december is the new january


There’s a post in the drafts folder of the blog called “November is the new January” but frankly November kind of just pounced on me, tackled me to the ground, and pinned me before I even had a chance to tap the mat.

I keep losing track of time and dates and missing deadlines and losing things, including sleep. I’m blaming midterm grading frenzy and the US election. I mentioned to Tracy the other idea for starting something in November and she said, looking at me in a concerned way, and told me that it was already halfway through November. “You know that, right?” she asked.

It’s also been the weirdly warm weather that’s accounting for mistaking November for October. This week I was giving a talk at McMaster University and I was wearing tights and a skirt and wooly sweater. And I was way too warm. The daytime high was 20 degrees Celsius. That’s not exactly November weather.

And this post reminded me that I always struggle with November. November is the very worst month.

So let’s move on and think about December. Why December? I wrote last year about the natural pause in the typical cyclist’s training schedule. See Bye bye cycling rest period, hello trainer in the basement!. Why not just wit until the traditional January 1st kick off to a new year of fitness?

Here’s what I wrote about this last year:

Just a few years ago, my fitness would come to a screeching halt in October and I’d try to pick it back up again in January. Since we started this blog and ramping up our fitness efforts coming up to our 50th birthdays, the autumn slump hasn’t been so dramatic.

Since I started working with a cycling coach I’ve been riding on a trainer through the late fall and early winter. But still there’s a bit of gap, a transition between outdoor riding and indoor training, For the serious cyclists , it’s even got a name.

“Racing cyclists call this end of season break from cycling the ‘transition period’, as its name suggests, you ‘transition’ from one season to the next, and this rest is usually taken in October.”


I like the idea of hitting the holiday season with my fitness habits in place. It’s not about weight or dieting. It’s partly the stress of all the social stuff. I like my time at the gym. It’s also about aging. When I was younger I could take longer breaks. Now I notice fitness drops off quickly.

So yes, while I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions, I do think about getting fit for next year’s cycling season. And for me this year, December 1st will be the new January 1st.

How about you? Are there natural highs and lows in your training schedule? More intense and less intense phases? How’s January 1st fit into all that?


4 thoughts on “december is the new january

  1. I tend to have a rolling set of things I am trying to achieve or maintain, and add to them throughout the year. January 1 is a good review point, but I find myself doing seasonal checks and changes too. I do try to be out doing something fun and physical on January 1 – a run or cycle or hike – but more as a superstition than anything else:-)
    That said…it is important to have periods in the year when you are not full-on training for an A event, as it is easy to get burnt out otherwise, but I suppose it is how that works for you as an individual.

  2. Winter rest? Not here. December through February are peak training for my spring races. No cycling, but there’s Aikido, strength training, and plenty of running. Cold and snow? Bring it! I’ll be in that much better shape in April. This year July and August were my main recovery months.

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