It’s a new year, which means new goals. As the new year unfolds, it is the perfect time to reflect on what you achieved last year and how you will improve upon goals for the upcoming year. I am a big believer in setting 3 realistic goals for the year and 3 long-term goals that you can achieve in three years. Having goal events or achievements gives you something to train for and set your sights on. Without a goal, it’s very easy to get lost in the day-to-day business and forget just exactly what it is you want to achieve.
Great business people set goals for their companies and have people that make sure those goals or milestones are being reached, so why wouldn’t you put that same kind of effort into your training? Hiring a coach is one way to streamline the effort and have someone hold you accountable to your goals.
We all know the word, we dread the word, but it happens to the best of us… BURNOUT! Unfortunately, burnout is something most athletes do experience. Athletes that have expectations for themselves typically fall into that Type-A personality and push themselves to achieve their goals. Burnout is not a bad thing. In fact, I believe it helps set boundaries for future training.
If you are experiencing burnout, the best thing to do is “switch it up.” If you are physically exhausted, then your body needs to rest. If you find yourself mentally experiencing burnout or not wanting to train or ride, then look for something new or exciting. Find a different ride, or change the way you train. Successful athletes never let their bodies and minds set into the same old, same old routine. Mentally and physically refreshing and pushing yourself will lead to fun and exciting training. Don’t forget exercise and competition should be FUN, so don’t be afraid to push yourself and try new things.
For example, try swimming. It’s a fantastic aerobic workout that will help your system adapt to the demands of the bike, but it has no impact on your body. Other good cross-training exercises are trail running or yoga. Both work different muscles than cycling, and you are sure to work up a different kind of burn!
Let’s face it, life and bad weather will always be an obstacle for athletes. These are two things we cannot control, but what we can control is having a place to get a bang-for-buck workout indoors. As much as I love to be on the open roads with the wind in my hair, I also love the burn and the sweat that comes from a good indoor trainer workout. As a coach and athlete, I have had some of the best workouts of my career on an indoor trainer, and I have prescribed some of the best workouts I can give indoors. The indoor trainer is a staple in my training. I spend two times a week on my indoor trainer because it is a completely controllable workout, meaning I can get all my intervals in, and there are no outside factors like traffic or wind preventing me from completing it.
Motivation is key! After racing and training for many years now, I find that keeping motivated is always a huge factor in how my season or year plays out. The years where I am excited and motivated to train have been my most rewarding and fruitful. Since it’s the beginning of a new year, your motivation should be high. You have a blank slate to create your BEST season ever. Now is the time to tell yourself you are going to give it 100% effort.
Start with committing to a structured training plan, a healthy diet, and rewarding yourself for reaching weekly or monthly goals. Maybe you reward yourself with an extra glass of wine for staying on track all week, or maybe you buy yourself a pair of fancy race wheels for setting a personal record at the local time trial. I know I am always more motivated with a reward for my hard work!
Now go out there, work hard, and most importantly, have fun!
A successful professional racer, co-owner of Uptown Cycles, Owner and coach at RF Coaching and Women’s Cycling Association (WCA) founder and president, Robin Farina knows a thing or two about goal setting and how to achieve those goals.