Training Update: Fun vs Gains

Afternoon all! I’ve finally managed to find time to sit down for a minute with a cuppa and write a blogpost, something I’ve been meaning to do all week.

Life is really hectic right now, despite this normally being the time of year when I’d have slightly less on or maybe go a little easier on my training. Last year Dave and I decided that we’d go ‘all out’ and race and train as much as possible figuring that we might spend a little more time in Devon in 2018 and maybe devote more hours to just riding for kicks with no particular goal in mind. The problem is that our furious immersion into the world of bike racing over the last twelve months only fuelled our appetite for more.

 

 

It’s the same with work. As a result of taking more on, expanding my YouTube channel, pitching more ideas and saying yes to some brilliant projects last year, I’ve somehow managed to make more of a success out of what I was previously doing, to the extent that I’m now wondering how on earth I’m ever going to get everything done. As a freelancer, I’m always looking for the next projects and think near on constantly about work no matter where I am. What with it all being so closely linked into what I do for recreation, sometimes it can feel like I never truly switch off.

 

Time for training, time for fun

 

When I was reflecting on 2017, I realised that I spent 95% of my time preparing for races that made up only about 5% of my year and that struck me as strange. Looking back, I realised that some of the most fun memories, alongside crit racing were actually when I spent the day messing about on a bike with friends. There weren’t enough of those. I am by nature a quite obsessive type of person, sometimes to the extent that my field of vision is so narrow that things I enjoy get neglected because I’m so busy going nuts for something else.

 

 

As I mentioned before, last year’s racing really got me fired up so the idea of totally easing up has gone right out the window, but having said that, it’s really important to me that I stick to my decision to spend more time riding mountain bikes, dirt, BMX or motocross, even if it means (shock horror!) that I skip or manipulate a training session. It’s hard to make time for it all but bikes are my focus, my social life, my job, my priority and my love so I’ve chosen to ditch the superfluous and spend every minute I’m not working or resting enjoying them.

 

 

Goals vs Gains

 

This season I’m working with Epic Coaching which has really helped free up time and headspace – knowing my training is sorted and I just have to do what’s asked of me is a real weight off my mind. As I fill in a diary telling my coach how much time I have and where I’ll be over the next couple of weeks I’m able to block out time for other riding and better balance my two goals: gains on the bike and fun… on the bike.

Of course, it’s not entirely possible to always have your cake and eat it and I’m all too aware of that. Yes, life is all about balance but as a naturally competitive person I want to be as good as possible at absolutely everything, which is plainly ridiculous. Sometimes I imagine what huge jumps I’d be able to clear if every time I rode a bike it was my mountain bike. How good would I at BMX if I spent as many hours riding mine as I do training for racing – that’s a hell of a lot of time! Would I be a better crit racer if I stopped messing about off-road?

As it is, I stick to my training plan as much as possible, switching up the bike I choose to increase the fun factor and ensure I don’t spend all my time just looking at my power output (although I do spend many hours doing that!). If I haven’t planned it in with my coach but I really feel like it I’ll skip a training ride for a day at the bike park or skatepark and try not to sweat about it. The truth of it is, I’m not in the Tour de France so what matters is that I enjoy my life to the fullest of my ability. One kind of day I’ll look back on and remember, the other will just fade into another hundred training sessions. Performance is very important to me but so is not letting silliness, time with friends and frivolity pass me by.

In the video below I bring you along for a whole week-in-the-life showing you what training sessions I’ve been doing outdoors, on the turbo trainer and in the gym. Much like the other kinds of riding, the sense of enjoyment and satisfaction I get through these sessions is something I couldn’t live without. As it’s winter and the weather has been awful there’s not BMX or skateboarding in this particular week although I do get out on my mountain bike. As the year progresses I plan to do more of these videos so check back over the year and see how I get on managing gains vs fun.

If you’ve any questions about the training (or anything else for that matter) do leave them in the comments section below. I always love hearing from you guys!!

 

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Comments (3)
  1. Will February 1, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    I like that you incorporate weight training into your sessions, I think its certainly overlooked in most cases. Keep the content coming, great read.

  2. Larry February 5, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Have you ever done a comparison review of Power Meters (hopefully including meters that would work for mountain biking with platform pedals)?
    Have you ever reviewed the Wahoo Fitness KICKR Power Bike Trainer?
    Your videos are fun and informative, I enjoy watching them. Thanks for posting, keep up the good work!

    • Juliet_Elliott February 12, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      I have’t done that, power meters are so expensive that I’ve not tried very many of them. I’d guess a crank based power meter would be best for mountain biking?

      Thank you, glad you’re enjoying them!!

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