One of the great things about humans is that we can make up some great stories. We do it all the time, often without realizing it. Mostly we make up stories about ourselves and our experiences. I don’t mean that we make up a bunch of stuff and pass it off as reality — I mean that we arrange our experiences in such a way as to attempt to make sense of them and to define who we are or hope to be. In that vein, I need to formulate a cycling narrative that will help me get back to riding fast.
I have a family, I’m 45 years old, and also about 20-25 pounds too heavy. I know that I can be relatively fast based on some decent results in the 35+ A cross races a few years ago. Back then I felt like I had some room to get even better. So I want to figure out how I can recapture some of the magic from that season. My family and I are going to be making some changes in the coming months that should improve our quality of life and I know that having balance there will help out quite a bit. I know that I need to, and in fact can lose weight. That alone — with decent fitness — will make an enormous difference. But my biggest and perhaps most controversial decision is that I am going to quit training.
Yeah, you read that right. No more training — at least training my body. I’m done with trying to put together a training plan and scheduling workouts. What I am going to do is ride my bike with an understanding of training principles. I intend on varying ride types and intensity. I will listen to my body and make sure that I’m taking it easy when I need to. But there is no way in hell I’m going to go out with the intention of doing some number of intervals some amount of time at such and such power or HR or perceived effort. I’m done with that.
No power meters, no HR monitors. I have the luxury of a variety of terrain in close proximity to my home and work so I can pick out what type of ride I want to do. I can ride flat and easy, I can ride rolling terrain, I can ride hills (steep hills!). And I can choose when to ride hard and when not to. Honestly, I think my biggest worry will be that I won’t ride easy enough often enough.
Instead of a structured training plan for my legs and lungs, I plan on training my brain. I think I can make some significant gains though psychology of effort. These gains will translate into race advantages as well as motivators in my week to week cycling. I think that the most under trained organ for bike racers is their brain and I intend to improve my mental ability. And when I say psychology of effort, I don’t mean all this macho bullshit about pain and conquest. I’m really talking about motivators and the way in which how you frame your situation can have a significant impact on your ability. I also want to investigate some interesting concepts regarding metering of effort and placebo effect.
So there’s my narrative. Ride my bike and think positive!