One thing I’ve learned as an athlete is that plans and schedules are great, but sometimes a bit of flexibility and room go a long way. This time last year, I would have been pretty rigid with regards to my training. If the plan said 90 minutes, I did 90 minutes exactly – not 80, not 100 – 90 minutes. And if it was raining, snowing, sleeting, or all three – it didn’t matter I was out there. But this year, I’ve learned. It took me a while and I’ll be the first to admit that at times I can be a bit steadfast (okay stubborn), but I’ve added in a degree of flexibility to my training.
On Saturday I went out for the planned 3.5 hours in the cold, wind, and pouring rain. I did it because the plan said to. I did it because in some “sick” way I wanted to. I felt a sense of accomplishment with this ride and getting through the rough conditions that just weren’t that friendly. At my yoga class in the morning, one of my friends suggested it was “too cold” to be out there. My response, “well, I have to believe my competitors are out there training in the same weather – so I have to as well.”
But then Sunday came. Sunday was dry. But it was darn cold out there. Really cold. And extra windy. I had planned a 4.5 hour ride. I didn’t want to do it. It was too cold. I thought I could bundle up and get through it, but 4.5 hours in such weather is not fun. When I heard that it would be 12 and sunny on Monday, my mind was made up. I did it – I was flexible and rolled with the conditions. I switched up the training – took Sunday as a rest day and did my long ride today. Turns out it was a smart decision. I was able to make use of having the car and got a bunch of errands done and I was feeling a bit wiped out with some colitis symptoms anyway, so a rest was probably the smartest thing to do.
I had a great ride today. It was windy, but the sun was out in full force. I had initially planned on riding to Merrickville, but this would have meant a tailwind on the way out and a brutal headwind on the way home. Not fun. So I switched things up and ended up riding along Dwyer Hill for a long long time. Had a great time out there. 4.5 hours is a long time to not talk to anyone and to essentially be detached. But I really enjoyed it. I listened to some entertaining podcasts, let my brain wander, munched some tasty homemade oatmeal bars, and took in the bright blue sky. Really can’t ask for much more on Monday.
Looks like an excellent week of training ahead. Some good long rides scheduled as well as mountain bike ride on Wednesday at Kanata Lakes with the KingsBridge boys. Fun times. Next week I’m off to Creative Wheel to get some one-on-one mountain bike coaching – really looking forward to this. A few small things are coming together this week and I’m really just enjoying my bike. Sorry to get all cheesy on you, but I’m just feeling super lucky to be able to do this. And I’m working really hard on not putting pressure on myself. It is a fine balance – I have this gift to focus on my training and racing, but I feel that to “honor” this gift, I need to perform at a a very high level to make the sacrifices that Marc is making worthwhile. Yes, I know…