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In my eye, training is progressing, getting better in whatever aspect you are aiming for, always moving forward in the area you want or ‘building’ yourself up for an aim. This word ‘training’ is all you hear at this time of year - training hard, training little or training every day. We all hear this, but are we really training or simply pushing over the pedals?
What I can't understand sometimes is the thought that there are people out there riding their bikes in all sorts of weather, at all times of night and day, sacrificing family and working life, who don’t really know or understand if what they are doing on the pedals is actually improving them as a rider.
It can’t be about the cost of coaching, given that a high percentage of riders have bikes alone that would get them a couple of years worth of coaching. Perhaps there are many riders within clubs who have raced on the pro circuit who could give the advice and training necessary to club riders?
Does riding a bike just make you faster? Is doing the same thing week in week out, but just adding another hour here and there, what training is really all about? Or do you focus on getting the miles in? Or perhaps you want to be an extra mph faster?
This is where you need to start being more self aware. There is no better attribute for an athlete than someone who is self aware, someone who can be self critical, look at things objectively and be proactive in educating themselves or finding a source to get this information from. If you fall into this category, you are going in the right direction to really start ‘training’. This is where we all need to start. If you are a pro or amateur trying to make it or a local rider targeting sportives and competing in the local 10mile T.T, being self aware must be your starting point.
The effort to be self aware is not something everyone can easily do. To question yourself and what you have done for possibly 15 years is not an easy thing to do; nor is it easy to ask these self portraying questions and find that the answers are not what you wanted to hear. This fear of change is what stops people's willingness to progress many times.
The strange part in people's psyche is that we all accept the new technology or ‘bling’ part of the sport that we see each day in shops, adverts and races and never question the science of it. This is the new and modern equipment that is so readily available and so well advertised to help make you go faster. The actual training and lifestyle changes that WILL make you go better and become healthier are a little more difficult to market to the cycling world.
One of the most common responses to coaching we have heard is: ‘I've done this for the last 15 years and it worked fine’ or ‘Eddy Merckx didn’t train like that’. Eddy Merckx rode a steel 753 road bike with steel rims - don’t see you riding that or the same bike you rode 15 years ago, which I'm sure did you well at that time.
So, why less willingness to move on with modern day methods on health, training, diet, bike set up, psychology and physio? You must be self aware to really start to progress in these areas and get out there and be proactive in searching for a better you.