In search of competition

Life is dramatically different since my last post.
1) I have a new job – I am now ‘Marketing Assistant’ at Evans Cycles – and will be working on catalogues/print adverts/campaigns/store launches etc as of Monday.
(more about this: here:

2) I have a new home – which is WARM and has a FREEZER and a BATH – a couple of weeks in and I’m feeling a lot healthier and a lot happier, which is great (obviously).

It also has a turbo room and a lovely, equally barmy housemate:

I also decided that training had got into a bit of a rut – and was approaching that horrible state of plateau that is best avoided like the plague. I came to this realisation around April/May last year and enlisted a coach – which made an amazing difference with immediate effect. This time around I’m planning to enlist more local clubs. Redhill CC have been amazing for my cycling, and I hope that Redhill and Reigate Swim Club, and Reigate Priory Running Club will help pull my other disciplines out of the dulldrums.

I’ve push myself the most on group bike rides, when there is someone faster than me sharing my lane in the pool, or when someone has the audacity to overtake me when running (happens a lot…). Therefore plunging myself into a pool full of masters on a Monday night at the pool right opposite my new home seems a good idea. Taking myself down to the park for an interval session on a Saturday morning seems smart too, that or hauling my body to Banstead for Park Run. And yes, I will be exchanging long ride from Saturday to Sunday – mainly because having a ‘primary’ run training session every Sunday, after killing myself on a bike every Saturday, I believe is having a severely detrimental effect on running.

This sounds all a bit ‘new leaf’/’new year’ doesn’t it? Well… whoever said the new year has to begin on January 01?

I remember entering Spring last year with a dread hanging over me that all my winter of training was going to amount to nothing, that I would arrive at my 2011 races in exactly the same state as my 2010 attempts, be no faster, and have wasted hours and hours of torture (at the time – this consisted of a lot of 20min bike/20min run/20min bike or 3x(10min bike/10min run) sessions in the gym – ALL WINTER , and a lot of 100,200,300,400,500,400,300,200,100 swims…).

I’ve had a few moments, over the last few weeks, where I’ve felt just the same. Last year I took action, and my fears were proved to be totally unfounded, and it seems around now is a good time to make sure that is the case once again.

Group sessions mean fitting to someone elses schedule, training late in the evening when I’d rather get it done by 8.30am, not always sticking to exactly the session I want to do, which can mess with the overall plan. However, they also mean competition, leaving the comfort zone of ‘I can only push as hard as I’m capable’ behind, and learning to push harder. Because, believe me, you can always push harder.

Good luck all – enjoy the February snow..

Published by michellearthurs

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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