Saturday, April 23, 2011

Train HARD..and have FUN!

A lot of times I prescribe workouts for my athletes that aren't really much fun.  How do I know that?  Because I perform every workout that I prescribe...and a lot of them are just TOUGH workouts.  In fact, one of them almost had me puking afterwards.  And, I was thinking, if they're NOT fun..then maybe my athletes aren't doing them.  (BTW, I purposely have athletes email me their power files for just that reason- a) I want to see if they did them and b) I want to see if they did them at the intensity they should.)  And, if they're not doing them..well, they're not going to progress (get stronger/faster) and achieve their goals.  And, I think that reflects on a poor coach.  After all, it's my job to help the athletes reach their goals faster.  Therefore, I believe it's incumbent upon me (and all good coaches) to mix it up and make their workouts fun.

There really is no excuse why you can't train hard and have fun at the same time.  If you're not having fun training hard..then perhaps you should alter/change the way you're training.  Let's face it..when you train hard, it's uncomfortable.  Unless of course you're one of those lucky athletes that have a high Lactate Threshold and/or tolerance for pain.  Well, at least for me it's uncomfortable when the legs start burning and your HR is elevated for most of the ride. 

So, here's a list of ideas you can institute in your training plan/program to make it more fun when you ride/train hard:

a. If you're short on time, or the weather is not cooperating, nothing wrong with an indoor workout during the Spring/Summer.  Also, ride/train with a friend or a group from time to time instead of riding solo.  Chatting while riding will take your mind off your aching legs.  Definitely find a partner when doing Anaerobic Capacity workouts- share the pain.
b. pick a new training route when you ride. It will spice up the ride.
c. stop if you have to on longer rides and will allow you to maintain your energy levels.  Go ahead and jump on that cookie or pastry.  Get some colder fluids.  Just don't stop for more than 5 minutes.
d. wear the right stuff. If it's raining, like it was for my 3 hr. ride today, wear a good waterproof jacket and cover your shoes with waterproof covers.  There is nothing worse then climbing with cold wet soggy shoes where your feet are swimming around.  Dress in layers so if it gets too can take a layer off.  Heat stress will rob you of power/energy...besides making you feel like crap.
e. pace yourself.  There is no sense going out too hard on a long ride only to limp home. Finish strong!
f. ride hard one day then take a scenic recovery ride the next day.  Or, just take off the next day and do something fun.  Riding hard day after day will lead to overtraining and burnout.
g. keep your bike well maintained and adjusted.  Nothing more frustrating then going out on a long ride and having shifting problems, brakes rubbing, noisy chain/bottom bracket, etc.
h. treat yourself after the ride. Go ahead grab that beer, pizza, milk shake, cookie, earned it.  Make sure you consume some protein along with the Carbs.
i.  relax after the TV, better yet, take a nap..again, you earned it.
j. download your training ride, from your computer, and look at all of that hard work.  Check out the normalized power for the ride and elevation gain.  The harder you rode and more you climbed will make it more fulfilling.  Go ahead, pat yourself on the back for all your hard work.
k. if you're really lucky and have the time (and money) get a massage periodically after a HARD ride..or the day after.  You earned it didn't you?
l.  buy something for your bike or for yourself.  You don't have to spend much.  Bar tape for the bike, Gu's/Energy bars for the next ride, etc.

Don't lose sight of the best reason for cycling/'s FUN!  If it's not..make it.

Power ON!  Coach Rob

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