At the midpoint of a recent football game, I saw the quarterback sitting on the sidelines, looking at a tablet PC, reviewing a play in which he was intercepted. He was talking with his coach, reviewing player position and his response to what the defense presented. I left the room and wandered off to do something else, not really thinking about that scene. When I returned, thirty minutes later, I saw that same quarterback looking at the tablet, reviewing the previous play.
What was different between this sideline stint than the first one I observed? First off, the score had changed. The team now had seven more points than they previously had. Looking at his and his coach’s body language, there was no way to tell without looking at the scoreboard that events were leaning in their favor. Who knows how many times they studied the recent plays. What was of interest to me was thinking about the process that they went through. In each circumstance, they observed strengths and weaknesses and made some recommendations to change things to be more successful. That made me think…
The endurance racing season ended last month for those of us north of the equator, and it’s time for all of us to review the tapes and game footage to do just what that quarterback and his coach did. Let’s break it down into three thoughtful questions.
What went really well this season? Specifically, what results did you have that you are proud of and can use to build upon? Take the time to write them out and go over them with someone who can help you objectively analyze them…like a coach.
In my world, I am proud that I was able to do well at Long Course World Championships and have since re-qualified to participate again next year. I have already paid my initial deposit and have put the date on my calendar. I am faster on the bike than I have ever been, and it showed in my last race of the year, down in Texas. I also stayed injury free by switching to 20 minutes of Yoga nightly, instead of going twice a week for an hour at a time. The quality of my food is now better than any other time in my life, and I was able to consistently cook enough food on Sunday to have good work lunches during the time of the week when I was doing my day job. Above all, I feel great!
What didn’t go as well as hoped? What results didn’t meet your expectations, and answer “why” with tough love. Get help doing this from someone who is willing to be honest with you.
Once I returned to the USA, I put on weight as I celebrated and chilled out a little too much. I added back 8 lbs, and it came back within 6 weeks. Next year, I want to be racing at 158 or so. Next, my power to weight ration while cycling the Pyrenees was too low, and climbs that I was strong enough to be the first one to the top ended with me in the middle of the pack. Lastly, I didn’t have enough sponsorship money to cover everything this year, and had to pay for a good bit of my expenses out of pocket. My muscular endurance was great, but my strength and power weren’t, as I abandoned any kind of weight training very early in the year.
What are you going to do differently next time? Answer only relation to your goals for the new year, once you set them.
Next year, my goals are contracted, as my oldest son is getting married and competition will be a bit curtailed. I want to beat my time at Zofingen, and I want to qualify to race the Standard Distance at the 2017 with my son. That means that both of us have to do well at the National Championship next year in Bend, OR.
- This year, I will spend more time doing strength training, and I have enlisted help to create a program that includes both neuro-muscular strength and well as max strength training, once the year starts.
- I have discovered that doing brick runs after a hard or a long cycling event provides a training that I was neglecting last year. As such, I am doing a brick run at least once every other week, no less than 20 minutes and eventually will build that number up, so that when I begin the 2nd run in Zofingen, I am not feeling dead.
- To better get the work/family/life balance adjusted, I’m intending to use my periodization time to take the family on trips and get projects done around the house. When I would finish a long run or a Saturday am bike ride, my wife would be “hosed” as her husband would shower, eat, sit on the couch and be a non-participant until his glycogen got restocked. This year, I will plan so that this is reduced. Long runs will not happen on weekends but will happen in the middle of the week, when there is no impact on others in my home.
- I have helped my son get an annual plan together, and he is liking the structure associated with getting stronger while continuing to get faster. He is doing weight training, cycling and running, but all on a different schedule, in lighter amounts, to keep it fun and interesting. We created a graphical chart that sits on the counter in the kitchen, and he looks at several times a week. Soon, he will start running track, and this will only help him. He is enjoying becoming an athlete, and for that, I am grateful.
What does your celebration look like? For me, it was cheesecake. I have my fix for the year, though. Next time will be after a big race, not after a hard workout. Otherwise, my 158 lb goals becomes a pipe-dream.