July 25, 2020

Planning for success

I recently took part in a long distance bike ride event (Ride London). This would be the furthest I had ever cycled in a day so my legs and, more importantly, my back side would need some significant training to get used to being in the saddle for so long. Being a scientist, my approach was pretty structured and methodical, and it struck me how similar many aspects of my planning were to managing my clients in my day job as an account director at a busy life science marketing agency.

Defining the end goal. Pretty easy; to get round the course in one piece and hopefully enjoy doing it! Paying and telling my colleagues and friends was enough to ensure I was committed.

Planning the schedule. Training became a priority as somehow I needed to carve out extra time in an already busy family calendar. Cue the Excel spreadsheet, with slots booked for short rides, long rides and other fitness training. Activities were staggered evenly throughout the eight weeks leading up to the event date, but with the intensity and endurance increasing as my fitness levels improved.

Setting KPIs. I defined speed and overall mileage on my training rides as the key indicators of my performance, and quickly became addicted to tracking all my stats on Strava both during a ride and straight after.

Sourcing the right assets. Number one, a bike! Tick. Many other essentials I already had, but there were a few things I quickly realised would really make my life more comfortable. A new pair of cycling shorts with extra cushioning (!), better socks so that my feet didn’t get so numb and a lighter coloured cycling top so that I didn’t get quite so hot.

Flexibility to make adjustments. Even with all the preparation I had done, that’s not to say everything went according to plan on the day of course! The most significant was the weather; after having approx. 40 days of stinking hot and dry weather, it rained heavily all day on the ride. This changed the conditions dramatically, but I had planned my gear well enough to cope with most eventualities.

Return on investment. Definitely! Great sense of achievement, boosted self-confidence and improved fitness.

Campaign review. Given that I really didn’t hurt much in the days after, I think my body must have been pretty well prepared. Very satisfied with my time and the whole experience, so all in all a successful campaign. The results say it’s worth me doing it again next year!

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