To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

The Daily Grind: Tips for Hitting your Workout Plan

Your alarm is going off. Sleepily, you do the math that you can snooze two more times and still get your workout in before you have to leave for work. Finally you're out of bed and slamming a banana or some yogurt into your face with one hand and hopping on one leg while throwing your bib on with the other. Halfway through your second threshold effort, a combination of your poorly fueled legs and the clock staring back at you forces you to abandon your planned workout early. 

We've all been there and it sucks. But it's all avoidable.

This year, a sizable chunk of the team is on a shared Cycle-Smart coaching plan. Because of this, we're chatting all day long in the team Slack about how the workout went, how the week looks, and sharing tips on how to make your daily workouts less impactful on your non-bike life. Here are some of the tips that have helped me get through this winter training.

  1. Make it Cool
    • Yes I know its literally a blizzard outside; you're going to overheat and its going to make your workout suck.
    • Fans. Get all of the fans. N+1 also applies to fans.
    • If you've got the option, just do the thing on your balcony or in your backyard
  2. Sleep 
    • Your body needs sleep to rebuild muscle, deal with inflammation, and generally recover from a workout.
    • The earlier you get to bed, the easier waking up in the morning will be.
  3. Preparation is Key
    • The best way to ensure good sleep is to minimize the amount of stuff you have to do in the morning before your workout.
    • Even if you don't have the ability to leave your bike in the trainer 24/7, I bet you're waking up earlier than your roommate. Set up the bike before you go to bed so its one less excuse the next morning.
    • Put everything you need to wear for the work out aside the night before. Double check that everything is there. Check it again.
    • Figure out your food. There are tons of breakfast bar options and most of them are fine. Overnight oats take a little bit of prep but a single batch can last for a few days. Or just go to the grocery store and grab bunch of fruit and yogurt. Any way you go, having food ready right when you wake up will make sure you don't waste the workout by being under-fueled.
  4. Go to the Gym
    • You can take a break from the bike while still working out.
    • You can use the gym as an excuse to involve your non-bike friends (yes those exist) in your training. 
    • We spend a lot of time folding ourselves in half and moving our legs in small circles, which in many cases causes our bodies to do some weird / bad stuff. Undo it and make peace with your inner self by doing Yoga or Pilates.
  5. Be Flexible
    • Don't give yourself too much grief if you have to stay late at the office or take your significant other to brunch. Cycling is about long-term trends, and in the grand scheme of things, moving a workout one day will not make a difference but the mental fatigue brought on by stressing about workouts can be significant. 
    • While it's important to be flexible, it's also important to be accountable and the best way to do that is to...
  6. Get a Coach
    • Bike racers tend to be competitive individuals, and at least anecdotally I can say I've spent a lot of time stressing about my training plan and thinking about questions like, "what workout should I do today?" or "should I take a rest week?" 
    • Accountability of talking to another (or many) human being(s) about your training week and workouts is very motivating. You can't just skip a workout because you didn't feel like doing it.

Obviously there are a million other ways to make sure you stick to your plan. If you've got any you think we missed, please share them with our complaint department.