29 Feb 2016

Personal Trainers are Go!

One of the items in my List of Many Things is getting some input from a personal trainer. I wanted to get some input from a person who knew about riding bikes and had some experience in getting ready for races. I also wanted to get fit without becoming poor, so I was willing to prepare my own training plan as long as I had a bit of input from someone who could point me in the right direction.

I had a look around the net at the local trainers, quickly realising that I'd have to meet with each before I could make a decision. I read Josh Kench's book; Ride, about his experiences leading up to the RAAM, in which was mentioned a local trainer - I thought that could be a goer until someone mentioned that I might not be willing to apply the amount of dedication required (and also the insane amount of cash). I started to wonder if that might apply to all trainers, perhaps I just wasn't in the league that even required a trainer? After all, plenty of people do Taupo once without a trainer - some commuting, a few group rides on the weekends...

I talked to a few people about the idea and again got mixed responses. Some recommended just riding a lot and reading up, others suggested that I should follow through on my idea of getting a trainer, even if it was just for a general training plan.

I started to realise that it wasn't that I needed one, as much as it was that I wanted one. I could have applied the time to learn, but I had doubts that I was doing the right thing, and I just needed someone to tell me what to do.

In the end I got a lucky break - The Colleague mentioned that she had a personal trainer who had the level of flexibility she needed to manage her work/life balance. Her trainer had recently moved overseas but had a long history of on and off-road riding in NZ and the Wellington region. He agreed to have a Skype to see if we could work something out.

What I had thought would be a 30 min converstaion turned into a one and a half hour session talking about everything. Hopes, goals, experiences. It was awesome, and from all of the research I had done his easy-going approach fit nicely with all the things I know that I didn't know. He was happy to have me riding all over the region to seek out new hills rather than doing reps on the same incline, and worked in nicely with my plans to spend at least some of my waking hours with my family. I left the conversation excited to be hearing about the things I would be doing over the coming months as he drew up a plan, and very pleased that his modest retainer was within my non-existent budge.

A few days later I got a link to a Google Sheet which outlined my riding for the month of March, and I was simultaneously amazed and scared at the crazy miles that I was about to embark on.

There is something hard about commuting to work on a bike as a part of training. You get on the road and Work Things start buzzing around in your head. You ride, but your mind is on getting to work. Punctures have to be fixed quickly because they are affecting deadlines; meetings are at stake if the destination is not reached in time.

Riding past work to get to work is a concept that my brain really struggles with. I've tried. It ends with me thinking something that can be roughly paraphrased as 'screw that I'm going to be late and I do the extra miles on the way home'. The problem with this being that I actually have more time in the morning before work than in the evening when I want to be spending time with my growing family - we have cicadas to catch and model planes to paint!

So when I opened this Google Sheet to see what was in store and saw a whole pile of deviations away from work in the morning (or at least not in a straight line) I was surprised at my reaction. Instead of the usual resounding 'NOPE' I got a resounding 'sweet, things to do!' from old brain-central.

That is the reason I need a personal trainer.

Maybe I could have made up my mind about which routes to take on the way to work, but it wasn't happening. I have deadlines to meet at work, things to do and people to bribe with coffee. Being given another set of tasks to perform was actually easier than planning it myself. It also helps that they are tasks that I trust. They were provided by someone who has done this type of planning before so there is no doubt that I am doing the right thing.

Does everyone need a personal trainer? No. But if you are struggling to make the time, pick the routes, or figure out the right type of riding - something I've not really touched on today - then perhaps a chat with one would be a good idea. Even if I get good at this I'll probably still use my Top Secret Trainer's advice when building my own plans.

Happy riding!
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