Letting time find me
The zen of anti-training training
Life: Sometimes it gets in the way of itself, bottle-necked with too many interesting and exciting activities all trying to tumble out onto your plate at once. If you don’t shake gently, nothing will fall out. But, sometimes you just have to take a butter knife and jam it up the neck of the bottle, like with ketchup, to free up something.
I’ve attempted the slow shake countless times before. I have planned training rides down to the minute, scheduled them in my day and tried to dutifully execute. But my patience is slim and life too often does its thing by tripping over itself. Scheduled rides come and go and frustration sets in.
On Monday, I grabbed the butter knife and started jabbing. So far, for the past five days, it has worked. Three days this week I went to the gym for upper body and core weight training. Three days this week I put in short, hard training rides. All these things I did whenever I could grab onto an hour and run with it, whether it was during lunch, after work or after dinner.
Instead of feeling like a chore or an obligation, each workout and each ride felt like a victory because I had taken advantage of a free chunk of time in my day to do something really satisfying. My activity mirrored childhood: You don’t schedule playtime; you go outside whenever you finish your homework.
Then there are my training rides. Perhaps it will turn out to be a stupid move, but I have read enough training books, from Bicycling for Women to The Cyclist’s Training Bible, to have a general idea of what I should and could be doing. Instead of mapping out something specific, I decide what kind of day on the bike it will be after about 15 minutes of warming up. Does my body feel like going fast? Interval sprints, then. Do my legs feel good for hills? Hill intervals, then. The only thing I plan in detail are my long weekend rides.
Yesterday, I pulled up clips from the Tour of Oman while on the trainer. For some reason, I couldn’t slow my legs down while watching the stage finishes, unintentionally doing 100 RPM during my warmup. I traditionally have a very big, slow pedal stroke and get tired spinning like that. But my legs felt like sprinting, so I took advantage of that before ramping up the resistance and making them really work for those high RPMs. I felt awesome when I tumbled off the trainer after an hour to go out to dinner.
Those chicken avocado tacos were extra good.