How To Stay Motivated to Ride After Daylight Savings Time

November 9, 2017

At the beginning of the race season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation waning.

And motivation is important!  After all, motivation is the foundation all athletic effort and accomplishment. Without your desire and determination to improve your sports performances, all of the other mental factors, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotions, are meaningless. To become the best athlete you can be, you must be motivated to do what it takes to maximize your ability and achieve your goals.

But now with the end of Daylight Savings time and riding conditions are less than ideal, what do you do?  How do you maintain motivation to train through the rest of the year?

Have a goal. The goal can be big, small or in between but having something to shoot for between now and the New Year can inspire you to ride.  Goals can be off the bike or on.  Meaning, setting nutrition or weight goals can support your motivation to ride.  Or, having a goal to ride a certain number of times a week can get you off the sofa and on to the bike.  Pick a goal that inspires you and is manageable.

Fine tune your fitness.  Use a heart rate monitor or power meter to benchmark your efforts. Sure, heart rate monitors and power meters have been around for a while now, but how effectively are you using them?  Learning what what you need to know about the nuances, ranges, and data interpretation can make a difference in just getting a workout in versus targeting a specific workout in which you hit numbers and are motivated to get after it again the next day. 

Make friends with the trainer.  Nobody likes riding the trainer much less riding it for consecutive days in a row, but there are ways to overcome trainer woes  to eliminate boredom and support your training.  Try different approaches, times of day, and lengths of workouts to keep your trainer workouts fresh.

Dial it in!  Your body and your bike – that is! Get a bike fit.  We’ve heard about them, talked about them, but somehow, most of us don’t get one.  And why not?  They say the quickest way to get faster on the bike is with a bike fit.  Sure, fit impacts comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how you ride. Meaning it directly affects how much power you can efficiently deliver to the pedals. Dialing  in your body and your bike parts will keep you motivated as you discover how the new changes positively affect your time on the bike.

Ultimately, motivation is not something that can be given to you. Rather, motivation must ultimately come from within.  Just like the passion you have for cycling.  Dig deep, find what inspires you to keep riding through the year end.

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When Lack of Training Motivation Rears Its Ugly Head – Do this!

January 15, 2015

training motivationIt’s tough being a bike rider from December through late March. Keeping up the motivation to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult. Sometimes lack of motivation rears its ugly head during these challenging times despite our best efforts to press on.  Yet, this time of year, many cyclists, competitive and recreational, are fighting regular demons whether that is general fatigue, lack of time, seasonal illness or just plain boredom.

Granted, the amount of downtime you can afford to take in winter depends on your goals for the coming year. If you have a century ride, a bike trip, or a hard race scheduled for June or July, you can probably get away with a layoff.  On the other hand, if an athlete wants to maintain fitness over the winter it it’s important to you get your motivation in gear now to make these gains and keep your cycling training on track.  Here’s how. 

First, it’s important to review your goals for the coming year and create a supportive environment that supports your goals.  Is there a time of day that works best for you?  Then, schedule your training time.  Do you train better with a partner?  Then, enlist the help of your family and friends.  Is your bike riding properly?  Check out your bike components, determine which bike parts you need, and get your bike in proper riding condition.  Your primary objective in creating a support structure is to foster an environment in which you are supported and held accountable. This makes sitting on the sofa eating bonbons a little less attractive and harder to do!

Also, keep it fresh! Winter is a time to build for the year ahead.  Trade saddle time for gym time to gain core strength.  The primary focus when it comes to strength exercises for cyclists is to train in a similar motion to cycling with lower and upper body, while increasing overall core strength and muscular endurance. Check out The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists or 7 Hip and Core Exercises for Endurance Athletes to get you started and also – to keep you motivated through the winter months.

Another option?  Focus on nutrition.  Many subscribe to the idea of eating pasta and carbs for fueling training and racing.  Yet, there is a growing shift in nutritional information towards a strong focus on vegetables, fruits and lean meats as fuel.  Consider experimenting with your diet and nutrition as a means for making gains in your 2015 cycling program.  For ideas, read Five Ways To Get Started With the Paleo Diet.

Everything else aside, if you still don’t feel compelled to train through the winter, then at least feast your eyes on bike parts, cycling accessories, and new bikes.  Or, bring your bike in for service at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop.  At a minimum, you are fueling your desire to ride when the weather improves!   But, what it boils down to is that an essential element to being a successful athlete is staying motivated throughout the year.  Remember, cycling is supposed to be fun.  Set small goals, create a supportive structure and atmosphere for your training environment, and you’ll be amazed at what you can do in 2015!

