It is easy to get excited to start training but all too often, the motivation falls and we start missing days and lose that momentum. How can we keep that drive alive and achieve the results we want? The first step is to measure our improvements consistently. Motivation is more likely to grow when we see measurable gains achieved little by little over time. Makes sense!
Think of our financial fitness training. Every month we get a bank statement that gives us our financial score card. It tells us how much money we invested and how much we saved and spent for that period. Now days we can get our current balance anytime we want online. Some people check their financials DAILY to see how they are performing! Without this vital information, we would be lost financially and most likely headed for failure. Money is easy to measure. It is motivating too. For example, think how motivating and satisfying it is to see your saving accounts increasing each month. It confirms you are investing correctly, which fuels you to save more, not less.
The same thing holds with your cycling program. Training is hard work and we need to see some results! Take time to review your physical gains, big and small. We all get lost in the training routine and sometimes we focus more on how we felt or performed on the last workout instead of staying focused on the bigger picture. I know I have been there. The secret is staying focused to your training plan and uncovering measurable gains along the way. Too often, people look at their FTP test as the ultimate performance measure. I agree, your FTP is a crucial indicator, but it is only a one day test. Perhaps you had a bad day that should not deflate your motivation or confidence in your training and abilities. There are many small gains you might be missing!
So, training is your investment, and results are the gains or profits. Each week take a quick look at training balances and see how you are doing! If you are training, consistently you will most likely see some motivating gains.
Look at your investments. Are you increasing your training time and miles each week? Maybe you just completed your longest ride in 6 months or the highest number of training hours in a week. Those are big investments towards your goal to keep you motivated for more.
Are you adding more intensity to your workouts? If so, start to look for improvement in your power data more deeply. For example, review your average power for a set distance, timed interval, or race compared to your prior efforts. I strongly recommend doing this after every high intensity-based workout. You will often find significant watt gains regardless of your race finish or "perceived" performance on a group ride or activity. Numbers don't lie. Check them out!
One day you achieve your fastest time on your favorite Strava section or hang with the leading group up that final climb or finished on the podium in that big event. These are the results of your investments! They are huge gains that can change you as a rider! The truth is your cycling performance and personal belief in yourself go hand in hand. A rider's self-awareness, confidence, and performance can change in a single ride, workout, or moment. It's like the light bulb goes on, and BOOM, everything changes. We see this with riders all the time. We first need to see results, and then we can believe in them.
In summary, Trust your training, check your fitness account balance frequently and look for meaningful gains in all the right places. (Not just your FTP) When you can see consistent, measurable improvements, it will fuel your motivation to push forward with the confidence to be the rider you want to be for LIFE!
Good Luck! Never stop!