Blogging the Etape!
I have been asked a few times now to share my ongoing Etape preparations and experiences.
So this is the first of my regular (ish!) postings on how things are going for me.
As you may have read in my previous posts, completing the 2014 Etape du Tour is a particular dream of mine and I am now on my journey towards completing it.
So to bring you all up to speed, since I started my training I have carried out a fitness test (painful but necessary!) been to the physio to get some knee issues sorted and got stuck into a structured training programme to help keep me focused, to target specific areas (strengths and weaknesses) and to keep me injury free whilst moving me towards achieving my dream.
So first things first, undertaking something like this takes quite a level of commitment if you want to succeed. Success means different things to different people. Some will just want to finish the ride within the allocated time frame. Some will want to be at or near the front for their moment of glory. Others want to beat their mate who is also doing the ride. Whatever the goal, it is still a big event and not one to be undertaken lightly.
I have completed many events before and have the benefit of experience to tell me what works for me, what distracts me, how much I can commit to it etc. A previous weakness of mine has been a lack of clear structure to my training. I would train a lot but it wasn’t as focused as it could have been. This meant I was putting a lot of effort and time into my training but not getting as much return on it as I potentially could. So this time I am following a plan which addresses that and focuses my time more effectively. After only a few weeks of training I can already see my riding has changed as a consequence of this so I am hopeful for the longer term benefits too.
Now as you will know, one of the things about a plan is that you are meant to stick to it right? Absolutely. For 100% best results, stick rigidly to the plan. However life is not that black and white and many things transpire against us. That was the case for me last week. I was away for a few days without access to a bike or unable to run due to no free time. The training course I was on was intense. Mixed in with having to work in-between and in the evenings, by the end of the week I had missed 3 days of training and was exhausted to add to the problem.
The temptation when you have missed training is to jump straight back into the programme and try and “make up” missed time by working harder. Well guess what, you can’t! In fact all you will do is cause damage by over training and cause potential injury and/or illness. Knowing this and knowing how run down I was from my previous week I decided to adjust my plan. I took the weekend off training and picked up my programme again on Monday morning. That meant I had missed a whole week of training by that point. But you know what, when I started again, I was raring to go, felt refreshed and was fully prepared to work!
So the moral of this post is to be flexible with your plan. A plan is never going to be perfect and will need to change and you know what, that is OK!