Q: Where do you want to go today?
A: Know where you want to go the night before.
One of the things I really enjoy is thinking of where I am going to go. I have many things on my list to do which keeps me heading forward. Some harder than I can do, some I want to revisit and do better, some I just love doing.
To give you some quick tips:
– Before you go anywhere, know where you think you want to go
– Start from home as it’s better if you don’t have to load up the car
– Time of day and day of the week will be a big factor in your decision
– Choose a ride style: Hard, fast , hilly, flat, cruise, scenic, destination…. variety is good
– Where ever you think you will go, be flexible to change depending on how you feel
– If you want to change, don’t make it shorter unless your body is screaming pain or the weather changes to real bad.
And now for the longer version from my experience…..
To extend on my last post, technology comes into play. It’s the night before a ride, the TV is on in the background, I am either on the computer or the iPad, I have my Garmin Connect app loaded on my browser and I create a course.
How cool is this? I can map the road I want to travel, look at elevations and see the total distance. I know the plan in my head before I go. I can even load it on my device (but that’s another story).
95% of the time I start from home because I can. For many, that may not be the case but if you take some time and explore, it’s quick amazing how much you don’t know of within a few kilometres of your home. Near my home is hilly but I have been able to find some tracks and routes that are flat, and have bike lanes or less cars. But there are also some biggish hills (for a novice) that I can experiment on.
Starting from home is so much easier, especially if you feel lazy sometimes. It takes effort to get changed, pull the wheels off, re-arrange the seats, put the bike in and go. Better to just get on it and ride!
As you start to explore your skill and energy levels, you will start to analyse your rides more. For me, I have a bit of a routine which I try to keep but also make flexible.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights I ride after work and before dinner. Saturday I ride long and start really early. Sunday I ride long but can start a bit later. So let’s break it down as to why – rest, work/home, traffic.
Rest. Your body will need recovery time so after two longer weekend rides and three midweek rides, I rest on Monday and Friday respectively and sometimes an extra midweek day. It’s mandatory as you strength grows and you find your riding legs.
Work and home. My work often requires a reasonably early start which means I don’t try and squeeze in an early ride on a weekday, plus I seem to be tired in the afternoon as I have an office job and don’t like to go to bed early. Plus, I have an advantage that it’s ok for my wife and I to eat late as we don’t have kids at home. No doubt you will adjust to your own circumstances.
Traffic. On Saturday it’s still busy so I get out before the sun comes up. On Sunday, there is less traffic so I can sleep in a bit. During the week. I am surrounded by main roads as I live near the city so generally it’s easier and safer to stay within a short distance from home. It surprises me that I can ride 30kms and still be no further than 5km from home.
Even within a short distance of home, I can choose hills, flats or cruise. I have even found some walking paths I meander through at night for fun and to break up the routine. On Saturdays, I like to head north where all of the bigger hills are. On Sunday, I head south because it’s flatter and I am tired from the day before.
Occasionally, you will find a gem you never knew about like this view of my city.
During the week, I try to mix it up. Hills, flat, fun. I have also created a few short courses in my head that I use as laps and race myself, using Garmin or Strava to keep my times.
Lastly, balance is important but what is even more important and what I have learnt is listen to your body. Sometimes I have planned a short trip and felt good, so I extended. Other times, if I hurt, it’s time to head home. But the real balancing act is driving yourself to push harder versus pain and reasons why to give up.
I have started taking photo’s with Instagram and linking to Strava. Why? Because I needed to keep it fun otherwise you will burn out. This is important. Keeping variety, not making it too hard but being semi-consistent. These are the things that work for me.
So, where are you going to go tomorrow?