This year I have been promoted to elite and taken on a new challenge of endurance racing! Its similar to cross country with a mix of open trail and singletrack, but the distances start at around 24 miles which is a vast difference from the short sharp cross country racing I am used, where laps are around 3 – 5 miles long.

As this is going to be a big change for me I decided to hire a coach to help me plan my training and focus.

So far this is working really well. Mark Grange at Velo Coaching writes my weekly programme and we use Training Peaks to log and monitor my training. The system links directly into my Garmin making it simple and easy to use.

Like most people I work full time. I usually train 5 days a week, which is a lot of hours to get in! I also run my own coaching company on the side so sometimes trying to fit in time to spend with loved ones and training all seems a bit much.

To balance out this training load I have started training before work starting around 6.30/7.00. I am able to get a good hour or two of training in at a time when I would usually be tucked up in bed! Being an early bird this doesn’t affect me and as long as I’m in bed by 10.30 I haven’t found that the reduction in sleep has impacted on me.

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Getting up early is about mental determination and also preparation the night before. I get all of my stuff out and ready. Clothes on the radiator, shoes at the door, lights on the bike, then its just a case of rolling out of bed and getting out of the door!

The other part of this is having a clear goal, especially when its dark and raining, going out with no really clear goal is tough. Therefore having a clear training plan and knowing exactly how long and what I have to achieve in that time makes it easier to get up and go.

There is a certain joy to training early. When I first roll out of my driveway its pitch black and the only noises are my breathing and my bikes wheels turning. If I am going through the countryside then ill often meet the odd runner or dog walker but apart from that everything is still. Slowly the birds start to come alive and the sky turns from inky blue to a lighter more brighter shade. It’s a peaceful and pretty time to ride, run or walk. So, if your struggling to keep to your New Year’s resolution to go to the gym or go to a class because of time, then try an early morning run or ride you might just find this is a good time for you too!