07 January 2011

Resolve to RIDE MORE This Year

How to Keep New Year's Resolutions and Have Your Best Season Yet

Whether your New Year's resolutions include better training, better race results, or simply getting into better shape, we all share one common goal: to ride our bikes MORE OFTEN.

Top bike-related resolutions from our readers include:
1. Ride more/drive less
2. Challenge myself to ride further than I ever have
3. Sign up for more organized rides
4. Gets someone else on a bike
5. Eat healthier
6. Take better care of my bike/learn bike maintenance
7. To ride 200 miles in less than 12 hours
8. 12 centuries this year and more time on my mountain bike.
9. Ride Seattle to Portland. Lose the final 30-40 pounds to reach my goal weight, Take a couple small bicycle tours, lead some short bicycle rides around Portland and put in 3000 - 4000 miles on my bike
10. Stop being fat.
11. Spend more hours between two wheels than not this year!
12. To bike 2011 km this year.
13. Track all my miles both daily commute and fun stuff! Reach the Beach and save $ to go to San Diego for 55th HI Christmas Ride!! and no more falling out of Rafts or any falls for that matter!!!)

14. Work on my prototype for ELBIGG; External Load Based Infinite Gradient Gear.
15. To quit using my exercise bike as a glorified towel rack and actually start using it again...
16. Ride more - drive same.
17. Do 6,000 miles again this year. Finish the Death Ride. Raise LOTS of money for the MS Waves to Wine Ride. Lose another 5 - 10 pounds. The list is long.
18. All of the above

How to Stay Motivated

Keeping your resolutions will give you the confidence and motivation you need to set—and reach—new goals throughout the year. Here are some suggestions to help you stay motivated during the winter months when you're locked to the trainer or braving the elements with visions of springtime races and long summer rides dancing in your head.

1. Limit the number of resolutions you make.
Sure, there are a million rides you would like to do and races you'd like to compete in, and you are excited about every single one of them. But making a huge list of goals will ensure you won’t have the time - or energy - to reach them. Prioritize your list, and then pick one or two resolutions to follow through on.

2. Be realistic.

If your goal is to become a stronger hill climber, don’t tell yourself you have to do it by January 30. Making resolutions that are impossible to keep will just set you up for failure, and will discourage you from reaching your goals. Remember: discipline and consistency often yield the best long-term results.

3. Break your resolution down into smaller goals.

For example, if your goal is to stand on a podium by the end of the summer, break it down into steps like “increase base miles and training time,” “hire a coach or attend a training camp,” and “select key, smaller races to provide more racing experience.” Breaking your resolution down into smaller actions will ensure you take the right steps to meet your bigger goal. You'll also feel encouraged when you reach these smaller goals.

4. Write down why you want to achieve your resolution.

Visualization is a key training tactic, utilized by pro-level cyclists such as Lance Armstrong and Alison Dunlap down to amateurs hoping to complete their first long-distance charity ride. The more compelling and detailed your reason is, the more likely you are to stick to it. How will keeping your resolution positively impact your life? How will not keeping your resolution negatively impact your life?

5. Write a resolution outline.

Develop a plan of action and start a bike journal. Ask yourself: what things will you need to do, step-by-step, to achieve your goal? Write down the actions you will need to take on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis: i.e., if "I'm going to complete a 300K Brevet in under 12 hours by the end of March, I need to have 8 solid hours of saddle time the first week of January, 9 hours the second week, 10 by the third, etc." Track your progress and note your successes along the way; if you fall "off the wagon" one week, you can more readily catch yourself early and get back on track.

6. Make a list of things you need in order to effectively reach your goals.
For example, if your goal is to complete a self-supported bike tour in Western Europe, you might need specific gear (touring bike, panniers, lightweight camping gear) in order to do that. If your goal is to lose weight, you might need to re-stock your pantry with healthier foods and consider passing up that third slice of pizza after the Tuesday night group ride. Set yourself up for success.

7. If you have more than one resolution, tackle one at a time.

Pick the most important goal, and accomplish that before you move on to the next one. If you're new to long-distance riding, complete a 50 mile ride first before taking on a double-century. If you plan to race this year, pick out a few races you'd like to place well in, and plan your training schedule (and recovery periods) accordingly. Having too many balls in the air can be overwhelming, and you can end up dropping them all.


8. Be accountable by telling others about your resolutions.

"I'm going to bike commute to work three times a week this year!" It's one thing to have to keep promises to yourself, but it's quite another to have to keep promises to others. Telling others about your resolutions will increase the likelihood of you keeping them...and your co-workers will keep you honest the days you show up with car keys in hand. :)

9. Get support from family, friends, and others who care about you.

Ask them to motivate and check in on you, and let them know what they can do to help you succeed. Find others who have similar goals, and develop a support group to keep each other motivated. Recreational bicycling clubs, amateur racing teams and events such as the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure--which offers local training rides and motivational email tips to registered riders nearly year-round--are great sources of both information and inspiration. Ask a friend, colleague or co-worker to join you for a ride or participate in an event; form a work team and rally the troops to raise funds and participate in annual rides sponsored by the MS Society, LiveSTRONG Foundation, or charity of your choice. Remember: "group support is always stronger than individual willpower!"

10. Celebrate your successes!
Give yourself a pat on the back at the end of every week you stick to your resolutions, or every time you accomplish a little goal on the way to your larger goal. Rewarding yourself regularly will contribute to the motivation you need to stay on track.

You don’t have to be one of those people with dozens of failed New Year’s resolutions. With the right tactics and strategy, you can meet your goals now and in the future. Good luck and happy riding!

1 comment:

Jams said...

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