It’s so exciting when you’re new to a sport or activity and you start seeing gains really quickly. Every week you slash seconds, minutes, miles off your previous week’s record. I remember when I started cycling with Portland Velo, I did my longest ride ever every single weekend for a summer. Every Saturday I rode 5 or 10 miles longer then I had ever ridden before. After I finished a 70-miler, I rode in the inaugural Portland Century, on my heavy-ass flat bar hybrid.
After a few years of “serious” training and racing, those gains seriously diminished. Or rather, I stopped training so seriously, and I never got back to those pre-injury numbers. So every year I’ve just trying to not be completely embarrassing on group rides and finish decently at mountain bike races.
But now that I’m actually training and training for something new, I am getting those crazy gains again. Every week I tick up in speed and distance, every week I get PRs on Strava. It’s really intoxicating.
I keep wondering when I’ll hit the ceiling. I’m too early in my training for that to be any time soon. If anything, that ceiling will eventually come down to meet me when I run out of time to train, or I get hit with injury, or I stop following coach DJ’s plan. I don’t think I’ve ever hit “peak” fitness with anything; I don’ t think I’ve ever given myself that chance. There are lots of ceilings along the way: how far I can get on my own with my limited knowledge of training, how far I can get without regular PT and bodywork, how far I can get with having a full time job and other responsibilities, how far I can get without burning out and losing interest.
But never once have I gone as far I can go before I just literally cannot get any faster. There are always limitations, and it’s just about working around them as best you can. The biggest factor for me, and most people, is time. So how I can fix that? Well, I’m working on it 😉