Where to begin?
Given that I’m well into my training and we’ve hit crunch time looking at finessing the training elements, the question remains; how do you tell a tale more than halfway through a journey, especially when the journey lasts far longer?
I’m not one to brag about myself but ask anyone who knows me they’ll tell you I ramble and go off on tangents; often so much so that I lose my point and the return to the point is yet another ramble unto itself.
So let’s begin with a tangent; the sacrifices of training. Because today, for the first time, I had to, regrettably, sacrifice the training.
I woke up yesterday feeling the hints of a cold coming on. I took it easy yet still ran a few errands and had some of the little medicine I can tolerate. After all it was only a hint of a cold. I also thought that a workout might be good to help it, so I did my bike session. The session went surprisingly well and while my numbers weren’t as high as I would’ve like, they were much better than I thought. The big surprise was that, after 11 sprints I was exhausted and struggling to keep things together, but surprisingly, my strongest effort was on the 15th sprint. Even feeling under the weather, and exhausted, I still managed to find more power than I had all day. The curious power of the mind.
But alas, yesterday proved not to be the most sensible day of choices as today, I was still under the weather. But, as my nature is; I got up and ready, had breakfast and prepared to head out for my strength training session even though I know I was drained. Typical me, take on things even when it’s not sensible. But I had a flash, a number of flashes actually with all the words of my coaches and advisors coming back to me: Sometimes, recovery advances your training more than working. With that, I made a last minute cancellation to my strength session.
Yeah, I’m gutted. Since I started training for Battle Mountain, it’s the first session I’ve had to miss. Sure, my coaches and I have adapted sessions for testing and my own coaching, but that was working as a team, and this is the first time I’ve had to bail. Physically, I know it’s the right thing to do, but mentally, it’s a challenge to accept that the sacrifice will pay off in the long run. With the target approaching quickly every day counts, and if I can turn a cold into missing only one or two days early on, that’s better than getting more since and losing a week or more.
Working toward Battle Mountain had been a lesson in sacrifices. I ride with a group do handcyclists in my area and there have been a number of times where someone in the group has asked, “Weather looks great, who wants to go for a ride today?” I started out saying I might be able to if the training went well, even though I knew I shouldn’t sneak in extra rides, but in the end I was always exhausted after training. Then it got to the point where I’ve just had to admit I wasn’t going to be able to ride with the others. The same hold true at the coaching session I’ve helped out at. With my scheduled training maxing me out, there’s no room for extra fluff. It’s a bit of a sacrifice and I do miss riding with others, and being able to be outside having a nice relaxing ride, not worrying about intervals and power levels. But sometimes you have to give up a few things in the short term to hit that long term goal.
Riding outside; another sacrifice. Yes, all my training is indoors. Some will argue that riding on the road is more important but that’s a debate for another day. But, the loss of a cool refreshing breeze and the smell of cut grass and the outdoors on back country lanes, that too is a sacrifice. Never, ever in my riding history have I enjoyed riding indoors but I do now. Never would I have given up the option of riding with friends, riding with new people coaching. But I’m sacrificing that now to hit that ultimate speed target. And never would I have given up an opportunity to train towards such a goal, unless it finally clicked that sometime you have to give up a little bit now, to get what you want later.
Then there are the Time Trials. Last year, a friend of mine, Mike, and I took up a series of 10k Time Trials with West Lothian Clarion Cycling Club. WLCCC welcomed us with open arms and it was quite the challenge always working to outdo Mike. One of the targets I’d set for my cycling coach was a specific time on the 10k TT’s. But when it came time to start the series, I noticed that the prep and recovery rides were going to detract from the specific training needed for the speed record. So, reluctantly I’ve put the TT’s on hold for now. I’m certain that the training we’ve done would have allowed me to meet the target I’d set, but it’s not quite worth sacrificing the effort that’s built up for the record attempt to find out. Not just now at least, but maybe a late September TT will be in order so that we’ll finally have the answer.
Mentally, it’s torture to have missed my strength session today, especially as I really enjoy the max weight low reps we’re doing this week. But I keep telling myself, there’s a reason, and it’s the right choice.