You know that visceral feeling of jumping in the water off of a high cliff?
Only to have your stomach twisted by a fall that is far greater than what you expected.
It is the closest I can get to describing my current state of mood. Excited, and at the same time sick to my stomach.
I just signed up for the Haute Route Alps 2020.
What is the Haute Route Alps?
Haute Route Alps is a 7 day stage race taking you across the breathtakingly beautiful French Alps down to Nice and the Côte d’Azur.
It is not the 7 days of racing that worries and excites me.
Nor is it the total distance of 800 kilometers.
It is the 20 000 meters of altitude gain that gets to me.
Partly because my 191 cm make me better suited for downhill skiing and beach volleyball than climbing a road bike. However, partly because of my terrible climbing skills I love the victorious feeling of ticking off yet another mountain pass.
Over the next 38 weeks leading up to the race I am going do share my preparations here on this website.
Why I decided to document the process
The question of why you do something may greatly impact your rate of success in what you are doing.
Research suggests that athletes who are driven by internal motivation tends to pursue their goals with greater effort, and thereby also achieve greater success (1).
Whereas athletes who are driven primarily by external motives (e.g. outside pressure and expectations) tend to display inferior results, and also lower well-being (1).
To paraphrase Michael Jr.:
It is not about what race you are doing. It is about why your are doing it. When you know your why, your training becomes more powerful. Because you are moving towards your goal with a greater purpose.
Becoming a better version
So what exactly is my why then?
I have already done my fair share of stupidly long races, including the 430 km Jotunheimen Rundt and the 220 km Norseman Xtreme triathlon. Most often with sub-par preparations and lackluster commitment.
I am certainly no stranger to finishing long races on will power and self-talk rather than supreme cardiovascular endurance. As such, taking on the Haute Route Alps is not about the challenge of the distance and climbs per se.
Instead, my “Project Haute Route” is partly fueled by a desire to put my money where my mouth is.
For one reason or the other, the last time I started a race and was properly well prepared I was 19 years of age. I miss the sensation of knowing that you are strong. I miss the thrill of surprising myself with my own performance.
Furthermore, this project is also partly fueled by a desire to inspire.
I want to demonstrate in real life what you can achieve with simple means and effective training. So that hopefully you will be inspired to pursue lofty goals for yourself.
However, more pivotal is my desire to become a better version of myself.
I am not signing up for a demanding race despite having a busy everyday schedule. I am signing up because I am busy.
I am by no means a “training addict” who works out on autopilot. On a busy and rainy Monday afternoon, I am as uninspired as the next guy.
I am currently in a job situation that is tremendously busy. As such I need this project to force myself to making better and more healthy lifestyle choices on a daily basis. Simply put, to train, eat, sleep and rest better.
In order to do that, I needed a lofty goal.
I just got one.
What is next?
Over the next months I will be sharing:
- the theoretical framework
- the practical considerations
- the results and progress
…from my weekly training here on the website.
This will take shape more of common blog posts than the science-driven articles you are used to reading. However, as always I will strive to highlight what is science and what is my own personal interpretations and applications.
Hope you’ll find it interesting.
PS! For the most up-to-date workouts, tests and results follow “Project Haute Route” on my Instagram.
- Healy LC et al. Goal setting in sport and performance. Oxford Encyclopedia of Psychology. Oxford University press, 2018.