Mitchell Quinn never misses a workout. Rather, he rarely — very rarely —misses a workout. Nearly 50 days into 2016 and the multi-disciplinary rider hasn’t gone a single day without getting on the trainer — that’s not even the most impressive part of his story.

Since September of 2014, Mitchell has been riding consistently every day, if not twice a day, in order to improve his fitness and prepare for local cycling events like the Umstead Gravel Grinder, which he won last year.

The 42-year-old father of two from North Carolina hasn’t always been so committed to his training. “Until I started training inside and first thing in the morning, I had never been very consistent. I would flame out by the end of summer, or I would just not ride in the winter, starting over from zero,” he confessed. Adding, “I effectively took 5 years away from serious riding when my two kids, Simon and Bridget, were babies. I just couldn’t figure out a good way to integrate training back into my new life without compromising family time.”

After an impressive 2015 — he only missed 20 days of riding due to a back injury, sickness and a family vacation to Disneyland, completing a total of 353 workouts in the year — it’s safe to say Mitchell figured it out. His solution? Structured training.

In an email he told us, “Finding and using TrainerRoad has been the key to keeping me motivated, focused and well rested throughout the year. I love long outdoor epic rides, and by keeping my fitness high, I am ready for one when the opportunity presents itself.” He also added, “I like that I’m able to minimize the impact on family time by doing the bulk of my training before anyone is even awake.”

An unwavering commitment to training and an equally unwavering commitment to family don’t commonly go hand in hand. The balance is difficult to strike, but Mitchell is a shining example of how the two can be achieved. To best explain how he’s able to manage it all, he shared the following insights:

Determination Only Wins You Half the Battle

Having determination is important, but a respect for efficiency is equally so. That’s what Mitchell has learned since he started his daily workouts a couple years ago. Without a defined plan and only one’s strength of character to call on, it’s easy to fall into the destructive habit of working harder and more than necessary. When you have a family and full-time job like Mitchell does, you avoid this at all costs.

The second his alarm goes off at 5:00 am, Mitchell knows exactly what he needs to do. There’s no researching which type of intervals is best for the phase of training he’s in, writing his workouts down in advance, looking at tomorrow’s weather forecast or planning his riding route. He keeps things simple so he can focus on the one thing that really matters: doing his workout.

All Mitchell has to do is get up, get ready, choose his scheduled workout and get to training. That’s his “secret” to success. Take today for example. His training plan prescribed Spruce Knob, a 90-minute sweet spot workout aimed at increasing his muscular endurance. He smashed that workout at 5:19 am then got to making breakfast for his kiddos.

Taking a simple, well-directed approach to training allowed Mitchell to work through Base, Build and Specialty Phases, then rebuild for another Specialty Phase in 2015 (see his plans below). After all that work did he take time off? Nope. He’s currently in the middle of a Traditional Base plan, laying down a solid foundation for this year. Is that impressive or what? We think so.

Use Two-a-Days to Your Advantage

We mentioned earlier that Mitchell completed 353 workouts last year and missed 20 days of workouts. That math doesn’t add up until you take into account the eight days he did two workouts in a single day. Sometimes he would do two workouts back to back, other times he would do one workout at his normal morning time and another one in the evening around 6:00 pm.

Without more information some cyclists might assume Mitchell’s a victim of overtraining. That’s entirely false. The fact of the matter is, second workouts are very effective if they’re short, easy and offset by proper recovery — that’s how he gets it right. When you understand the difference between riding easy and riding easy enough to avoid further fatigue like Mitchell does, you put yourself at an advantage. So on weeks you know you need to bump up your TSS a bit, you can do so wisely.

Keep Family Your First Priority

Family has and always will be Mitchell’s number one focus. That’s never hampered his ability to train hard — why would it ever have to? On family vacations to the beach, he takes his KICKR with him to do his morning workouts like usual; and on weekends when he has more time to ride and spend with his family, he combines the two. (His seven-year-old son, Simon, now loves to ride with him!)

Just like Mitchell never makes excuses to get out of family duties, he applies that same rule to his training. “I don’t miss a day. Even if it’s a short ride,” he says. His TrainerRoad workout feed is proof of that. Since he started TrainerRoad 519 days ago on September 16, 2014, he’s completed 516 rides.

As Mitchell keeps his 2016 streak of daily workouts going, his focus is on a few new goals: a big mountain century, the Thunder Ridge KOM and an everesting attempt in October. With his dedication, we have no doubt he’ll crush ‘em all.

Want to get into structured training? Find the training plan that takes into account your specific cycling discipline, unique race goals and current fitness level.

Photo Credit: Shannon Johnstone