Sunday, 6 December 2015

Losing my KOM

A couple of days ago I lost two of my KOMs.
Boo hoo.
I don't actually know how many KOMs I had before that, but I know it isn't very many.
It is incredibly tempting to try to get those KOMs back.


The difference between training and playing is whether your activities support your longer-term goals or whether it is about pride.
An effective athlete must be humble to achieve their goals.

Think about your goals.
If your goal is to get as many KOMs as possible, then search Strava or the overlooked ones on some minor road. Check the weather for when certain segments will have a HUGE tailwind (we are experiencing 45 mph, 72 kph, gusts from the South-West at the moment). Pump up your tyres extra hard, and off you go! Have fun.

But is that my goal?
No, it isn't.
So how did I get the KOM in the first place?
Well, as part of my training for my audax/randonnee ride in the Summer of 2015, I did quite a bit of running. Cardio-pulmonary fitness is the same whether you build it up running, cycling, or doing any other intense physical activity.
And the KOM?
Well, I run around a loop of streets near me that is about 1 mile (1.6 km) long.
I simply made one loop into a segment. There is a downhill bit and an uphill bit and a couple of flat bits. A nice little loop. Strava tells me I have run that segment over 100 times since I set it up.
On my (now lost) KOM lap of that segment, I did an 11.2 km run.
A little 1.2 km warm-up, then a 10km serious effort. This was the run I have mentioned before that afterwards I just sat on the edge of the road and rested. A neighbour stopped his car to check if I had had a heart attack or something, I looked that shattered.
But it was a 10km loop that went through that segment 6 times.
You don't have to be a genius to work out that if I JUST ran the segemnt again, just ONCE, as a classic "mile" run, rather than as a small part of a 10km run, I would go faster.
Plus I have lost about 6kg (13lbs) in weight since then, so that alone would knock 40 seconds or so off my time for that mile - my legs have less belly to move about now! suggests I could knock about a minute of my PR for that ex-KOM segment just by running it as a stand-alone run rather than as a small part of a longer run. That alone would give me the KOM back :-) suggests I could knock off another 30 seconds or so due to the weight loss. So that KOM looks like an easy one to retake.

But let's stand back a little and thing about the bigger picture.
What am I attempting to achieve?
Many of you already know the answer - I am hoping to get a good time (sub 5 hrs, which will be 22 minutes quicker than my 2015 time) in the local 62mile (100km) sportive - the 2016 Tour de Vale - AND do a 200 to 250 mile (320 to 400km) audax/randonnee ride in the Summer of 2016 too.

Like most folks, I have a full-time job, so my training time is not exactly unlimited.
My training should therefore be focussed on stuff which will help my twin goals (Tour de Vale and audax/randonnee) for 2016.
I was hoping to go out for a spin on the bike this morning - get maybe 30-ish miles in (50 km).
But no.
They are behind at work, and the three hours I would have spent riding will be spent at work instead. On a Sunday. Looks like it is panning out into a long run up to Christmas. I'm working 6 days next week, so that'll make 13 days running at work, and it may actually get worse than that.
It's not all bad, though. Work gives me the financial resources to pay for the bike in the first place! I was just eyeing up some new tyres online last night, too :-) Hoping to be getting a power meter for 2017, and that's not going to buy itself either!

So that KOM doesn't look like it will be a big part of my plans.
I ran a couple of slow-ish 10Ks in November, just to keep in shape, but really if I want to be concentrating on longer cycle events, I need to be concentrating on longer distance running.
Longer-distance running is much more similar to longer-distance cycling, especially when you get past about 15km and start to actually eat and drink as part of the event. I ran a half-marathon as part of my preparations last year (including running through that ex-KOM segment 12 times!), and I ate and drank a bit about every 40 minutes - just like I do when cycling long distances.

And that, really, is the difference between playing and training.
Play is fun. Training often isn't. It is easy to get distracted while training, and find oneself playing instead.

But you have to "keep your eyes on the prize", as they say.
Which is why most folks never achieve their potential - they play instead of train.

So I'd best forget about that KOM, then :-)

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