Thursday, 28 June 2007

Training - it's gotta be done but make it fun !


Following the Dragon Ride, I had my rest and recuperation, did my stretches, got the obligatory pummelling from the sports masseur, so now I'm back in training mode.

I'm not at all scientific about training. I calculated my heart rate zones a few years back, and always went out wearing my heart rate monitor. But nowadays, I'm going all old school and just go by perceived effort and feeling.

It's not that I can't be bothered, it's more about me wanting to enjoy all aspects of my cycling. Getting bogged down in all the minutiae of where my lactate threshold kicks in, or am I at 60% mhr or 75%, takes the fun out of the training. And I'm not convinced that my results were any better for having done that.

I am an amateur cyclist who has a full time job. Cycling is a hobby, so enjoying the riding and the racing is very important. Spending all that time watching graphs and gadgets all in the hope of winning a race is not my thing.

I don't do diets either. How can I enjoy my meal if I'm spending all that time counting calories ?? Fair enough, you may lose the weight eventually, but then you put the weight back on once you stop the regime. I won't count calories. I just eat. As long as there's a healthy balance and there's a good variety of fruit and veg I'm happy. It's not about regimes but just adopting favourable habits.

The same goes for cycling. As long as there's a good balance between the long and short, the fast and the slow, the easy and the intense, I'm content. After that, I work on specific areas depending on my weaknesses and the events coming up.

At the moment, my long rides are at medium/fast pace - a club run or a cyclosportive. I get my short rides in during my 15mile commute. My intense stuff is done at the track cycling meets. With all the criterium races that are on I'm focusing on doing intense efforts. So intervals are on the menu - turbo trainer work (often to the sound of Destiny's Child or Kanye West) and sprint/hill reps around Dulwich Wood. Then for a bit of cross training I do easy runs around South Norwood Lake, and throw in a skipping session.

Clearly variety is key for me, as it keeps me motivated. I aim to do this on a weekly basis, though sometimes things get altered depending on my racing schedule.
This all sounds a bit approximative but it seems to be working for me. As long as there's continuity, it's adapted to my goals, and it motivates me I'm happy.
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