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Stepping Stones to Success

This time of year I struggle to fit everything I need to into my busy schedule, including cycling. It can be a challenge to keep myself in shape during the months leading up to Cyclocross season, but I know if I can keep myself going strong until Cross Bootcamp begins I will race well. Our Cross Bootcamp really takes care of the rest of my preparation, with rides four days a week. The constant schedule really helps me get into the rhythm of training. It becomes second nature to complete the rides, pushing myself step by step towards my goal. This inertia helps me avoid my natural laziness, and keeps me from taking the easy way out. When I coach someone, I look for the same kind of “automatic” training. A workout plan that becomes a regular habit, while giving the rider set “stepping stone” achievements to help them reach their goals.

If we are 6 months from your target event, there will be a few “stones” to step on in your preparation. Your training plan might look like this:

Your goal is to ride the RAMROD, a 152 mile trek around Mount Rainer with 10,000 feet of climbing. Starting in March, we will create “stepping stone” benchmarks working up to RAMROD. Your first step might be to ride a hilly century in March at your target pace. Next you might pick a hard ride at the end of May or in early June, like the Chelan Century. From March to June, you will be training to ride the Chelan Century. Your only goal is to finish the Century at your desired pace for RAMROD. Working up to a large event with stepping stone goals like this can help you both mentally and physically. By the time you hit RAMROD, you know you will be able to tackle the long climbs and distance. There will be less stress on you to train up quickly, as you will have been working up to your goal for the past several months. This technique will help you immensely, and works the same for all our main coaching disciplines: Triathlons, Cyclocross, and road races.

As you prepare for your final events of 2014 and look towards 2015, think about how to bridge your fitness to your target with “stepping stone” events as your training focus. Find a way to support yourself with intermediate events and training so you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting right before a big event. This is where our teams, classes and bootcamps come in. Meeting each progressing goal with teammates, in a class with newfound friends, or in a bootcamp with your coach cheering you on can motivate you to reach the next step. Our classes and coaches will provide you with the stepping stones to make sure you are ready on race day. You just have to make the leap.

Many of us have big events to finish in the coming months, so I will leave you with my key to motivation in a long race. The key is visualization. Find a good memory of you finishing an event. It could be this event last year, or a similar ride. Savor it, see yourself powering through, getting into your stride over the hills and through long straightaways. Remember your hard work, and the pride and camaraderie of crossing that finish line. Imagine yourself meeting last year’s goal time- no, beating it! Then see yourself wait for it…this is the key… enjoying your time after the finish. The hot afterglow of a long ride,  a cool drink and your teammates and friends. You have worked hard for it, and once you visualize your success, that positive expectancy will draw you to your best finish yet.

Yours on the suffering line, and loving every minute of it!

Coach Craig