Here I sit, over a week into the New Year and I have yet to put into writing what my cycling goals are. Not that I haven’t been giving it thought – a whole lot of thought – but more than likely that I have been a bit afraid to commit to some lofty goals. Coming back from 8+ weeks off the bike has fueled a bit of reticinse as to what I may actually be able to conquer in 2018. Can you relate? Perhaps you are not in “come back mode” due to a recent surgery, but maybe – just maybe – you allowed yourself to have a fluff year in 2017. It could be that you have just been drifting along, doing some fun rides and have not really be training for a specific event. Read on and I believe you might be inspired to set some goals of your own and put them down in your own writing.
Be Realistic in Goal-Setting
It is all too easy to get excited about a goal and get carried away on that wave of emotion…with little or no experience to be able to attain such a goal. You have probably heard of a cyclist who has been riding for about a month proclaim that they are going to do a century the next weekend. Or someone who has been riding for years announce that they are going to ride Cross Florida, while they only ride 100 miles a week. While it’s great to have ambition, it must be kept in check with reality or else failure and / or injury are likely to occur. The emotional cost of failure is difficult to overcome for most. Talk about your goals with a cycling friend whom you respect and bounce your ideas off that friend, or go to a trainer / coach and have a consultation. Be prepared to be honest about your weekly mileage, how many hours a week you can devote to training consistently and do your research about the goal you are preparing to tackle.
Have a Plan
Once you have established your goals it is time to come up with a plan. In my experience with cycling and training others I have found that most individuals do not really know how to train effectively. To prepare for Six Gap, for example, most people simply go to the hills and ride laps or do repeats on Sugarloaf. While that is a fine start, it is hardly enough to train properly for a mountain climbing event. An established plan in writing is the best way to guarantee success, one that is measurable by power, distance, and elevation. Having an accountability partner is also a big part of having a plan. Again, choose someone you trust and help each other stay on top of the plan.
It has been said that, “No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” (Tony Robbins) When you have a down day, or week, keep it in the forefrontof your mind that you are moving in the right direction despite obstacles that come in your way. Beware: obstacles will enter the scene! Accept them as part of mental training, as having to adapt when Plan A goes awry. “Keep moving forward” may need to be your mantra – boy, have I used that one on many occasions. If you feel that you cannot possibly make the goal simply stop, close your eyes and imagine what it is going to feel like when you do succeed. Feel the pride of reaching the finish line. Let your mind take you to that place where you can actually see the images that surround you at the completion of the goal. There were many days on the 2014 cross country ride where I envisioned reaching the Atlantic Ocean, the crowd, the cheers, the smiles and the tears. I dreamt of how accomplished I would feel knowing that these legs of mine propelled me across the Mojave Desert, the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains of our beautiful country. That kept me going when my body screamed “STOP!” on several occasions. Keeping the end result in the forefront of your mind will likewise propel you to succeed as well.
Make sure you’re not in the 80% of people who have given up on their resolutions by mid-February by being realistic, having a plan and staying focused on what your goals are. I’d love to hear what your plans are for 2018, so be sure to leave a comment. I wish you the best and hope to share some miles on the road with you this year!
P.S. If you would like a little help in getting started, feel free to email me for a consultation. TrainingWithTracy@gmail.com