Zonhoven rip

Caleb Swartz: Keeping It Fun

Riding your bike is meant to be fun, be even for the most experienced or motivated racers training can become a chore.The more serious you get with you training or cycling career, the more important it is to learn how to enjoy it. You’re spending hours and hours putting in the work, so it's a lot easier if you enjoy it! Sometimes its early season and you’re stuck riding inside, sometimes you might find yourself in a mid-season slump struggling to find the motivation to bang out a set of intervals. Sometimes even if the motivation is there, training can still get boring which can negatively impact your workouts and results. There are a few ways it does this, the primary one being that you start skipping workouts which is obviously detrimental, and another way is that lack of motivation and focus simply leads to poor execution leading to lower quality workouts making them less beneficial.  When I find my motivation to be a bit lacking there are three main things that I do.

First, hit some jumps! Like I previously said, training is supposed to be fun! For me what keeps things fun is going to the local trails and shredding. I try and hit a new feature, learn a new skill, practice my wheelies or whips, and just have a good time and not get too serious. This helps remind me that what I do is tons of fun and more importantly, reminds me that training is supposed to be fun and it isn’t, change something! It is also of course a great way to improve your handling skills and earn yourself some free speed.

Catching air or even riding off-road in general isn’t for everyone so, do what you find fun! Another main thing I do to keep training from getting too monotonous or when motivation is a little low, is just going out and finding new roads. There’s nothing I love more than a little mid-ride adventure. Anyone who has done a group ride with me knows you might end up on a little gravel path or exploring some old dirt road. Again, if dirt is not your thing, go look at strava global heat maps, satellite imagery, topographic maps and make yourself a new route on ridwithgps.com or strava. Find a new climb, a twisty road through the woods or a ripping descent. Discovering new roads will help you find new places to do your training, be it interesting or quiet places, or even new trails or harder hills.

A final thing I do to keep training fun is riding with friends and doing group rides. First, it's fun to ride with people you like to spend time with and who will push you to be a better rider. Second, having an obligation to get out the door and meet up with your buddies always helps!  Additionally, riding with other people helps you get you comfortable bar to bar and up close with other people, which happens constantly during races.

So, if crummy weather or interval monotony has its grip on your training, don’t be afraid to switch it up. they all are ways to practice other skills while mixing it up on a bike.These are great ways to break up the intense focus that training takes allowing you some mental rest without feeling guilty about skipping training. If you have a coach, talk to them about incorporating trail days, group rides and adventure rides. If you don’t, finding someone like Joe could be a good way to help put some structure into your training and regain motivation.

Blog Tags: Athlete Stories Caleb Swartz

Updated: June 21, 2018