My "training plan," such as it is, leading into the Fall River Crit this Sunday, was to overload last week and reduce volume for this week, concentrating on speed. The graph above shows the resulting mileage - a record at almost 260 miles for the week, including an incidental benefit of breaking 3,000 miles for the year so far.
"Reducing volume" will likely be relative. All I was planning on riding this week was tomorrow night's race and Wednesday night's group ride, with rest days for today and the remainder of the week (maybe an easy ride Saturday morning too). But the forecast is looking good to ride into work on Wednesday. And I may get a good hilly ride in Thursday morning too. So while volume will be "reduced" (i.e. I'll definitely have fewer than 260 miles for the week), it won't exactly be a rest week.
And I've discovered something about myself the past couple of months: I'm actually seeking out hillier routes. Now, don't get me wrong, I haven't become a hill climber all-of-a-sudden, and I still hate'em when I'm in the middle of'em. But between where I live (which is relatively flat/easy rolling) and crit racing, I get plenty of flat speedwork. If "race your strengths and practice your weaknesses" is the goal, then needing to climb is the motivation.
This is especially true if I plan to ever do actual road races. And I plan to do my second-ever road race at the end of this month. So I'm logging in the miles, and embracing the hills when I find them. I may not ever like road racing as much as crits, but at least hills don't scare me as much as they used to - and fast descents are at least as fun as racing.
What has this to do with motivation? While I offer no earth-shattering insight, I can attest that the old advice remains true: Continue to challenge yourself with new goals to keep motivation high and avoid getting into a rut. For me that challenge is riding my bike over 40 miles into work and back when I can, and checking out topo maps for new hills to climb.
Finding "new hills to climb" may be a too-obvious metaphor for motivating oneself, but it's been working for me lately. What "hills" are you challenging yourself with this summer?