WHY DO YOU RIDE?
As big races come and go we will realize one day that we no longer HAVE to wake up early to ride and gaining a few pounds won’t matter because we don’t have plans to climb massive hills anymore. It is easy to go back to ‘normal life’ and forget about ‘training’ and for some athletes this is fine. Their goal was not to be a cyclist, or get healthy, or find adventure. For some athletes the goal was to simply complete ‘x’ race–they move on to another chapter of life post-marathon, post-Ironman, post MTB-Stage race.
Today my thought is more to those athletes WHO DID WANT TO BE HEALTHY. Too often the ‘TRAINING’ process and pressure around a race ends up sending athletes down a less then healthy path. Bad habits are formed and resuming riding, following healthy nutrition and lifestyle is difficult.
Understanding why you ride is important. Social, personal improvement, health, excitement, exploration are all common reasons that should be kept central irregardless of whether you are training for a big event or ‘just riding’. Too often we loose focus on why we ride and, consequently we loose the fun.
So how do you avoid post-event retirement?
1) Plan for life-long adventures. Be excited for your big event(s) each year but also be excited to go ride your local trails, join in the weekly races, do a big loop near your home. Let your focus ebb and flow with the close-ness of your race but arrange your rides so that you are able to keep in good shape just by riding and putting in a bit of effort each week. Finding a mix of groups/friends to ride with so that you are challenged but also made to feel competent weekly.
2) Ensure your build up to your big event(s) are filled with friends, fun and adventure. Any workout can include friends in at least the warmup, cooldown, post-ride coffee and many workouts can include friends in much of the workout. Hill intervals can be done on small loops where no one gets dropped and longer flat tempo is a great time to let a friend sit on and keep you company. Meeting friends after the main set to ride is one of my favorite ways to motivate me to get my intervals done on-time and get a big long ride in with help from friends for motivation while tired.
3) Take time off from structured training, make sure you are healthy first BUT strive to keep routine and healthy lifestyle as a central tenant in your life. While some post race festivities are great, rarely is their cause for the party to extend beyond the night after the race.
Feel free to repy with Questions or ideas ! Or comment on facebook!