Sunday, January 2, 2011

Resting and recording in 2011

The 2011 cycling year kicked off with the Terry'sTaproom Century, in a heavy fog and threatening rain. . .so we completed a metric century instead. We completed 64 miles with about a 19 mph average—not a bad day of training.

The beginning of a new year often inspires people to start, renew, or continue their exercise commitments, and for those preparing for the 2011 Assaults, it is likely we are all beginning to think seriously about our training.

A few more thoughts as we build past starting and get deeper into our training.

First, I try to find programs and tools to record and manage my data for riding. I use a Garmin 500 and the Garmin Connects provided—along with MapMyRide—to record data and courses, but I also found a detailed log that is designed for runners but has a cycling feature that allows you to record riding data and separate bicycle information:

You can probably already tell that I use and evaluate my data at a much more low key and intuitive level than Boyd, but I do think monitoring data is important to knowing yourself as a cyclist in order to improve, be healthy, and evolve.

Besides recording data, I want to emphasize something here that is one of my real weaknesses—resting.

I was tempted on 12/31/2010 to join my friends on a Friday ride designed in case the January 1 rain came early. I had ridden three days in a row with high miles for week-day rides (42, 64, 31) so I was simply tired, and I decided not to ride Friday.

In 2011, I plan to listen to my body and keep an eye on the data I record throughout the increased training for the season as I prepare for the Assault and make sure I rest. My time for 2010 was my third best ever, but I was clearly stronger than I have ever been in almost 30 years of riding. I think looking back I failed to monitor well my cumulative fatigue—something I could bull my way through on shorter, fast rides, but not something I could overcome in a 102-miles, 6-hour event with significant climbs.

I was very close to quitting the 2010 Assault. . .I was fatigued to the point that my brain couldn't recognize I was on track to finish, as I did, in 72nd place—my second best placing ever.

So in 2011, join me in monitoring your data, but also monitoring your rest. . .

Paul Thomas, EdD, Associate Professor
Furman University,

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