Happy New Year – How to set a realistic 2015 goal

NYE bicycleConfession time for me. Earlier this year, and for the past couple of years, I have ridden an average of at least 100 km per week, but something went a bit awry for me in the middle of this year, and since then my weekly averages have been steadily decreasing. In my mind I was still doing those 100+ km per week, but in reality when I look at the stats I keep I’ve been very, very slack.

I’m not really sure how it happened but I broke an ingrained habit, and I’m really keen to get it back, so I’m setting myself a realistic New Year’s resolution and that is to ride at least 100 km per week throughout 2015 and beyond. It sounds pretty achievable but when you’ve become a bit lazy like me, it’s easy to say, but much harder to do. So here’s a few tips for setting your own resolution. I might just have to read them several times myself!

Set a realistic, achievable goal

You will be setting yourself up for failure if you make your goal too ‘big’. That’s why I’m being really realistic and saying just 100 km. I hope in reality I will exceed it, but I want to make it achievable. So don’t go adopting my goal if you’re currently riding 20 km per week and you can’t possibly find enough time in your schedule to do this five times over. Just aim for 50 km per week which will be more than double what you are doing now, and break it down into two 25 km rides, over two separate days. I certainly won’t be riding 100 km on one day. I will aim to do at least three rides per week and hopefully four.

Find an event to train for

Identify an event that you can plan your training to achieve. It could be a one day mass participation event like Sydney’s Gong ride in November, and then work towards that goal. I know in the past that I have trained much better with a goal in mind. Otherwise you’re just riding for fun which is still good but doesn’t allow you to push yourself at all. Your chosen event should be a stretch for you. The Gong ride is 90 km so don’t choose this as your big goal if you are already riding that kind of distance on a regular basis – it won’t be a challenge.

I’m considering doing a multi-day riding tour of New Zealand with a group called Wheel Women and it’s a five day cycling tour around Lake Taupo. I’ve never done a multi-day ride so it will certainly be a challenge for me, and something to focus my training program on.

Make incremental improvements

It’s also important to make incremental improvements and consider breaking your goal into steps or stages. For me, riding 100 km per week is completely achievable, I just have to shift my current ‘lazy’ thinking to a more active approach. But if you’re new to cycling and want to work up to riding 100 km per week from a zero base, it would be better to do it step-by-step and aim for 50 km per week, then 75 km per week, and then 100+ over a number of months. When I first started riding I rode only once per week on Saturday morning. The ride was 30 km long and I was exhausted after every ride. I gradually increased my riding by adding a Sunday ride, and then mid-week riding came later.

Measure it

If you don’t already have a decent bike computer then it’s time to invest. You need one that you can upload your stats to a computer or smart phone and see where you are improving. I’ve just upgraded my Garmin 500 to a 510 and I never ride my bike without recording my vital stats like distance, time, average speed, heart rate, cadence, etc. It’s great to see where you are improving and helps you to set those goals. I upload my data to Training Peaks and can track my rides and in fact that’s how I can see at a glance that I’ve not ridden more than 100 km in a single week since October!!

Be kind to yourself

Don’t beat yourself up if you slip a little on the resolution. I know I’m not going to do that but I will be trying to live up to this very public declaration of riding more than 100 km per week. I’ve even got a beautiful new bike to do it on, so I’m all out of excuses.

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