 

Injury? Winter Blues? Weather? How to Stay on Track When Missing Training

February 20, 2014

BikeParts.comKeeping up the motivation to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult, not to mention the allure of keeping comfortable if you are fighting an injury.  Sometimes lack of motivation rears its ugly head during these challenging times despite our best efforts to press on.  Yet, this time of year, many cyclists – competitive and recreational – are fighting regular demons whether that is general fatigue, lack of time, or seasonal illness.

Granted, it is widely accepted in the health and fitness community that exercise has a positive effect on our mind body and spirit.  But how do you make these gains and keep your cycling training on track when you are missing workouts?  Let’s look at some practical steps to fight off those winter blues, manage time better, and overcome injuries so you are in your best form for the 2014 cycling season.

For starters, general fatigue, lack of time, and life in general will always play a role in preventing training and missing training days. So what do you do?  The post, Missing training – Adjusting the plan,  suggest a few options for recalibrating your weekly training schedule.  The big take away is the mindset.

“Often remind yourself of the big picture. It’s easy to beat yourself up over missed training, but if you have been steady with training, give yourself a break. Gaining fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days and losing fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days. It takes months of steady training to gain good fitness. A few days missed or logging a fewer less hours than planned for a week is a small blip on the radar.”

But that isn’t an excuse to curl up on that couch!  Motivation is key and weather variances can prevent steady outdoor training.  The post, Surviving the Winter as a Cyclist, shares some great “fortune cookie wisdom” in that the hardest part is just getting started.  “Whether it’s starting your workout for the day, or jumping back into training after you’ve been “off the wagon” for a while, getting going is tough. That’s the law of inertia. An object at rest wants to stay at rest. But on the flip side, once an object is in motion, it wants to stay in motion.

The key here – start pedaling.  Make a time commitment to stay on the bike for 30 minutes to see how you feel.  By then, most likely you’ll be into the ride and lack of motivation is disappearing.

And finally, if injury is preventing you from sticking to your cycling training plan, consider watching what you eat!  Not to avoid gaining weight, but to improve your recovery time.  The post, What Can I Eat to Recover from Injury?  illustrates the role of omega-3 fats, protein, glucose, and herbal supplements in injury prevention and recovery. What you eat can affect your mindset, motivation, and outlook.

If all else fails, remember, Spring is right around the corner!  Get a bike fit! Purchase new bike parts, and get ready!


Don’t Be a Hater! Overcoming Trainer Woes

December 12, 2013

Peak Cycles Race TeamAs a cyclist, you can either hate the winter, or make the best of it. Some bundle up and dress to embrace the winter chill while others opt for the dreaded trainer. Yet, why do so many cyclist dread the trainer?

Maybe it’s not having the right equipment. Could it be boredom? Or, perhaps it is a lack of discipline.   There are ways to combat all three and make the trainer work for you. Here’s how!

Equipment
Having the right equipment can make your indoor workouts less boring and more effective. When we’re talking about equipment, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a trainer tire, a riser block, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, indoor riding clothes, a cadence sensor, a power meter, and a heart rate monitor.  You might not think all of these cycling accessories  add up to a great trainer workout, but according to the post, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Trainer, it can make all the difference in the world.

Boredom
Sometimes seeing is believing!  Visual effects can have a powerful role in motivation.  Pop in a DVD training video or select a few YouTube clips to get your mind in the game.  Posters, a vision board, books, maps, or pictures of upcoming races can trigger your motivation to not only get on the bike, but maybe even dig a little deeper than you would have otherwise.

A growing and popular option is Cadence TV. It offers the flexibility to log on at any time from any computer that is connected to the internet. You can choose from hundreds of workouts in all different categories. Up pops the workout with your specific Power, HR and PE zones listed. You can see what interval you are doing now, how much time is left in the interval and what is coming up. Using Cadence TV makes it easy because you can just follow what’s on the screen.  The best part?  At $4/month you can’t beat the price.

Discipline
Create a supportive environment that supports your goals.  Is there a time of day that works best for you?  Then, schedule your trainer training time then.  Your primary objective in creating a support structure is to foster an environment in which you are supported and held accountable.

One way to do this is to avoid long rides on the trainer all together. Year round strength training for cyclists matters and substituting your indoor rides with strength training will do more for your cycling later on in the season than doing another trainer session.  In fact, a one hour hard trainer workout will do more to improve your cycling and race fitness than 2 to 4 hours easy on the trainer. So, plan your time on the trainer accordingly.

Indoor rides are not a replacement for outdoor rides but with the right equipment and a little planning, indoor rides can be fun and beneficial.