Are you the all-business racer whose business isn't racing? You probably work beyond the 9-5, and you have work travel, a family, and a host of other commitments to juggle to as you shoe-horn training and racing into the mix. But come race day, you are a bike racer, period.
So how do we make it all happen and pull off success at the races? Here are a few tips from experience.
Maintain life balance.Try to find the balance between your career goals and your race goals that won’t leave you frustrated in one or the other, or both. Be honest with yourself about the time you have to commit to each, and be sure to leave unscheduled time too. That’s a tough one: to leave time for nothing. No plan, just time. Sometimes it can just be a weekend off from racing or a weekend with shorter training time to allow time to just be. That down time can do wonders for both your motivation and performance.
Be adaptable.We like training plans, and we like having a schedule to work toward our goals. Sometimes, though, life just happens and our plans get upset. Moving a key workout to another day or having a more flexible workout schedule can help. I've taken very busy athletes and basically said, “I want you to do this type of workout twice this week, and this type once or twice if you can. Put an easy day between the high intensity days.” This may not be the most optimal strategy from a planning standpoint, but it gives you the ability to adapt and thereby make cycling NOT another stress in your life but a stress relief instead. Aim for the spirit of the block of training in these cases.
Be creative.If you travel, you might not always have a bike, and no gym, either. What to do? Bring cross training or running shoes and run stairwell laps in a two- or three-story building. Time the laps and use them to make intervals of faster circuits. You can also do plyometrics in your hotel room; these jumps are great for building power and can translate over to the bike once you get back home.
You can also use cycling as a break from work, even if you have more work to do after your workout. I went to grad school while working full time, and training became my mental break. The key is to ride for time, not miles. If you plan a twenty-mile ride, you’re tempted to ride hard to get back sooner and get more work done. If you ride by time, you can’t hurry it up, and it eliminates stress. You’ll probably also find that the break leaves you more refreshed and that you can accomplish more once you've gotten out and trained hard. One of my athletes had some long work days, so we set a cut-off later in the day to get out and train for ninety minutes before returning to work. We also set another cut-off that would ensure he went to bed early enough to get enough rest to be productive the following day. Rest is training, but it is also a key to being better both professionally and athletically.
As a busy professional you have many life stresses. You need life balance. Be adaptable and creative, and find ways to keep cycling fun and a stress relief. Work with your coach to help set realistic goals, both professionally and in cycling, to achieve life balance and ultimately enjoy both more and reach new levels in all.
Want more coaching and training tips? Request information about our coaching packages or schedule a consulting session with one of our expert coaches. With power training, we get powerful results.
Todd Scheske is a USA Cycling Level 1 coach, a category 1 cyclist, and a Peaks Coaching Group elite/master coach. He has won several masters national medals, state road championships, and regional victories. Over the past twenty years he founded four different elite cycling teams and served as their program director and team director, while also promoting bike safety and healthy lifestyles to youth in community programs. He runs a successful junior program and produces a USA Cycling Talent ID camp. Todd can be contacted directly through PeaksCoachingGroup.com.