Do you train to race? Or do you race to train?

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While some athletes are elites that must prioritize training above nearly all, many are age groupers that train and/or race to have fun, push themselves, reduce stress, and to feel good.  It’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees in our pursuit of these worthy rewards.  What do I mean by that? There are athletes among us that focus solely on their training every single day, and they struggle mentally if they miss even one workout.  They can be cranky and out of sorts. There are other athletes who do the minimum to be able to enjoy their racing experience, and training is only a piece of their life occupied with work, family and friends.  The training is the trees, life is the forest.  Can you see both clearly?

The Fourth of July is upon us and here in New England the children are finally out of school, Midwest kids have been out since Memorial Day and their summer is half way over, and for the rest of us, well, we hopefully will get a week or two to enjoy the gloriousness that is summer.  However, many of us are also fortunate enough to have July 4th and Labor Day off work, and perhaps even a four-day weekend!  A common first thought when realizing there’ll be a few extra days off work is: “Great, I can get in another long ride, and a long run in another day.”  This is because the pursuit of training is a long-held or strong habit that is hard to keep in check and we get really focused on training and racing.  But here’s the thing, if we have three or four days off, what about devoting one of them to your family, or yourself in other ways.

This Fourth, how about taking one day completely off training, off thinking about training, about not talking about training (substitute racing for training in all of these too).  Take the opportunity to see friends, spend time with family, find out what they’re pursuing this summer without offering up what you’re training for.  Or perhaps go out and try something new like hiking at a local park, taking a kayak or SUP lesson, or treating yourself to a lazy lie-in as the British say and having a nice breakfast at home.

Summer by the calendar has only arrived, but by real life’s standards it’s half way over.  Let your summer bring you closer to your goals, and let it deepen your experience of life and relationships. You won’t look back and regret not completing one more workout you could have squeezed in, but you will remember that bar-be-que with friends, paddle adventure or other fun experience you enjoyed.

Just get on your bike and ride,

Coach Clare

One Comment on “Do you train to race? Or do you race to train?”

  1. Well said Coach Clare!! I have to admit I was thinking about getting a long ride in tomorrow. After reading this, I am sure I have made the right decision in hanging out with my family and friends.

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