As I move forward with my comeback from shoulder injury, I continue to feel better and increase my fitness. One thing I notice about getting a later start on training and losing a bit more fitness than typical during a winter is that I am easily motivated to train hard and grow. I see my fitness return and power numbers increase and the motivation to train increases as well.
I’ve been thinking about the difference between “wanting” to train and “having” to train. Regardless of whether you are a pro athlete, beginner or strong masters/age-grouper, there will be days that fall into the category of “having” to train.
If I go back and look at days when I wanted to train and days when I had to train, there is no comparison in the effectiveness of my workouts. The days I wanted to train were significantly more effective in making me better. Happiness, desire and motivation play key roles in the ability to perform. We all perform better and work harder and smarter when we have these things in place. Developing a routine/balance where there are more days when you want to train rather than have to train will significantly increase your training effectiveness and may be able to increase your fitness in less time. So, if you are feeling like you have to train, ask yourself: why? Think about it. See what you can correct and then try to shift into the want to mindset.
One huge variable in helping get in the wanting to train zone is the weather. Spring is like the light at the end of the tunnel: good riding weather is on its way! I am sure everyone is getting excited to get outside and enjoy this weather. I have my fingers crossed that the snow, ice and freezing temps are behind us and we can all put away our thermal jackets, balaclavas and lobster claw mittens. As the weather opens up and we get more motivated to train, I want to offer some words of wisdom…
First, start slow and grow training volume over time. Most people can take about a 10% increase (maximum) in workload a week. As soon as we get some decent temps, we get excited, triple our training volume and end up cooking ourselves in the first two weeks of spring. Take it slow and build a little each week.
The second piece of advice is to approach group rides with caution and make sure you get your skills back in order before really engaging in tight formations and fast pace lines. It takes a bit of time to get the “feel” back and it also takes other people time to get comfortable riding in groups again. Keeping the pace a bit slower, leaving more room between cyclists and not going into the red zone on your first few group rides will give you and your group a safer transition into the fast-paced excitement and benefits of group rides.
Above all, keep it safe and enjoy the ride!