We’re a little over 40 days into 2019, and I’ve already had three of the biggest training weeks my body has ever been through. Backed up by some very high quality sessions, in some very uncomfortable zones. And why? Because I’m back in love with the process.
Not that I ever wasn’t, but reinvigorated by my 2018 season, I’m hungrier than before. Hungry to go fast, but focussed on working hard.
It’s easy to say that these early building blocks, joined up with the hard work in November and December are possibly the most important of the season.
And you’d be right, they are. They’re fundamental to a successful season, but I think February is probably the most important month of the year.
If you think of it like baking a cake. A tasty cake, is a fast race. You have to be careful to get all the right ingredients, mix them in the right order, and in the right way. Without this, it’s impossible to get a nice cake.
You have to set it up well from the start.
But then, the cake has to cook.
And February is time to cook.
It’s easy to be motivated at the start of the season, you’re eager to put right any wrongs or bouncing from a successful season. You’re hungry, motivated and ready for a big winter. Then In December you have Christmas and family time to break up the miles.
Moving into January and winter hits, but fuelled by resolutions and a New Years kick, it’s going to be your year. It might be time for camp or some sun, or just a big boost.
But February is tough.
The cake is in the oven, you can’t open the door, or mess with it, you just have to leave it. Let it tick over, let it grow.
The miles have to sink into your legs.
Race season is still quite far away, you might be still in a big building block, or letting the first 3 months of the year properly hit your legs. Keeping healthy, injury free and away from sickness is the most important thing. Winter is still here, it’s often hard to find motivation.
And for myself, that’s difficult when I’m away a lot, working hard, and training harder. That’s when it’s easy to be careless, overlook the nutrition, sleep, prehab and rehab. The little exercises and stretches that make all the difference on race day.
Having just landed back from Gran Canaria, last week saw me training with some of Britain’s top athletes. It was great for me to watch everyone else push themselves to the limit, and how they conduct themselves in and out of training. And one thing we all had in common – the drive to work hard, and keep smiling. But a real love for the process.
Those of you who follow me closely will know I’ve been disappointed with the way I’ve been cycling in 2019, not quite finding my feet I’ve been searching for answers. But one thing I do know, if I keep working hard, they’ll find themselves.
And this could be the month for that. March will be easy to motivate myself with more sun and a real drive to be ready for race season.
Icing the cake, decorating it to look pretty. Adding the final touches. Jumping through the last through hoops to find that top end race form.
With the new bike position slowly dialling itself into my legs, I haven’t quite managed to hit a lot of my numbers so far this year.
A less experienced version of myself would hit the panic button here, and to some extent I did have a minor wobble. But I have patience and I trust the process. You can’t be at 100% all year round, and the miles add up. Day in day out I just grind away, ticking over in the hope that in 8 weeks time, some form finds my legs.
The last few weeks we’ve had a real focus on my run, looking for consistency and high quality. And that’s beginning to show. My running legs are starting to come back, and they’re here to party. In this period, keeping the consistency is at the top of the menu.
Though the numbers haven’t been consistently there. I’ve been worrying more about the process of working hard, and that’s all the matters. And through that, occasionally there have been glitters of something different, a new form, something beyond where I’ve been before.
Every day, ticking the boxes. I’m really loving the hard work day in day out, and the support is in place to allow me to do that. To be the best possible version of myself.
A lot can happen between now and race season, and nobody knows what cards I’ll be dealt.
One thing I do know, is every day I’ll control the small things I can. And session by session, we’ll get there.
Exceptional performances are made of hundreds and hundreds of average sessions.
Bake the cake, the time to eat it is fast approaching.