My coach is awesome! I was all worried about not reaching my goal of a 16-hour training week. My questions to him prompted an excellent email exchange that helped me not only focus my attention where it should be (on my training, and not what others are doing), but it also gave me confidence that I am on track to have a big improvement with my racing this season.
You see, I’d been hung up on training for 16 hours in my biggest week because it’s pretty close to the big hours that some other female Elite racers do. During my competitor stalking, I’ve found many racer blogs and have often seen that these people are churning out 18-hour and 20-hour weeks. When I saw a 16-hour week on my training calendar, I got excited. I would be pretty close to what some of my competitors were doing!
Mike let me know that the number I was looking at wasn’t part of my schedule. It was a number he uses to make his plans for the training calendar. It’s not in the main part of the calendar, but instead it’s a little number over on the edge of the screen. I had been basing my assumptions on a number that I really didn’t understand.
Mike said, “How do you know that 14:30 isn't exactly the right amount of hours combined with the correct amount of load that will put you in the position you want to be in a few months time and that any more than that won't break you and leave you burned out and overtrained by June?”
He’s right, because the intensity of the work and so many other factors come into play. I had been looking at volume alone, and that is a very one-sided approach to training.
Mike reminded me we have to progress gradually. Since he has no previous knowledge of what kind of a training load I can handle, we have to be careful not to do too much. As it is, I’m already way ahead of last year’s hours. In fact, the training load has already been increasing much faster than what is considered standard for an athlete. To avoid overtraining, he’s watching closely to see how I respond to the load. I’m also very honest about how I’m feeling during and after the workouts. It’s my motivation, determination, and commitment, which have given Mike a gut feeling that I can rise to meet the challenge. In other words, he believes in me.
The email exchange highlighted an important point: Do I believe in myself?
Mike said, “You need to believe in what you're doing. Don't say to yourself, ‘If I don't train 16 or more hours I can't race with these women’ - there is no reason for that to be the case. I don't know where you're going to fit yet in the competition this year, but I do know that if you follow the plan you're going to do well. Don't undermine your effort and hard work by focusing on what someone else is doing. You're putting in great training and doing it very well. Own it! Don't look at 18 hours and say, ‘that's the key’ and ‘if I do 16 hours then maybe I'll be closer to them.’ Say, ‘I can beat 'em on what I'm doing’ - because there is a good chance you can.”
Today, I change my way of thinking. I will no longer allow feelings of self-doubt to go through my head, wondering if I’ll be left feeling embarrassed at the races this season.
I want to be the one they all talk about…
They’ll say, “Angie really struggled last year, but she got serious about her training and now she’d killing it.”
That can be me.
I want major improvements. I believe I can attain them.
So, I attacked my new intervals on Tuesday. After my rest day, I was full of energy and so focused. 20 seconds on… 10 seconds off… again and again… super fast cadence of 130+ rpm’s and I had no bouncing! I was so determined to go hard that I didn’t think about anything else. I guess those pedal drills helped because my pedal stroke was efficient without really trying.
I was gasping at the end of them. My heart rate was maxed and my legs were burning. The point was to go so hard that I fail on the last one. I started in too hard a gear, so I would have failed early. To avoid this, I switched to an easier gear. On the last interval, I didn’t fail. So I need to go harder next time. I’m still figuring out the gearing so I can do this right. I think I know where to start it next time.
Recovery ride tonight… hopefully outside!
Oops, it's raining. It's the trainer for me.