The sun came out on Sunday. The temperature was up, too. It was enough to send me tail- spinning into a vortex of restlessness (and maybe even some guilt!) and that's how I knew the off-season was over.
Since the end of racing, I've put a stop to "training" and just kept up with "exercise" on a whenever-I-feel-like-it basis. Now's when you get to dust off your runners, hike with family and friends, and play in the woods with folks you don't normally get a chance to ride with. And it's so important to slack off, I can't even tell you. You must clear your brain of all the crap racing fills it up with and fall in love with bikes again or you'll never make it to your next race.
You'll end up a "Christmas Star" ... someone who is in great shape in December because they didn't bother to let their race fitness go to pasture, but who will not last until it really counts: April. Check out Joe Friel's blog on the topic ... his site is a good one to bookmark, and his book has always been a great help to me!
Last week, I started slotting in 'training'. I call this my "planning" phase. I mentally map out the kinds of activities I want included in the upcoming training plan, even going so far as to name a day and a time. But then I end up blowing it off completely. It's a process. Last week was about planning, this week will be about execution
So with a sunny Sunday to kick things off, I postponed the yoga idea so I could take advantage of the weather, and got G to agree to spin to see the horses of Sunnybrook Stables. The horses were awesome and were totally into raw food. I grabbed clumps of green grass for them to eat instead of the bits of hay and dried leaves in their pen and was soon best friends with all them. Even the biting one.
Earlier this fall, I read Brendan Brazier's book Thrive Fitness and his training philosophy is very close to mine so I'm going to give it a try and see how it goes. Plus, it includes his great information on diet, which is another area I've made some huge changes.
I used to be a completely different shopper -- I bought things that claimed to be "low fat" or "organic" based on how long it would take to make them. But even if something tells you on the box it's good for you, it's still in a box, therefore bad for you. I knew diet was important but until I started reading about where our foods really come from, how processed they are, and what they mean to the body, I was not a healthy eater. Even though I thought I was. I first started making changes at the beginning of race season this year and at the same time posted some of my best results ever. Coincidence? Maybe. But I'm running with it. I'll have more to say about diet in a later post but for now I'm just happy to have another arrow in my quiver.
And of course, I am looking forward to another round of Daffyd's amazing spin class at RPM Studio. The course, while not yet confirmed, usually runs from January to March and meets twice per week (traditionally Thursdays for 1.5 hours and Sundays for 2 hours). We go through the training periods together, working on single leg drills, hill climbs, endurance and intervals as well as testing. Working in a group on hard workouts is such a great benefit. You think, "well that guy next to me is really going for it, what's my excuse?" I find I get a lot more out of myself at RPM than I can on my trainer in my living room.
They also offer strength training through their gravity program -- an exercise machine that uses your own body weight as resistance. With new equipment on the lower level, like bosu balls, I expect to be spending a lot more time at RPM this season.
So with another year of training, on higher quality fuel, and a slightly tweaked strength routine I expect 2010 will be something to really look forward to. Happy Training!