Setting goals, finding motivation and reaching your potential
I’ve been doing this coaching thing for a while, I’ve learned that almost everybody wants to be a better rider next season but few work towards that goal over the winter. There are a few reasons for this:
- No set goals to work for.
- A loss of motivation over the long winter
- No clear path on how to become that better rider.
I’ve always had the opposite problem, the winter has always been a time to solve the problems I’ve had over the riding season. My program isn’t “do this workout for this amount of time”, it’s a leaning sequence. The motivation is the progress, as it always should be when learning something. Coaching myself has always worked well, I’ve always leaned a little more each winter and at 53 years of age I’m not much slower than I was in my 30’s. Coaching others has often failed for the three reasons above, so let’s get into that.
No set goals to work for: Most people go into the off-season wanting to ride better next year – that’s not a set goal. Over the winter that desire gets beaten out of you and you settle for being the same rider you were last year, just a year older. The solution is to set real goals, create your own training calendar and set up a step by step training process that gets you there.
A loss of motivation over the long winter: I’ve seen other training programs that are just time on the trainer – I couldn’t do that either! Riding on the road in the summer is fun, the scenery changes, you’re in control of your bike, there are challenges in front of you. Riding on a trainer is boring. Many attempts have been made to make it less boring, there are smart trainers that show you virtual roads you’re riding and change the resistance… Has anyone ever mistaken this for actually riding their bike???
I approach any skill as either time to learn or time to perform. In learning to play piano, there is learning time (scales, chord progressions and endless repetition) and then there’s playing time – that’s the fun part. I don’t mind the learning part because I can always see progress. A winter training program has to offer the same thing.
Your fitness level can’t be your motivation. First, there’s no clear indication of fitness. You could go by heart rate, power output, body weight or just how you feel, but there’s no way of knowing from day to day if it’s going up or down. People put down grass seed because they want a nice lawn next year, nobody gets excited by watching it grow…
No clear path to become that better rider: This is where I come in. Almost everybody learns how to balance a bike and borrow a skill set from walking, and they think they know how to pedal. If you already know how to pedal, a winter training program is just a lot of pedaling. What if you don’t know how to pedal? It sounds crazy, but how is it that so many people can pedal a bike without having to learn a skill set? Perhaps you’re not doing it as well as you think…
My basic program is set up as a basic block diagram of the skills and strengths that go into making a good rider. I recognize that no two people have the same training calendar, the idea is to fit that diagram into your winter, without skipping steps. I’ve been doing the same program for the past 25 years, I still get excited as I see myself progressing towards good form.