After the 2015 Track World Championships last February, I took some time off the bike. When training came along again later in March, I started completely over with a new coach, new training plan, and a completely different objective. The training was so different, but, I stuck with it for 6 weeks. I didn’t miss a single item on my training plan. I did all the rollers, all the gym sessions with every set, all the painful terrible road rides, and every single track effort all the way to the finish line.
When my coach was out of town, I kept to my routine and didn’t use it as an excuse to miss anything. When I went to Colorado Springs for a US National Team camp, I kept up with my training plan, finding a gym off campus from the Olympic Training Center, because they didn’t have a leg press. I stayed true to my food plan and supplements, too, because I knew everything written in that training plan was put in for a reason.
Sure, I wanted to skip rides, I was so tired and so sore. I was riding so slow and I didn’t think I’d ever pull out of the hole. And getting on the rollers before dinner was the last thing on my mind. But I had goals, and my training plan was designed around those goals. So I took three showers on some days, and I went through every chamois I owned in three days. And I ate more almond butter when I really wanted fries. And when I wanted to skip a gym session, I remembered that today’s training laid the ground for tomorrow’s training.
And the morning of May 8th, I rode the fastest flying 200m I’d ridden in my entire life at the LA velodrome, three times. And it was because over the last 6+ weeks, I didn’t miss a single thing.
So what’s my point….
Sometimes it’s hard to wake up early when you’re tired from the day before. Something its easy to order takeout instead of eating what’s on your food plan. Sometimes it’s easier to sit up coming out of the corner instead of pushing all the way to the pursuit line. But if those things were going to help you improve, they would be written in your training plan, right?
Some things in life, we can’t control, like hitting the deck two days after you set an all time PR. But when it comes to making the decision to stay in on a Friday night to get ready for that early Saturday morning group ride, that is within your control. Ultimately, as athletes, it is our responsibility to find that motivation, to keep ourselves on track, and to believe in our coaches. Because we might be in November now, but when June rolls around and we are in the heart of racing season, the work we do now, sets the foundation for what we will be capable then.
You can only expect to get out what you put in. So go all the way to the finish line, dig deeper when you don’t think you can dig anymore, and get up the first time the alarm sounds. Because when the puzzle comes together at the end of the phase, there’s no better feeling than knowing you did everything right to get yourself there when you’re flying around the track, while everyone else is standing still.