January 15, 2018 Dustin Porter

The Best Tip I Ever Learned from NASA

We’re nearing the end of January. Are you where you want to be?

That’s a good question to ask ourselves throughout our training. Sometimes, simply charging through our plan with our heads down can lead us in a completely different direction than we originally planned or injured. Think about the way the autopilot function worked in the space shuttle Discovery. There were literally thousands of small course corrections in a given flight. The autopilot wasn’t a passive system at all! It actively compensated for all sorts of variables like; wind, airspeed, weight, and fuel, to get us to our destinations in the most efficient way possible. We could learn something from the way Discovery operated.

The first step is to dedicate some time and stop to assess our progress. This is a bit like taking inventory. Am I healthy? Am I still motivated? Am I closer to where I want to be then I was before I started? If I continue down this path will I achieve my goal by the assigned date?

The “Inventory or Assessment” phase is a good time to review your iBike ride files with iBike Isaac ride analysis software. It’s also a good time to check the odometer on your iBike Newton power meter or iBike Dash+Power power meter and jump on the scale. Are we logging the miles we committed to? Are they the type of miles we need to ride in this phase of training? How is your heart rate, both on the rides and waking? Elevated waking heart rate is a sign of overtraining. Is my wattage where I want it to be on these rides and is it progressing the way I want it to?

After we’ve assessed our progress to date, it may be time to reevaluate our goal. I’ve been guilty of biting off way more than I can chew in the past by setting extremely lofty goals then killing myself to achieve them. Is it worth it? That’s up to us as individuals to decide. If you’ve put in 30 days of training and aren’t where you wanted to be it’s important to consider whether you’ll be able to make the needed changes in your life to hit your goal by race day. Is the goal still attainable or do we need to make a plan B? I like to start with my race date and work backwards to the current date to determine if I have enough time to salvage the race. If I have time goals and am trying to set a personal record, then I make sure to build in 6-8 weeks for speed / super threshold work during the last 6-8 weeks of my program.

Reality can really suck sometimes. It has no feelings and no remorse. It doesn’t care how much stress we’ve been under or that we’ve been sick for the last two weeks. It works with its evil partner time to keep us suppressed. The only way to defeat the duo is to consistently measure and assess our progress so we’re not negatively surprised on race day. If we know where we’re at we can take action to course correct if we need to.


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