Normally I knock out a blog-post each month, reviewing how everything is going. I'm doing it a little differently this year.
I've basically split the year into four quarters. The first quarter (which we are almost halfway through) is all about doing as many kilometres as I can. No real structure, just mixing it up as I feel to keep it interesting. The over-arching theme is very much about as much time on the bike as possible.
The second quarter is my key racing season. The Metropolitan Championships road race and the Avanti Classic handicap are raced late in this quarter. So training will become more about how to improve my weaknesses, and more focused sessions.
The third quarter will be about hitting some new road races, races like the Toowoomba Open, the Cunningham Classic, and the Charles Coin Memorial. Depending on how I've gone so far, training and riding will probably be a mix of mileage and specifics. I won't worry about how to manage that until July comes around.
The final quarter will be all about criterium racing. So hopefully a great year of riding will mean I have plenty of kilometres in the legs, and I can focus on developing as much criterium-specific speed as possible. Depending on where I have to be for the kids' sport, I'll be racing as many weekends as I can during this 3-month period.
So no more monthly reviews, I'll be reporting after each quarter instead - thinking about what worked and what didn't, and what/how things will change for the next quarter.
The current quarter
Things started off a bit slowly for me in January. I mentioned in a previous blog-post how I wanted to shift away from my cycle-commutes (1-hr each way) as the backbone of my cycling mileage, and do more longer bunch rides instead. Well, that hasn't really worked out.
I've found it really difficult to meld together the earlier morning starts to reach the bunch rides, and my family commitments of a morning. The end result was I ended up doing much less riding overall!!
So rather than fight it, I decided to just go with what I already know works for now. I've recommitted to cycle-commuting as regularly as possible, and my mileage is once again hitting much more consistent and meaningful levels. Bunch rides are now weekend affairs (for now at least).
About 2 weeks ago, I started doing 4 new things aimed at improving my recovery post-ride. For some reason, my recovery throughout January was really very poor, and it was starting to seriously impact my motivation and enjoyment on the bike.
1. Stretching, both pre and post ride
2. Taking an iron supplement 5 days/week (it sits on my desk at work) - "Swisse Iron Ultiboost"
3. Taking a B-Complex vitamin supplement every day - "Blackmores Executive B Stress"
4. Having a recovery drink (200 calories, 15g protein) after any morning rides - "Up'n'Go Energize"
This has had almost an immediate and significant effect on my recovery - the improvement has been remarkable. Of course, starting all 4 things at once means I have no idea which one of those is having the most significant effect (or if they only work in combination with each other). The scientist inside of me is horrified - but the bottom line is things are much better, which is far more important than worrying too much about analysis of why and how.
More mileage, more often! As I said earlier, this quarter is all about riding as much as possible. I'm missing racing, so I'll start doing a few club crits soon as well for a bit of variety. If things keep tracking as they are, I'll finish at the end of March with plenty of kilometres in my legs, ready to start a concerted build towards my big A race for the year in mid-June.