Generally, I’m not big on rules. I know this is shocking. But rule-following just isn’t a high priority of mine. Actually, that’s pretty much why I decided ultimately not to go to West Point. Like, let’s all recognize our own personal strengths — and obeying orders isn’t one of mine. (Instead, I went to UC Berkeley. Which I’m just gonna set down right there.)
Yet. There are many, many arbitrary rules that govern my training. Lots of rules I make for myself and others. #1 is always: Do not skip workouts; never skip workouts.
Some good rules of thumb:
- If someone’s in the pool, waiting on the wall, and still has their goggles on, then they don’t want to have a conversation. (That one is from Tommy Zaferes actually, but is a good rule.)
- Do not ride before 9 a.m. in the winter.
- No Garmins in the pool.
- No starting a ride outside if it’s already raining.
- If you’re a random dude, before giving training advice to a female stranger, maybe ask yourself what makes you think you know more than her.
- Actually, if I don’t know you, not talking to me during a workout is generally a good rule.
Steve has lots more rules: knee warmers are dumb, always wear high socks when biking, if you don’t record the workout then it didn’t happen. And his old cycling teammates used to have even crazier rules: only white socks, and I don’t even know, I mostly tuned them out.
Those are mostly rules for other people, but there are really all kinds of arbitrary rules I make for myself as I’m going. And, once I make a rule, I pretty much always stick to it: Do not get dropped before 10 miles. Do not get slower than “x” on any of these intervals. Make it to two before you switch which hand your water bottle is in. No alcohol until after the last workout of the day, but TRX doesn’t necessarily count if it’s the last workout of the day and you want to have a beer during. My current rule — because I was cutting rides too short last season — is: You can’t be more than 5% short of the total time for the day (unless it’s a complete recovery or post-race day, in which case who cares).
And one of my key rules, one of the ones I learned is definitely important, is: No fighting with people on social media (or IRL) the week of a race. Nope, sorry, I can’t waste all this excess energy and I’m not spending emotional capital. Needless to say, this is challenging right now. I was basically so angry this past weekend I was nauseous for three days. So. Well. If I was getting angry this week, then I might tell you about a number of things that are concerning me. Like a lot. But I’m not. Because I have a marathon on Sunday and it’s a rule.