Greg Henderson, former pro rider on the Sky team, famously once said; “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.”
The great thing about training on a bike is that it is very hard to do too much and, unlike runners and triathletes, we cyclists do not suffer as much from over-training injuries.
That said, as winter approaches, it is a good time to kick back, take stock, and make a proper plan for training over the next 12 months. Those of you who have already signed up to RAB in 2012 will have received your training plans and will need no reminding that cycling nigh-on 1,000 miles in 9 days is a major physical challenge. The preparation work you put in now will stand you in good stead come next September.
Do remember, despite the Gorilla, that training is as much about the recovery as it is about the physical activity. As the nights close in, you need to get creative, long rides become more difficult and spinning sessions in the “Hotel Gym” or Turbo sessions in the garage become more of a necessity. The key is to keep active, get the heart rate up, and build that base ready for increasing the volume, and tempo in the spring.
You also need to take ownership of your training plan and make it work for you. Reviewing my training diary [you do have a training diary, right?] I have realised that I have basically been “in training”, with no more than a few days break here and there, for the last 18 months – the last proper break I had was in March 2010. My plan, therefore, is to taper down through November, take a complete break off the bike in December, and then begin ramping it up again in January next year. Looking forward to joining you all on a few of the training rides though!
My final training thought for the day; Remember, no matter how fit you are, climbing hills still hurts! It doesn’t get easier, you just get faster!