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Consistency is King.

It cannot be stressed enough how important consistency is. It really does not matter what endeavor you are undertaking in your life, consistency is truly king. Since this is a blog for a cycling community we will be touching on what that means in terms of riding a bike.

Tips to achieving consistency:

  1. Plan your training schedule out in advance. Laying out a periodized plan will assist you in achieving growth throughout your season. At first you do not need to focus on the micro cycles (weekly, daily) but instead on the monthly and yearly. Once the big picture plan has been established work backward and create your weekly and daily schedules so that you are taking the thinking out of each workout and simply executing what you created when your head was in the right place. This will help avoid the emotional context that occurs when things are "minute to minute".

  1. Stick to the plan. Building off the first tip, don't let the daily emotions rule your training. For example, just because you had a great night’s sleep and you feel good and you have the day off from work doesn’t mean you forego your much needed recovery day. Stick to the plan! This also applies to when work might unexpectedly rear its ugly head and the workout you had simply cannot be completed. It's best at that point to not dwell on it but keep rolling with the schedule. Don't try and "fit" that volume or intensity into the next ride. Just consider that day behind you and you're on to the next. If you continually allow for things to be shifted like this you will typically only put yourself into a deficit. Have enough trust in yourself that no one day defines who you are or what you can do.

  1. Make the training exciting! Before you take me out of context, listen up. What I mean by this is take control of your training by tailoring is so as to create excitement about what you are doing. Examples from how I personally approach this is to sprinkle in sessions like a weekly Wompatuck Training Race, a Tuesday Morning Group Ride or simply a group email that gathers a few of your buddies together so you can all go out on a good training ride where people’s goals are all aligned. I am not implying you just throw these into your training plan for the hell of it because it’s fun to do with friends (it is). I am saying that when you know you have to get intensity into your Wednesday ride and you have 2x20 or 2x30 intervals on tap, then you can safely assume that going to do a Womp Crit for 60 minutes is an acceptable alternative that is going to give you a really quality session. The opposition to this is that you are in base training mode in November and supposed to be staying in an aerobic effort for 3-4 hours on a Saturday. Jumping into the group ride for 2 hours of mashing and then riding easy for an hour is NOT acceptable. All that is doing is stunting the growth of your fitness and subsequently can lead to you not achieving your goals come Spring and Summer of the next race season. By all means if you are not a racer and just want to have fun, go smash group rides in Oct, Nov and Dec….but if you are in this to win races, CAT up and simply beat up on your friends at the local races, then have some patience. A patient approach is a consistent one because it avoids burnouts and keeps the training volume piling up.

  1. Winning is a Reflex. Ok, yes that is a bit of a catchy tagline…but I say that with a purpose.  Those people you might see winning the races you are in or dominating your group rides…or whatever, have most likely at some level built themselves to a point where their performance is not a fluke. It is due to the fact that they have practiced the building blocks so many times that when it comes to crunch time they able to call upon everything they have ever done. That allows them to succeed. For some this can come more quickly than others, like the CAT 5 who used to be a D1 runner and wins his or her first race by a country mile. Take that into context and you see that it makes sense. Frankly, if you are not coming to the sport of cycling with this sort of pedigree it’s going to take some time. You have to earn the right to compete by practicing A LOT. If you want to do well at Cyclocross you better spend time at weekday practice races. If you want to be a Crit legend in the summer you better get to Womp and Wells Ave to hone your skills, week in and week out. That sort of specialization is what is required to PERFORM. People might look at me and say, "Matt you came from nowhere and are doing really well." Sure, that is a nice ego boost but it is simply FALSE. I didn't come from nowhere. I came from 7 straight years of riding my ass off, as well as swimming and running at a high level. In 2009 if you had me line up in the cycling races I did this year I would have been smoked…and that holds true for CAT 5 to CAT 1. I 100% would have been owned by anybody and everybody. However, I grinded for a really long time and thus was able to benefit from that. YOU can do that too, and you can start right now!

This all can be summed up with the fact that no matter the level of rider or racer you are, you can (and will) improve by taking a consistent approach to your training and racing. Those athletes who on a day in and day out basis put in the work will almost always come out on top. Even if they are put up against a naturally gifted athlete that just isn't as committed…and that leads me to the real secret of this all. You don't have to be a genetic specimen to be a great cyclist. You simply have to dedicate yourself to the craft of self improvement. This means not getting down on yourself from any one specific workout, not letting one missed workout lead to many and having the ability to forget the past and focus on what can be done going forward. If you can do that, you'll have great success.

~Matt Curbeau, The Cycling Formula Operations Director

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