Training, training everywhere and not a focus in sight.
I’ve been amazed of late when talking with some local CX riders at how few have an idea how they are preparing for the National Championships in January. JRA* training does not work for something as specific as cross. Focus, purpose and hard work all need to be addressed and used to eradicate any weakness before the big day. It’s starting to worry me how people are approaching something so hard, with so little focus.
Some of the commonly heard, cringe-worthy, excuses are:
1. I don’t like running – Well you’ve picked the wrong sport. CX in Ireland, the UK and Europe will involve running. We don’t get dusty US trails, get over it, move on and get running. You’ll rue the day the race turns to mud and you aren’t competitive due to lack of running fitness.
2. I don’t have the time for intervals – Once again, make time for it. Use the tried old ‘sprinting for lights’ training adopted by Cat 1 commuters on the morning race into work. Make every sprint count, full gas. Winter commuter racing simulates CX in many ways, less than an hour, hard, cold and ruthless.
3. I can’t corner in mud – Well no one can…you just get less bad at it. Practice, even for 30mins a week focused on cornering on a variety of surfaces and weather conditions. It doesn’t have to be done at day, find a park with some road lighting. Get it done.
4. It’s cold/wet/frozen/zombie apocalypse - MTFU and get on with it. CX is not a pretty sport. If you don’t train in the suck you won’t be able to race in the suck. You think it’ll be warm in January? You are just fooling yourself.
Time is ticking, it is not long before the temptations of the winter feasting festival are uppon us all. Get into a rythm now or you never will. Every time you find an excuse not to ride you are letting yourself down. No one cares. But don’t rock up, unprepared, expecting results.
*Just Riding Along