It's November, and before we know it the Holidays will be here. For me, November is the month to start getting back in the saddle. It's also time to lay down the Octoberfest beer (bleh) and push myself further away from the TV and start getting back in shape. It sounds easy, but when you've been goofin'-off (not really) like I have been the last couple months it's hard to get started again. Just yesterday my friend, and former ridin' partner, Jason Wood called me up to see if I wanted to ride. My first thought.."NO!" Actually, my first thought was "HELL NO!". Why? Because I'm about as overweight and out of shape as I've been in the last 5 yrs. And, I knew that if I rode even close to the speed/intensity that I normally ride trying to stay-up with Jason I'd be puking my guts all over the road. But, instead of saying "HELL NO!" I said, "Sure". I knew that I had to start sometime and NOW was as good a time as any. I rode, and yes I felt like dogshit about 15 min. into the ride. I was hoping I'd flat to give me a chance to stop and re-group...ha. I didn't puke but then again I wasn't feelin' that good either. And, Jason was riding at no more than Tempo pace the entire 2 hr. ride. (Thanks Jason) Regardless, I survived to ride another day. Getting back into the gym on a solid Weight Training program will have me feeling equally as shitty. Been there done that. I'm sure I'll be breathing wrong, and I'm sure the shock to my system (of lifting once again after a 6 mo. layoff) will have me feeling like crap.
I think most of you have heard that November is a month where you want to build a good base and go slow. I agree with the "good base" advice but I don't agree with the "go slow" advice. In fact, I just read an article in December's edition of Velo News by Trevor Connor, entitled "Go Slow to be Fast". After reading the article, I'm thinking that Trevor should have entitled the article, "Take it easy..to be fast". (But, I guess it's not a catchy oxymoron like the original title.) Because, it's NOT really the speed you want to dial down it's the "Intensity". I'll let you read the article yourself, but the principle is that your central nervous system conditioning (which accounts for up to 80% of the improvements in a trained cyclists VO2max) is best trained at lower intensities (60-65% HRmax). So, you don't have to go hard but you should go often/long. It will take months (if not years for new riders) to see gains.
Also, November is a good time to make your goals for the 2012 season. For me, my 2012 goal will be more "human factor" oriented instead of "performance" oriented. That is, my goal will be to lose 15 lbs. from my present weight and increase my FTP 40 watts from its present power. I want my w/kg at a minimum of 3.5. Is this achievable? Hell yes, I did it last year. I can't see why I can't do it again..God willing. The reason my goal is "human factor" oriented is because in past years my goals were "performance" oriented. That is, I wanted to finish in the top 10 of a race, or I wanted to finish a long race in a certain time. The problem with that, is that I think I have the worst luck when it comes to training for my "A"-events. When I was training for Triathlons in the early 2000s, I trained for 8 mos. for one race and ended up tearing ligaments in my ankle (2 weeks before the event) one year and herniating discs in my back (three weeks before the event) another year. I can't tell you how bummed I was..because my goal was to place in those events...events I never even competed in. I trained so hard for those events too. And, I was ready. Instead, not achieving my goals put a damper on the entire season. Same with road racing. Last year my goal was to finish Battenkill with the "Masters 50+ pack" or "bunch" in 3 hrs. or less. Instead, a crash 10 miles into the race had me riding 50+ miles by myself to the finish line..40 minutes later than I wanted. I trained VERY hard for Battenkill..and I was ready. My FTP was where I wanted it in addition to my weight. But, my goal was to finish in 3 hrs. or less.
Jackson Browne started writing it..and the Eagles finished it..a great song nonetheless..Take it Easy! Power ON! Coach Rob