I have a simple training philosophy that I live by. It’s called being 1% better every day. Yes, it’s literally that simple. 1% is nothing, but it adds up to everything during the race season. You want to improve on your weaknesses? Time to get uncomfortable.
So lets talk about this 1% better philosophy.
First off, you have to be honest with yourself. You are the only one that knows your current athletic limits, what needs improvement, and if you gave 100% effort to a workout. Effort is a difficult internal battle because effort is between you and yourself. No one else can judge your effort and it is up to you to be honest with yourself and constantly ask, “Is that all you got?” 1% better includes an understanding that you can ride a little bit harder or a little bit longer. If I am at my mental end during a hard ride, I am honest with myself and my fitness. I will take a helpful push to stay in the group because I know I can ride longer — and getting dropped is worse than pushing yourself a little longer to keep up.
1% better includes gaining efficiency, learning to truly suffer, learning to train within defined power zones, going easy when instructed to, learning racing tactics and skills, gradually increasing aerobic and anaerobic fitness depending on the time of year, and never complaining no matter what the workout is or if you have to wake up and train at 4 a.m.
There are plenty of female cyclists who are better than me, and I am by no means a professional athlete. However, I trained my fitness and raced with them some this year. How? No excuses and becoming 1% better every day for an entire year. To me, 1% is beyond doable, and keeps me achieving goals all year long, which fends off burn out.
I’ve realized that the most powerful motivation comes from the determination to better yourself. Honestly, training all year long to beat specific people in races is yawn-worthy to me. That motivation is missing substance, and you’ll be worried all year about how they are training. Who cares what they are doing? What matters is what you’re doing to develop yourself into a powerful, smart, strong-minded athlete who willingly learns to accept the pain and suffering that comes with the territory of racing with great athletes.
Once you dedicate yourself to becoming 1% better every day, it’s difficult to find excuses not to train. This summer I had the lovely opportunity of experiencing my first devastating wreck during Tulsa Tough. This left me with a shattered wrist and broken arm that had 12 screws and 1 big titanium plate inserted to help it all heal properly. I would never wish that pain on my worst enemy, and have literally done everything within my power to help the healing process. Six weeks post crash, with a doctor’s clearance, I got back on the bike with a wrist guard and began riding again even though the pain is more than I would ever let anyone know about.
Every day you suffer is another day you become stronger.
I’ll leave you with this: each day that you are training comfortably (minus recovery days), is another day your competition is becoming 1% better than you.
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