Thinking about the year ahead

So I’m back in the saddle after a fairly lazy winter spent working too hard (easily done when stuck in front of the computer on nights that it’s dark by 4pm) and hiding indoors from the rain and cold. A very busy December left me feeling drained and exhausted, so a cold and wet January did little to lift my spirits or get me back outdoors. Then February arrived — time to pull msyelf together! So here I am. Back on the bike, four or five good rides into 2013, and now wondering how long it will take to get my fitness back. All the rides I’ve been on have flattened me in different ways. It’s coming back but only over longer distances. It seems to be taking me longer to get warmed up. So yesterday’s ride – a nice flat one around the Cheshire lanes – nearly killed me for the first two hours, but after a lunch stop I got nice and warm and started flying along with fresh, happy legs. I felt I could have kept going all day! Getting home, post shower and dinner, curled up in a blanket with the cats and some quality TV, I had that lovely sleepy feeling that’s one of my favourite things about winter rides. Maybe the cold isn’t helping? Perhaps fitness is fine (ish) but I don’t perform well in the cold? Whatever. I’m now enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon reading some stuff about training and performance to set me in good stead for the year ahead. And some of it is unfinished business from 2012 — stuff I got interested and maybe started but never really saw through, for whatever reason.

Here’s the hit list.

1) Interval sessions. Returning to the race training sessions has reminded me that I have no power over distance and since the winter lull my climbing abilities have plummeted. A good way for me to increase my ride time and improve my riding without taking up too much more of my life is to introduce some intervals, whether out on a short local loop or hill or at home on the rollers.

2) Heart rate training. I did a couple of Zone 2 rides last year and planned to do more on my local 35 mile loop. Then I met a bunch of other roadies and ended up doing rides here, there, and everywhere, so my best laid plans (a HR session every two weeks) fell by the wayside. I must be more disciplined this year and say “no” to some of the other rides! Having just used the calculations on here my max. HR is 184. Time to reconfigure the zone settings and set to it. More to follow on this…

3) More walking. It’s easy in my job to sit on my butt all day long, so through January we’ve start going for walks in the evening. I night ride in the dark so why not go for a walk in it? Going for a walk on days I’m not riding are great for stretching my legs and for clearing my head after a day spent on the computer or in phone meetings.

4) Cross-training. More yoga, and introduce more heavy duty strength sessions. The Internet is a wonderful thing for this, so I’ll keep at my subscription to Ekhart Yoga and carry on working my way through the Fitness Blender vids. For February I’ve been doing a HIIT workout (twice and week) and OMG: Oh My Glutes (once a week). The first week my butt was tied in a knot the next day. Three weeks later the next day impact has lessened, so maybe it’s working?

And that’s enough of a wish list, I think.

Progress report to follow.

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