Setting goals is important.
Being someone who is somewhat distractible, my mind and interests tend to wander. It has resulted in the collection of a wide range of both theoretical and applicable knowledge. Basically, I learn well from books. But, without definite goals…quantifiably, measurable goals set in time…this wandering becomes a hindrance. I’ve spent large portions of my life pursuing intermittent interests but then moving on to the next when the wind changes.
Reflecting on my racing days, I see this inconsistency handicapped me. I trained by riding with friends; if the ride was fast and hard, then that was a good day’s work. If there were city-limit sprints, then I may have gotten a good sprint workout. But alone…lots of long, slow distance and not much else. If I couldn’t get out for a couple of hours, then I probably didn’t go out at all. As my late father told me, “You ride way too much for an amateur, but not nearly enough for a pro.” At the time, I was resentful…what did HE know about cycling? Age and hindsight has a way of re-framing the past, and it’s clear to me now how RIGHT he was.
Kelly challenged me, a month ago, to get in shape…cycling shape. So, with her encouragement, I’ve spent the past month in the weight room and on the bike. I’ve been following the guidelines of Joe Friel, in particular his book Fast after 50. If you want a realistic view of what endurance training can do for you in your middle and senior years, this is the book.
To summarize: GO HARD.
If you have limited time…commitments, work, family, and all the sundry bits of life that get in the way of training…going HARD is far more important than any other type of training you can do. It will result in performance gains, and will stave off the onset of muscular and cardiac decline that men succumb to over the years.
For the first time in my life, I’m doing structured threshold work and intervals. I’m lifting weights because it MEANS something. I’m training in a way that I never seemed to understand when I was young, enthusiastic, and uninjured. (Youth is wasted on the young, right?)
And I’ve set some goals, some close-by, some longer-range in scope:
- Blood lactate and VO2 MAX test
- 20mph average on my local training loop (currently at 18.8mph)
- 1:05:00 40K time-trial speed by April 2017
- Complete Six-Gap in 2017
- 3 Watts/kilogram within 3 years
I’ll be honest as I write about these goals and my progress. I want to inspire others who WANT to move forward and find some satisfaction in their lives, but I also want to be accountable to you, the reader. For the first time in my cycling life, I have something real to do and a plan to do it…and it sure feels weird to be 46 and saying that.