With her Winter training well under way, TORQ-fuelled track cyclist Jan Birkmyre tells us about her focus for the 2015 season…
According to research, just 8% of us will keep our New Year’s resolutions, so I have avoided even the suggestion of failure by not making any … and I have to tell you, I really recommend it, it feels good! I do however set goals for each season and ensuring I achieve them, will probably require just as much dedication as keeping my New Year’s resolutions, but I’m not going to dwell on that.
Goal setting is an art form and plenty has been written about it, so I won’t go into the detail, but suffice to say, they need to be sufficiently challenging in order to make them worth the sacrifices required to achieve them and they need to be fresh. At my age and after 10 years of competition, finding goals with the right freshness quotient is much harder than finding ones that are challenging. It is therefore with some trepidation that I am going to come out and declare that am training with the sole objective of improving my pursuit times this year. I want a new PB – actually I prefer the term “lifetime best” it sounds so much more awesome – over 2k this year. I reckon riding pursuits is a little like giving birth – apparently, if you remembered how painful it was, you would never do it twice. The only problem with that analogy is that I do remember how painful it was when I rode my last PB, in fact I remember almost every pedal stroke that lowered my 2K time to 2:32.632. I was literally rolling on the floor in agony afterwards and I want to go 1.07 seconds faster than that. Why? Because the current World Masters record for my age group is 2:31.570 and I want to take that record.
In the past, I have set records over 200m and 500m, and since I first rode the National Champs in 2005, I have been typecasted as a sprinter. For what it is worth, I rode the sprint events that year because I figured I could do less damage to myself and those around me if I was on the track alone, or with one other person at most. I actually met Victoria Pendleton in the semi- finals that year… if only she had known the danger she faced!
My commitment & primary goal for 2015 started 10 weeks ago, when I got into my Winter training properly on November 1st. Never have I started serious training this early and the training I am doing is different; harder, longer and, of course, smarter, I always need to be smarter. Juggling work, training and recovery becomes more of a skill as the training demands increase, logically something has to give, but that is where the smarter comes in. The facilitator of all this new pain is my power meter, linked to a Garmin Edge 1000. There is nothing new about training with power, but I am learning that doing it properly means hurting myself more than ever before and I am finding that my conversations are now peppered with new acronyms; FTP, TSS, TSB, HRV – I accept that I’m not likely to be in demand at any dinner parties in the foreseeable future, but that is one of the many prices I am prepared to pay. Hell, I don’t have the energy for a social life anyway!
And if all of that is not enough to put you off, then let me share the cheery words from my coach as we set my programme for January and February. He told me “you’re still banking some really good work, Jan, a bit more patience and we’ll soon be into the painful stuff” oh yay!
Happy New Year to you – I hope yours is less painful than mine!
Thank you to those that help, David Jack and Chris Davies are at the top of that list, and also to the companies that have supported me year after year:
www.todayscyclist.co.uk Lake shoes, KMC chains, Jagwire cables, Limar helmet/glasses
www.torqfitness.co.uk nutrition; energy powder, bars, gels and recovery
www.hellyhansen.com base layers, sports bras, running shoes, stretch pants and fleeces
www.lakecycling.com Lake shoes
www.limar.com Helmets and glasses
www.halfords.com – cycling Garmin Edge 1000