Monday, May 18, 2015

The Goal Flexibility Algorithm

Yesterday was Sunday, which usually means just one thing to me - recovery rides. For the most part, I’ve spent every Sunday for the last several years going for a nice easy 25 mile recovery ride.  Yesterday, I went for a 5 mile run instead.  This change can be best explained by the Goal Flexibility Algorithm.  

The Goal Flexibility Algorithm can get very complicated but in its simplest version it goes like this - set goals at the beginning of the year and stick to those goals unless something more fun comes along.  It’s the complete opposite of the Goal Rigidity Constant, which states you will accomplish all goals you set come hell or high water. 

Here’s what 2015 was supposed to look like.  I was going to reach 5,000 miles on the bike (after reaching 4,700 last year).  I identified two century rides I’ve either never done or have not done in a very long time.  And finally, I was going to quit running so I had maximum bike time available.

What changed? A colleague at work casually stated she wanted to run the Ragnar Relay race from San Francisco to Calistoga. This casual statement is all it took to set the algorithm into high gear. You see, I’ve not only heard about this event but I have friends who have done it (or similar relays) and they always have a blast.

To add more fun into the algorithm, the Ragnar Relay is completed as part of a 12-person team.  Now, not only do I have a new cool challenge to consider but I get to do it with some really cool people.  As we continued to talk about the event, the fun quotient just kept going up until I finally stated , “Let’s do it!!!”

After our chat, I immediately went online to see what the hell I just agreed to.  The Ragnar Relay Napa Valley, as it is officially named, starts in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and finishes in Calistoga in the northern Napa Valley.  It is a total of 205 miles.  Each person on your team runs 3 segments, which can vary from 3 to 11 miles in length. Lastly, the relay is in late October so we have plenty of time to train.

The next thing you know, I am the co-captain of a relay running team in search of 10 other crazy ass runners to join us.  You may be happy to know that we already have a full compliment of runners.  We are officially registered and we’ve held our first planning session.  Everyone agrees it’s going to be a blast. 

Windsor Half Marathon 2011
How does the impact the cycling? Well, there’s no way I’ll hit 5,000 miles this year because I’m doing a lot more running, I’m already 800 miles behind where I was last year.  I had already registered for both of the centuries so I still plan on riding those.  This means I’ve got to walk a delicate line between my running and cycling training.

Now, I just have to settle into my new routine.  No more ride hard Saturday, ride easy Sunday for me.  Instead, it will be ride moderately hard Saturday and go for a good run on Sunday.  I think it’s going to be a nice change of pace.

What about the Goal Flexibility Algorithm?  For the time being it’s on lock down.  The Ragnar Relay has all the components I look for in a fun and challenging event so I’m pretty confident nothing better will come along.  I’ll unlock it in November when I start to focus on goals for 2016.

Until then, I’ll just continue to replace my cycling shoes with running shoes on Sundays and focus on having a great time with my team.


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