Friday, July 24, 2009

Validation

I've been racing bikes for over 22 years. I've been lucky to have done very well on occasion, and above average as a rule. These days, I race more out of enjoyment of the challenge than a need to prove something to myself or win. My victories are internal - finding a balance in life that keeps me growing and excited about new things, and new accomplishments to add to my kit bag.


I also have a young family and a pretty demanding job. Because of this, my approach to training has changed. It's more about enjoying the ride than simply logging the miles. Along the way, that shift in perspective allowed me to develop a new mindset - one that seeks to get the most benefit out of each experience. But don't mistake my mindset for a lack of caring about results - the difference is that I grade my results against my sense of balance in my life, as opposed to an absolute of results against others with very different demands and time investments. There are times when I choose to participate, and times I choose to fight for wins.


It's always nice to see your personal beliefs supported by respected, experienced people. As someone with time management challenges, I'm always looking for ways to get the most out of my training time. Paraphrasing Joe Friel's books, who first made me think about this, I try to get the very most out of the very least. Better is the enemy of good enough.


Chris Carmichael (aka Lance Armstrong's coach for a really long time) has finished a new book that brings together some things that another author, Dr Michael Ross, MD, convinced me of years ago - that you really can do well on a limited training time budget. Carmichael's new book talks about training on six hours a week. Most weeks I manage 6-10 hours both cycling and running, and in fact did pretty well in an Ironman on an average of 12 hours a week a couple years back. I'm a believer that quality matters far more than quantity.

I haven't gotten my hands on Carmichael's new book, but I read an excerpt that sounds suspiciously parallel to the training program I've aimed to follow for three years now - intervals and focused, high intensity training. I pre-ordered the book and look forward to reading it!

I'm also using a new piece of software that I'll try and talk more about in coming months - it pairs with my Suunto T6 to analyze and help manage my training program. The software is from Firstbeat and it's called "Athlete". What it does is help me interpret what the HRM data I collect really means and how it translates into fitness over time; it helps me manage my training load and intensity, and I can say that even with a relatively short time using it I've improved my fitness and my understanding of periodized training. It's not a hard science, but having scientific tools definitely adds value and efficiency.

The other key ingredient for me continues to be my Tacx Fortius trainer. We have two of them now, and in the interest of full disclosure, I'm part of the Tacx test team here in North America, and will be part of their 2010 sales brochure. But I'm not paid and I bought the system because it's easily the best training tool I've ever owned. This time of year, I still log between a third and half my training time indoors. Come winter, it'll be even higher.

Most important, I have the data to show the impact of my training.

I wish I had this stuff 20 years ago.

Next post: Inspiration: Sources, impact, and other random thoughts.

Ride on! -d2g

3 Comments:

Blogger Mom & Dad said...

Thank you for an exciting day! You are awesome! xoxox

9:23 PM  
Blogger Mom & Dad said...

Thank you for an exciting day! You are awesome! xoxox

9:23 PM  
Blogger Mom & Dad said...

Another awesome day! 130 miles!!! WooHOOOO! And, you were in 45th place when I checked this morning and you are back in 30th! You Rock! Hope you rest well and aren't in a lot of pain. Love you and miss you, Mom, Dad, Lance & Tia xoxox

8:25 PM  

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