The Power of Goal Setting

pic: ©Stefano Sirotti

The days of frivolous cycling in the warmth of the Sun are starting to slip away. But we are still cyclists right? We may not cycle as much (although many do) but we still ride our bikes. The thought of going out in the Autumn and Winter is often worse than the reality of riding in the Autumn and Winter. Having the right gear helps, but more on that in a few days ;-)

Sometimes all we need is a little motivation

We all have general goals like keep fit, lose weight, get faster, stronger, better. But they are too vague and open ended. I personally find that when I don’t have a direct goal in mind then I can drift along and often find too many lame excuses not to go out on the bike.

When I set myself a goal, competition creeps in. Perhaps that’s my own personal flaw but I’m quite competitive. Good or bad, I can utilise this competitive nature to motivate myself to get out more.

So if you want to cycle more, try signing up for an event that you have to train for in order to accomplish. Be careful with this though… this kind of talk resulted in me doing the 2012 London Marathon. Sheer pain!

Some Example Goals

  • cyclocrossWinter and Autumn is a good time to get into running as well as cycling so how about signing up for a duathlon or even triathlon. You’ll find plenty of duathlon events on over the colder months as a lot of triathletes use them as training for the tri season which is in spring and summer. A duathlon is a multisport event that encompasses a run – bike – run. A typical duathlon distance is 5km run – 40km bike – 10km run, although there are many different distances – shorter and longer. Human Race do a lot of “fun” duathlons.
  • Sign up for a long sportive or Audax in the spring. Most Audax events are 200km or so, they are “not competitive” but you have to be pretty fit on a bike to make the distance. They are typically very low cost and a good social experience. Better get training though :-) There are hundreds of sportive events operating around the country and indeed World now, choose one that you like the look of and get training!
  • If spring is too far away for you – i.e. you are a short term goal kinda person, why not give cyclocross a go? It’s muddy, cold and tiring but heaps and heaps of fun to take part in and watch. You needn’t buy an awesome new cyclocross bike to take part – plenty of people ride in knackered old road bikes with some appropriate tyres. There are plenty of beginner cyclocross races all over the UK over the colder months.

This kind of goal is the stick end – i.e. you’d better get training or else! It works best for me but a lot of people are more motivated by the carrot end. If that’s you then a goal could be something like this:

  • cycle 1000km before spring and you can justify buying a fancy new carbon bike
  • or, ride at least twice a week until the clocks go forward and then treat yourself to a cycling holiday with your mates
  • or, go for a ride and drink a beer! This one is nice and short and very achievable

Whatever you do this Autumn and Winter, there is no need to stop enjoying your bike. Cycling is in your system now, don’t let a bit of cold weather get in the way of your fun!

As a reward for reading this here is a picture of a carrot….. mmmmmm….

carrot

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