December: Fighting the urge to ride

December has been all about temptation. Of course there’s been the temptation to eat holiday cookies and drink more beer in the dark evening hours, but I’ve also been strongly tempted to abandon my year-long training plan and put two wheels to pavement. 

It didn’t help that my friend dropped off her ultra-light, SRAM Red-equipped, race bike for me to ride while she was away. Ok, so I broke my own rule, but I promise I avoided going anaerobic (well mostly, except for a few hills where the bike accelerated out from under me…yeah). Then, instead of snowing, the weather was in the 50s for several stretches this month. Group rides were beginning to form again. Talk about tempting.

So why does my training plan chill when the weather does? I had a great season and enjoyed a nice peak at the end of the summer. But then when late fall hit, things got sluggish and my power declined. A few weeks after my cross race I felt mentally and physically done. My body knows when it wants to rest or needs more time on the yoga mat and less in the saddle. After a few seasons with deaf ears (and consequently struggling to keep up come spring), I’ve learned to start listening when my legs talk.

This is the time of year for neighborhood walks, short runs, yoga and easy spinning (if any at all). I’ve also been paying my core some much-needed attention and have focused on shifting my diet from the carb-heavy one that propelled me through summer to one with less carbs (but more complex ones) and more lean protein and vegetables.

My training plan sits on the edge of my desk, dutifully planning out 12 weeks of base building. And I’ve already peaked at it a few times to see what’s in store. But that can wait until January. Right now, I’m in recovery mode.

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