and fill in the gaps every once in a while!
Clean out your backpack from last year
Clean out all those gym bags/gear bags/coolers/tote bags that have been accumulating in the van. You know the ones I’m talking about. This is also a good chance to clear out your gear closet and get rid of some of the summer stuff that you haven’t touched all season. Get rid of expired gels that you haven’t touch, clean out pockets of everything, and do a full clean of your gear… which might include adding some white vinegar and an extra rinse to your laundry cycle if you’ve had a sweaty summer.
Audit/append your sleep schedule
If you have kids, you probably are doing this for them as school gets closer/has started: Bedtime gets a little earlier since mornings are getting a bit earlier. Take advantage of that and do a bit of a sleep audit on your schedule as well. As our upcoming guests Juliet and Kelly Starrett told us, there are very few people who can get by on 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Almost all of us need that 8 hours to be at our best—and some of us need the full 9 and that’s OK! (We’re in that category, if we’re honest. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s the goal.)
Use this as a general reset
New year, new you? I personally love having a few times each year that I consider to be opportunities for a reset when/if needed. January 1 is obvious, then I like a Q2/April 1 ‘start of spring’ check in, then my birthday is in June / summer solstice, then there’s back to school/Yom Kippur—you shouldn’t be making huge sweeping goals at all of these milestones, obviously, but I do find it’s nice if I feel like I’ve gotten a little off-kilter in the last couple months, to give myself this breathing room and reset. This can look like a week off from training and spending some time on goal-setting and planning, or it might be more of a mental reset where you wipe the slate from a semi-crappy summer season.