Training Maturity: Doing What’s Right for YOU and not Falling into the Group Routine
It’s Friday night and you have your plans all set for your ride tomorrow.
Then you get a text or call from a friend trying to convince you to change your plans and go on a group ride. Now you have a dilemma- do you stick to your solo ride that meets your exact needs or do you jump into a group ride? It can be a tough call….
Go out solo, make myself suffer, drawing all motivation from within and doing what is right for me? OR, do I go out with my buddies on a big group ride, do what the group does and have fun riding with others?
We have all been there. It’s a hard decision. Training isn’t always about fun or doing what the majority does. It’s about making yourself better both physically and mentally.
Benefits of Training Alone
Solo training allows you to focus on yourself. It’s a mental mind builder. You have your objective and it is solely up to you to complete. It comes down to you, your bike and the ride. No fans cheering on the side of the road. No other cyclist to chase. Done successfully and you will not only make yourself physically stronger, but now you are mentally stronger.
Your plan is unique to you. It is designed to get you were you need to be. Focusing on your individual plan provides several key benefits. First, even if your teammate or riding partner is on the same schedule for the day, most likely your target numbers for efforts, or even your recovery between them, are different. You do what you are supposed to do and they do what they are supposed to do, it’s that simple.
Next, we all have a competitive side. Training with others can tempt you to compete against each other, forcing you to go above and beyond what you are supposed to be doing. It could even take away from your training if you have to tone it down for your partner. Riding solo keeps you in check.
Solo training allows you to focus on your form too. You are able to pay more attention to your position on the bike, pedaling technique, etc.
Riding on the road has enough natural distractions. Your buddy riding next to you chattering away can take your mind out of the game. The less we have pulling us away from our objective, the more we can concentrate at the job at hand.
From a purely selfish standpoint, a big benefit to riding solo is that you only have to answer to yourself. There is no meeting time, other schedules to accommodate or having to wait for those that are late. You are not dependent those around you to dictate the pace or effort. The ride is yours. Own it.
So when do you answer the call to join your buddies in a group ride? More than just the social aspect, organized group rides have a place in your program. Group rides can provide a sort of race simulation. Having an official finish line that will let you pick a “winner” for the day is a chance to work on bike handling under pressure. Another benefit of the group ride is the chance for your team to work on tactics against other teams.
Multiple skill sets such as working in a pace line, descending and sprinting with others are all enhanced through the group ride. Time dedicated to these skills is valuable and should be balanced with solo training in order to reap maximum performance.
Whether you have structured your own plan or you are working with a coach, your schedule was written with specific goals or targets in mind. Each day is a separate puzzle piece that when put together will hopefully help you achieve your target.
Training by yourself allows you to follow your prescribed workout by concentrating on your plan without distractions.
O’Brien Forbes, aka, Coach OB, is a full time cycling coach based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been racing since 1986 and has been a Cat. 1 since 1995. He works with all levels of cyclists from the club rider to Cat. 1 racers. His riders have earned multiple state champion jerseys in TT, MTB, CX, road and crit. Learn more about Coach OB here www.coachob.com or ask him a question at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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