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Enjoying your training

Tristania's picture

By Tristania - Posted on 07 May 2014

Two things happen to me that cause me to prepare hard in reference to a certain date. The first is each engineering exam period. To put things quite frankly, it‘s a drag. I'm sure this semester will be particularly so due to it being the hardest I've done so far. Needless to say, I look forward to this period with no pleasure and will be very relieved when is all done.

The other thing I prepare for I also experience a sense of relief when it is all done, though despite this, it is not something that I dread. Indeed quite the opposite. I'm sure you can guess what it is, I'm not putting this on a MTB forum for nothing! Needless to say, it‘s the big bike races that I'm referring to.

Recently, I competed in the famous Convict 100 in Saint Albans. I trained exceedingly hard (whenever I had time to) for it and I‘ll be honest, it (both the training and the race) was painful. VERY painful. But at the same time, I loved it. To go further, I LIVED for it.

So how do I explain this paradox? Am I insane? (Plenty people say I am! But not in that way...) No. I make an effort to ENJOY my training.

“So bloody hard to motivate yourself to train over winter.“ “I don't want to physically push myself after a rotten day at work. I just want to relax.“ How often have we heard this or thought this ourselves? I have a darn lot. And that's why it‘s crucial to arrange a pattern of training so that doesn't happen.

So how does this happen? Or more specifically how does it happen that we DON'T enjoy training? I reckon one of the things. people do is have their program based around simply preparing for competition. In itself, that's no problem if we are driven, as I am, to do well in the next race. But if in doing that, it‘s possible to view it as a job as such and only care about what happens by doing our hill repeats, spin sessions and high intensity sessions and eventually it becomes a drag where we stop doing it because it's so painful and boring. So this will then both reduce our results (this time by lack of training) and our enjoyment of something that should be a darn lot of fun.

In the lead up to the C100 I learned how to enjoy my training and the are the ideas I want to put forth for others as to how to make the race prep experience as positive as possible, whilst keeping on target for an improved performance:

- I planned a mix of different types of riding throughout the week so that each day would consist of something different.
- I would have my “yucky“ sessions during short study breaks when the focus was getting me back on task as opposed to simply enjoy myself
- I would come to enjoy speed (no, not the drug...) to the extent that I could make long rides both painful and fun
- I try to train on tracks I really enjoy or have beautiful scenery to make the training experience pleasurable. For example, in prep for C100 I had easy rides on all sections of the course, where I got to know it better as well as came to experience the splendid views one would never enjoy at the front end on a racetrack!
- Mix solitude with company. I think doing training rides with others help you learn and enjoy each other‘s company and solo rides are an opportunity to escape reality. Doing a mix of them helped me
- When riding, appreciate it. Yes we want to work hard, but most of us do it enough in our jobs. Cycling is something we want to enjoy.
- At the end of a race, have a break and do some social rides. I forget to do this sometimes but it‘s really important to ensure we still love the whole vibe of it...

Cycling is a privilege and a pleasure and let‘s all make an effort to keep it that way. Hopefully you can benefit from these ideas Smiling


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