Spring arrives... Routines and Rituals, Part I

We all have familiar practices that mark the beginning of spring as we are energized by the longer days of sunshine and warming temperatures.  In Toronto, it's not uncommon to embrace the season and prematurely pack away our tights and long sleeves, only to find snow flakes flying a week later as Mother Nature plays an April Fool's Joke on us all.

At this time of year, it's a good idea to have regular routines, which are things to prepare for the training and racing workload to come.

I pair those with personal rituals, which are things to better appreciate the changing environment around me.

Together, they ensure you're physically, mentally and spiritually in the right place for race season.

In part I of this post, I share my routines.  Come back next Monday for my springtime rituals.


Tune up my bike - At home, I will wash my bike to remove the dust that naturally builds up over the course of spending a winter indoors.  I'll lube my chain and check that everything is tight and secure.  Canadian Cycling Magazine offers these eight tips for an easy spring tune-up that you can do at home.  Seeing as I live in the confines of a condo building, with limited space for cleaning and repairs, I will visit my local bike store to have the team ensure that my Felt is in fine racing form.

Ready to race at Montreal's Esprit Triathlon Weekend in 2016.

Freshen up my gear - Knowing that duathlon season is mere weeks away, I will review and adjust my equipment.  I will get a fresh pair of runners, if my body is telling me it's time and mileage warrants it.  (This article from Competitor.com shares lots of advice on this topic.)  While I'm at it, I'll buy elastic shoe laces to make transitions quick and snappy.  I've already checked my supplies and confirmed that I need necessities like new bicycle tubes, CO2 cartridges, and handlebar tape.

This year, I've got my eye on a Bluetooth heart rate strap and a Torhans VR water bottle.  I admit that neither is a critical addition to my arsenal, but I have plans for how I'd use them in training and racing.

Since I'm on a roll, I might also spruce up my bike with something new, like this maple leaf sticker set I got for Christmas - thanks Secret Santa and Veloink!  (Okay, is this truly refreshing my gear or a shopping spree?)

Plan my nutrition - I begin contemplating what nutrition I will need for longer training sessions, including bike rides out of the city.  This season, I've committed to focusing even more on natural energy sources, using products like Endurance Tap and practicing recipes from the Vegetarian Athlete's Cookbook (review to follow in the coming weeks!).

Endurance Tap: just three ingredients: maple syrup, ginger and sea salt! 

The newest cookbook in my collection and an instant favourite.  

Map out new running routes - With the days growing longer and snow a thing of the past, I'll venture out further on foot to explore new territory in the city.  This can make for some great fartlek and/or hill training, depending on where you end up.  I have discovered that Toronto is not as flat as I thought it was....

I'll be back next week with part II of this post, focusing on springtime rituals.  Until then, happy training.