By guest KIT blogger, Dave Andersen
Training is like homework in that you gradually accumulate fitness and technique (knowledge) that builds towards an event or race (exam). That’s an over simplification but I’ve often thought there are many similarities. We toil away daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly on the pieces to the fitness puzzle. Maybe you have some pop quizzes (training races or group hammer-fest rides) that lead to some big tests (races). Marathoners and Ironman Triathletes are training for big one-day tests. Their races are so long and grueling that you should probably only do a few each year, so you can’t really re-take the test anytime soon. You get one shot—kind of like the bar exam.
Bike racers have different stresses because they don’t have the pounding of running. Bike racers can and probably should race often to sharpen their skills and get into the rhythm of racing. This gradual accumulation of stresses (physically and mentally) can wear you down. Just try a multi-day stage race in the mountains.
Follow the Curriculum & Set A Goal
Like a successful school curriculum, training must follow some tried and true recipes for success. Tackle the fundamentals first:
• general conditioning
• strength training
• base miles
• FTP training
Build upon these fundamentals by sharpening them with intensity, all the while allowing for appropriate recovery periods. Each component of the curriculum has its own distinct feel and stress (or lack of stress). Maybe your “test” is the weekend group ride or run, or maybe it’s the State Championship race.
Not everyone needs a goal but I’ve found it gives a little more purpose to training.”I must train today because I’ve got a big test coming up and I want to do better than average”. That’s a little trick I’ve used for years to not skip training. On the other hand, listen to the little voice in your head that says you need to rest (and cuddle with that someone special) to absorb that training. I will close with this: Perhaps the key to happiness and the Fountain of Youth is to always keep learning, keep moving (training), and to always strive for a well-balanced lifestyle. This, of course, is KIT!
*Dave Andersen lives in Boston and works in the educational publishing business. He shares his passion for cycling and sport with a wide range of friends and competitors.