I've never been someone who has liked training. I've tried, and it definitely did make me fitter and faster.
Don't get me wrong, I love riding my bikes. It's just training.
The prescribed nature of it doesn't appeal to me. I don't like to feel guilty about missing a weekly total because I've had other things to do.
More often the problem is the other way around. If I'm having a good ride I don't want to cut it short because of a training schedule.
I had a good example of this in the last few weeks.
One of the most critical aspects of training is tapering for an event. Basically in the lead up for an event you reduce the amount of exercise you are doing, often quite dramatically.
In the run up to the recent Exposure European 12 hour championships. The previous month has been a bit haphazard. A few knee issues had meant I hadn't ridden as much as I would have liked. I planned to try and be good in the run up to the event, train hard then taper. However in the weeks leading up to Exposure the weather was amazing. "Sod the taper" I thought. I couldn't ignore the dusty trails - I don't get to see them often enough.
There had also been a huge amount of work done on the local trails in the last few months. The newly built sections were wearing in nicely and it was feeling like they were getting faster every time I rode them.
And as a lovely contrast, the network of existing natural trails, that have been my home from home for years, were as 'buff' as ever. Alternating from new sections to old favourites changed the nature of my favourite routes and I couldn't get enough time to play with new combinations.
New trails. Dust. Shiny Dirty Harry. Sunshine. How am I supposed to taper at a time like that? I managed eleven mountain bike rides in the immediate days before Exposure. On four days I went out before and after work. Every single ride was brilliant.
Needless to say my Exposure race didn't go very well. I was going OK to start with but started getting bad hamstring pain. I ended up stopping after 6hrs. I was in 3rd place at the time.
What's next? I've been going to physio regularly and that's been a real help. My next race is a 200 mile bikepacking thing.
18 April 2012