Friday, November 20, 2009

Training: The morning schizoids

I'm going to stop setting myself up for failure with these morning rides. They're just not going to happen until the cold front moves away.

Last night, I laid out all my riding clothes on the kitchen table so that I could dress in the morning without waking up my wife. I put out my knee warmers, thermal booties, fleece vest, jersey, neck warmer hat thingy, arm warmers ... the whole works.

When the alarm went off at 5:15, I woke up and felt well rested. But I just couldn't get out of bed. Most homes in Guangzhou don't have central heating, so the mornings can be cruelly cold.

I stayed in bed as my mind started making a list of reasons why I should skip the ride. It said, "The wind is going to be brutal and you'll be miserable. You won't be able to ride that fast in the cold. Why practice riding slow? It'll be dark and there might be more of those broken bricks in the road that are so hard to see. When you rode Tuesday, a gust of wind almost blew you off your line and into traffic on the Pazhou Bridge. It could happen again." Then came the most persuasive argument: "The little Japanese girl next door just caught H1N1 and your daughters' schools have been closed to slow the illness from spreading. It's best not to push it now. Stay healthy and do everything possible to avoid sickness. Getting sick sets you farther back than skipping a workout."

So I didn't ride and stayed in bed until 6 a.m. - the point of no return for my morning workout. If I don't get out the door on the bike by 6 a.m., my workout plans are blown to hell. My narrow window of opportunity is between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.

I just watched the seconds tick past 6 a.m. At 6:01 a.m., another voice started whispering in my ear. The first thing it said was: "Loser! It's not that cold out there. After about 10 minutes on the road, you would have felt fine. Embrocation! The tough, unpleasant workouts are the most memorable and meaningful ones. You would have felt so proud of yourself if you would have gone out. You're going to lose precious fitness. In Belgium, this is summer weather!"

What will happen now is that I'll move my workouts to the evening. I'll like it at first and wonder why I even tried to ride in the morning. But then the negatives will start building up. I'll have to work late and will miss a key workout or two. Or I'll just want to relax and unwind during the evening and will resent having ONE MORE THING to do in the evening. The workouts will cut into my precious reading time.

Then I'll shift back to the mornings and it will begin again...

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