Now that I’m not training to race bikes for now, I thought I’d take steps to get into really great shape, which entails riding my bike as much as I can. Weird.
I’ve also recently taken to lifting weights twice a week, and swimming, which was, once upon a time, my sport.
The beauty is, since I’m not training for anything in particular, I can ride my bike and swim as slow or fast as I want, as I feel like it. I can do, gasp, two workouts in one day.
I wouldn’t do this when I was racing bikes. I didn’t want to get “over trained.” But I did anyway.
Now, who cares? If I get tired doing one thing, I can just switch to the other.
If my muscles feel too heavy in the morning to crawl out of bed, I can fall back asleep and not worry about it, which is what I did this morning, and it was awesome.
Ten or so years ago, when I wasn’t training for anything in particular, I used to swim about 4500-5000 yards every morning, and then lift weights or do step aerobics in the evening. I had no particular goals. Some might have called me obsessive.
Probably I was too obsessive (I have unfortunate recollections of nearly passing out during workouts; I am not denying that there was something “wrong”), but I did manage personal bests in the 50 fly, the open water mile, two mile, mile and a half (31 minutes!), and I also one year swam 4700 yards in the annual Hour Swim.
There were plenty of swimmers my age faster than I was, but these were personal bests, achieved in my late twenties, which was, for a swimmer, pretty darned old, at least then. Thanks to Dara Torres, and her Olympic glory in her 40s, we all know better.
When I started bike racing with intent in 2004, I have not gone without a coach. I haven’t let a day go by without some kind of pre-written plan. Rare has been the day when I’d just wake up and do what I felt like, which, in my past, used to be quite a lot.
So this is my written statement that starting now, through the next season, I will coach myself. I’m going to swim and lift weights and make up my own workouts, and train corresponding to how I feel. My grip on “success” will be much more relaxed. I will chronicle here, as I’ve done, my follies, so you’ll know if it was a complete disaster or not. The next season doesn’t start until next year, of course, but I am pleading with you to stay tuned.