Monday, October 27, 2008

Variety is the spice of life

All too many athletes go through the same routine day in and day out. Then they get bored, they burn out and they never improve. In the end a fair number of them give up. It is tempting to settle into a rut and think that the mere repetition of things will somehow work miracles.

Don't get me wrong. Practice does make perfect and repetition is as important in training as in other aspects of life. But that does not mean you have to do the same thing over and over again until you drop dead. You need to add variety to your workouts. You need to variety at all levels. On the smallest level you add variety by introducing "play."

You also need to alternate intensity with rest and long workouts. If you want to you can call these changes mesocycles, which by the way means nothing more than mid-length cycles. Short is mini, middle is meso, and long or big is macro. In that context, your season is macro, your month to month is meso and your daily is micro.

Enough labels for now. Just don't go overboard into the domain of pseudoscientific expertise. All you really need to remember is to change things often. Don't ride the same rides, don't run the same loops and don't always go hard in the same places or at the same times. Sometimes you need to climb hard and other times you need to attack the flats and the wind. Always focus on what you will need for your next race.

The most important thing to remember is that to get better you need to go hard. And to keep from getting injured you need to ramp up to hard. And to prevent over-training, you need to rest after you go hard. It is as simple as that.

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