From World Bicycle Relief’s Katie Bolling:
Looking back at my #fitbyspring journey so far, I came up with my list of top 10 tips for reaching your goal. I hope these will come into handy for someone who wants to have a new mindset when it comes to their training or perhaps this will help other women who also work and have kids to figure out what #fitbyspring means to them. Good luck!
10. Don’t compare yourself to others
I know this is a cliché, but it’s true. I really believe in it. For example, I’m part of the #fitbyspring club on Strava. I feel like I’m doing absolutely everything in my powers to ride as much as I can but when I go to the club page, I’m totally floored by Jered Gruber and Ted King’s miles. Damn them! But then I reassess the situation and remember our lives are quite different and I feel happy that I’m on the list and simply compare myself week over week. Now, that’s comparing apples to apples!
9. Think a Day Ahead or Two Ahead
I feel I do a good job with time management and having a clear understanding of my priorities and responsibilities on an ongoing basis but I think it’s even wiser to try and have a grasp on what the upcoming days hold. I think this is particularly important as a full-time working mom. Understanding the whole family’s schedule ensures that I know exactly when I need to fit in an hour Zwift ride. Often that’s at 5:30am in the morning. I’ve been super dedicated to this thought process and it’s worked well. I’ve been able to get in all the training that I could realistically fit in and I haven’t dropped the ball on my responsibilities to my kids and family. Overall, that’s a very satisfying feeling.
8. Embrace Reality
To my point above, I’ve been on top of things and have felt really good about managing it all. With that said, my daughter (she’s five) came down with a bad stomach virus (Fifth’s Disease) about a week and half ago. I stayed home and took care of her and spent a lot of time cleaning to say the least. During my competitive days, this would have thrown a huge wrench in my plans. When I did Ironman Wisconsin in 2006, my son was nine months and he came down with something about a week before the race. I was totally out of sorts and didn’t handle the situation well. In the end, I left for the race venue a few days earlier than I had planned and my husband stayed home with our son. Perhaps I did the right thing for myself as an athlete but I don’t think it was the most responsible choice as a parent. This past week I accepted that I wanted to take care of her. If that meant missing targets, fine. There will be other races and #fitbyspring can change to #fitbysummer. Don’t let the things that are most important slide – no matter how fit you want to be.
7. Get on Zwift!
This was the tool that really ensured I could fit in work-outs around my career and family. Zwift has really changed the game for me and is adding training value to people around the world. Fairly simply put: if you haven’t tried Zwift yet, learn more about it now. Like right after you read this!
6. Strava segments rule!
If never before, this is the section where I will really prove that I’m a huge dork. As most you know, Strava resets at the start of the calendar and there’s a new chance to snag 2016 segments. Because fat bikers are the only people riding right now, this has worked out quite favorably in my neighborhood. We have a fairly vibrant fat biking community with a decent amount of trails. I have been hell-bent set on getting the climbing segments in our hood – for both men and women. My husband thinks this is hysterical because who knows if any of the other cyclists care about this. Point being: I care and I want them all. This has literally had me Scooby-Doo running over icy sections and hurling myself up snowy rocks with a head-lamp on at 6:30am by myself but I don’t give a damn. Those segments have inspired me to gear up, wake up, and everything in between. Thank you, Strava!
5. Want It.
#Fitbyspring was a great way to motivate myself for at the World Fat Bike Championships, an event I’d been aiming for.
As my confidence grew, I started wondering if I had a chance to podium. I was giddy when I looked up my division, “Women’s Open/Amateur”. There would only be 15 of us – sweet! Then I looked at the racers names and I was happy – I saw two names of women who I know through work and both very accomplished professional athletes. They would definitely ensure that I would need to bring by best if I wanted to podium at the amateur race. I would need to pack my A Game. Want It. Really want things in life. I think it’s a great way to live.
4. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, it starts feeling like one. I saw this in social media as I was leaving the coffee shop. How true is this? In that moment, I couldn’t help but get swept up in a moment of complete gratitude. I’m sure that the majority of the people reading this have ample opportunity in front of them and that many of you capitalize on this. Let’s remember this and live it every day. On my walk back to the house I was staying at, I noticed everything – the dust of snow covering the sidewalk, the colorful buildings and the bustle of skiers headed to the mountain. There I was in Crested Butte at the Fat Bike World Championships! F&*K yes! It was going to be a great day!
3. Surround yourself with people who reflect the kind of person you want to be. Even at a Race. I think this is one of the most important things we can do in life. You tend to lift your own self standards when you surround yourself with people you admire and respect. This is how I feel about my colleagues at SRAM. In lieu of my family being there, they welcomed me as one of their own. They provided me with great company for meals and lodging and treated me like a SRAM pro on race day – mechanics, support, you name it. Truly, one of the greatest joys of my career at World Bicycle Relief is being surrounded by generous, awesome, and high-expectations-kinds-of-people. Be it with InGamba and SRAM, these are the kinds of partners and people that I truly treasure as part of my job. Do this with racing and training and you’ll be your best athlete – but more importantly, your best person. Find a coach, training partners, and a team that reflect who you want to be.
2. Know where the finish line is. As to my race report above, know what you’re aiming for – be it on race day or your training goals. Know when you need to bury your head and when you can celebrate with a donut. Acknowledge all the effort along the way is part of the journey and give yourself the opportunity to celebrate milestones along the way.
1. Keep perspective and balance. Perhaps a few of my points have alluded to this but I think perspective is a true key to life. I’ve gotten it wrong a few times and learned from it. I think it’s something we all struggle with along the way: the need/desire to balance personal happiness and fitness goals with family and responsibilities. Most of us are amateur athletes, let’s remember this. I went to Italy with InGamba this past fall. One of the rides we did was on this gorgeous road (well, they were actually all gorgeous) but this road was particularly picturesque. We were surrounded by sweeping vistas of Cyprus trees, vineyards and blue sky. I just couldn’t get enough. I made the calculated decision to get off the group train and stop for a picture. It was just me and the surrounding area. I ended up hanging on to Eros Poli’s wheel with the rough attempt to re-catch the group. We never caught up so I rolled into the coffee stop on my own but with a smile. I had stopped to take in the view. Life is short – work hard, dream big, have fun and for goodness sake, keep a level head, stop for coffee…and please stop to take in the view.gistics of the finish line are key in those moments. That’s what happened here. I knew th