Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Training Journal

Since 2002 I have been using to keep track of my training. I only ever used it when I was training for a 24 hour race. I have always been told about the importance of keeping a training diary but it has never been explained exactly why. I have found out for myself what it is good for and what it isn't. Personally, the most useful part of having a this record is being able to compare statistics from previous years of training. I use it as a measuring stick from year to year. This is helpful only because I have a tendency to miss a few days of riding and feel like everything is falling apart. My bike journal reassures me with the knowledge that my training falls apart every year and I still manage to accomplish what I want.
This last point has lead me to use my the journal tool less. I have matured to the point that I have given up on actual training (Intervals, strength training, hill repeats, etc.). Instead I have certain rides that I do at certain times of the year. If I feel good I ride longer or faster. If I feel bad I stop and get coffee.
Realizing that The Great Divide race is a different monster than a 24 hour race I have come back to the ebb and flow of self-confidence regarding my preparation. I have starting keeping track of my mileage and I have started comparing my monthly totals to other long distance riders. This is a bad idea. I know that everyone is different. Peter Bassinger (ultra endurance biking madman with the second fastest time on the GDR) claims to do no formalized training and rides little more than 12 hours a week.
I am no Pete, but I don't think that I necessarily benefit from mega-mileage. I always feel my best when I am getting between 10 and 15 hours a week with five of that being a long road ride. I know that my body likes at least two days off a week (not counting my short bike commute or errands). I have some new ideas on how to adapt my traditional unstructured training to the new mutli-day racing format but I imagine that there will be some trial and error, some self-doubt and some coffee stops. I have 18 months stretched out in front of me but relying on the advantage of time has a way of biting me in the ass. If for nothing else, my training journal will be a reminder that I have moved one day closer to the race.

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