Categories: Bicycle Tour Training

Prepare to Succeed

by Sarah Awe - Wednesday, November 5, 2014 A rewarding descent photo from Mont Ventoux.

It’s about that time: it’s getting cold, dark, and breezy, and the idea of riding your bike outside may seem less and less appealing. So what now – how are you going to stay fit and motivated?  You have two options.

Option 1: Hibernation, the couch, Netflix and the snack of your choice.

Option 2: A defined goal, and a plan that will help you emerge from winter feeling great, and ready for the cycling season.

As tempting as Option 1 sounds when there are flurries in the forecast, I think we would all agree that Option 2 has a much better outcome.

As with most things, preparation and planning are the keys to reaching goals. Having a plan laid out makes everything so much easier!  Write it down, put it in your phone, on your calendar – anywhere, but document it! You need to see what day it is and you know exactly what you need to do!

Identify your winter goal.  What do you want to achieve this winter?  Improving your strength?  Improving your cardiovascular ability?  Gain lean mass or lose fat weight?  Increase flexibility?  Be specific!

Can it be measured?  How will you know if you’ve improved strength, cardiovascular ability, lost/gained weight or increased your flexibility?  Give yourself a baseline test.  Run a mile to see how long it takes you, count how many pushups you can do, how much you weigh, or how far you can stretch.

Is your goal realistic?  If you have never run a mile in your life it isn’t realistic to sign-up for a spring ultra-marathon of 50 miles.  Make your goal attainable and achievable.  Don’t be afraid to reach high but do so in a reasonable way.

The plan.  Let’s say your goal is to improve your overall fitness level what’s next?

  • Set aside a reasonable amount of time that you can dedicate to exercise. Between 2-5 hours a week is ideal.
  • Decide which days and times you are willing to commit to exercise and set your schedule.
  • Next, select your exercises and be sure to mix it up – say 2 days of swimming and 2 days of weight training one week and a spin class and run the next.  No matter what you choose be sure to identify which days you will be doing each activity and detail what your workouts will look like.
  • Find a friend. Having a workout buddy who is committed to accomplishing a similar goal makes working out more fun, and adds accountability because you know that someone else is depending on you.
  • Make the planning easy and sign-up for a class or two. You’ll have an instant group of friends and the instructor’s job is to motivate you and plan the workout.

Set-up a “check in” workout once a month. Compare where you are now with where you were the month prior. Are you seeing progress? Have you plateaued? Are you abnormally fatigued?  Adjust your plan accordingly.  If you are seeing a plateau or are feeling overtired you may want to assess whether you are exercising too much and pay close attention to nutrition.  If you have plateaued, making a few minor changes to nutrition may push you over the hump.  If you are not eating enough calories, this can lead to unusual fatigue.  Be aware of how you’re feeling!

If you put in the time to identify, measure and plan your goals, you will achieve them.  When spring rolls around and you are feeling fantastic you’ll be thankful you took the time to invest in yourself rather than investing in Netflix.  Let’s get to it!  Have fun, be balanced and be smart!

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Sarah Awe - Sarah Awe: As owner and personal trainer at becomefit ( Sarah is able to put into practice her experience and education surrounding health and fitness. She graduated from Florida Tech with a BS in Psychology and from Southern Arkansas University with a MS in Kinesiology. She is also certified by the NSCA as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Sarah believes that living a healthy, balanced lifestyle is a key to success! You can email Sarah at:

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