Grab Your Season By The Collar and Shake It Up

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

Is your training driving your crazy?

Let me tell you a short story about myself.

My First Breakthrough Season

I've been on a journey with my cycling. After many years of struggling along in the back 3rd of the peloton, I finally had a breakthough season.

It happened after I bought a CompuTrainer and used it throughout my winter training. That next season, I finally upgraded from the ranks of a Category 3 racer to Category 2. Also, I had been struggling all my life to crack the hour in the 40km time trial. In that next season after spending the winter on the CompuTrainer, I didn't just break the hour, I smashed it. I set my best ever time of 54:07 mm:ss.

Things were going well. I was achieving goals, placing in races, and continually cracking the hour in the 40km time trial. I started saying to myself, "You know, I can really do this and be competitive."

The Dip

And then it started. My time trials didn't get any faster, and then last season they actually started getting slower, despite the fact I was training more than I ever had. I entered the "Dip", as defined by Seth Godin.

I don't know how it happened, but I stumbled across Godin's prescient book of the same title, The Dip. Just about everything worthwhile doing in life is controlled by the Dip. His description of the it fit me perfectly. "The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery... The Dip is the long stretch between beginner's luck and real accomplishment."

His solution? Two choices: either quit and move onto something else you can master or push on hard and get through the Dip.

Successful people actually quit often. They are quick to see the things they'll never truly master, so instead of wasting further precious time (a very limited commodity in our lives), they move onto something they can master.

And if you think you can get through the Dip in your current pursuit, you don't simply settle down, bear with it and keep doing the same things until you make it. No, that leads to Einstein's definition of insanity. Successful people "... lean into the Dip. They push harder, changing the rules as they go. Just because you know you're in the Dip doesn't mean you have to live happily with it. Dips don't last quite as long when you whittle at them."

Give Your Season A Really Good Shake!

So here I am today, leaning into my Dip. I've taken a very different approach to training, which I'll be describing more here at the Bicycling Blogger. And it is my hope you'll find some useful nuggets to get you through your own Dip.

Take a look now at where you are as a cyclist. Where do you want to be at the end of the season? What are your goals? What are the objectives that will help you reach those goals? Do you really think the same things you did last year will get you through this year? Successfully?

I want you to really examine everything about your training. Grab it, give it the really good Marine sergeant yelling, and do something totally different this year. Even if it is just one aspect of your training, but maybe it's something larger, like stepping up and registering for that big stage race you always wished you'd do. This is the season you'll do it.

Think differently. Conformity will stifle your growth. Do something different and create your own breakthrough season.

Now get out there and ride!

"I have an almost complete disregard of precedent, and a faith in the possibility of something better. It irritates me to be told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny of precedent. I go for anything new that might improve the past." - Clara Barton, organizer, Red Cross