Planning For Next Season’s Training & Racing

This is a great time of the year to sit down and review how your 2021 season went and to start planning what you are going to do next season. It’s an ideal time to take a look at your technique in all the disciplines you race in, make any necessary changes and allow time for these changes to be embedded before you start racing. And, you should make sure all your little niggles and injuries are sorted before you start back into serious training.

First of all, considering the season you’ve just complete, think about what your goals are for the next season. Make sure you set goals that stretch you, but are achievable. Your goals should be one’s that you can control – e.g. don’t set a goal of winning the national championships – you can’t control who enters that race nor how well they race. Make sure you write your goals down – that makes them real!

Look at what went well last season and identify why – keep on doing those things! Examine what didn’t go so well – what can you do differently this year to improve on those things. These changes should start to form your training objectives for the coming season. Remember – you will race how you train, and if you keep training the same you will keep racing the same.

Prioritize the races you want to do next season. Your “A” Priority races are the ones where you really want to achieve your goals. These are the races that all your training is leading towards and are the races that you will aim to peak for. Ideally you should have 2 or possibly 3 “A” Priority races a season, this is due to the time it takes to recover from and then re-build fitness for an “A” race. Your “B” Priority races will be those that are important to you, that you want to do well in and that you may do a small taper for. You may aim for up to six “B” Priority races a year. Your “C” priority races will be used as training races, gaining experience etc. You wouldn’t typically look to peak (or taper) for these races, nor expect stunning performances.

Try to phase your training working back from your first “A” priority race. A typically annual training plan may look something like this – 12 weeks Base phase, 8 weeks Build, 2 weeks Peak, up to 3 weeks Race. Each phase can be split into 4 weekly cycles – 3 weeks hard training with the 4th week being a recovery week. The base phase is where intensity is (comparatively) low and volume increases to be highest during the last cycle. The Build phase increases intensity and becomes more specific to the planned races and the Peak phase is heavily focussed on final preparation for racing. The Race phase is totally focussed on race preparation and maintaining form if doing multiple “A” races. As a general rule, as you work through the training plan you build volume during the base period, then the volume of training decreases but intensity increases. As you progress your training it gets more and more specific to the race/s you are targeting, typically including brick and race pace specific sessions. 

Group sessions are great for motivation and camaraderie so plan your training to include club and/or group sessions. As you enter the more specific training phases make sure you are doing the training you need to do and not somebody else’s – don’t get sucked into a testosterone packed efforts if you are supposed to doing an easy session!

Don’t forget that training shouldn’t be 100% focussed on your specific sports – improving your core and general strength, flexibility and mobility are all important as is nutrition, hydration and mental wellbeing. Put some time aside to focus on these aspects as well when you pull your plan together.

Finally plan your training around what you enjoy – it makes things seem so much easier!

We are happy to help you where we can, by working with you to create a personal plan for your training and racing next season. Please feel free to contact us to discuss further.

November 2020 – Swim and Massage Update

Due to the continuing raise in the number of COVID-19 cases and with HMG’s latest restrictions coming into force from 5th November, we will no longer be able to provide 1:1 swim sessions and our massage services also remain suspended.

We will review the situation in December with a view to restarting our swim and massage services in January 2021.

In the meantime stay safe, fit and healthy and remember we are still providing our 1:1 personal training plans.

1:1 Swim Sessions Back from 14th September

Good news – we are able to offer 1:1 Swim Sessions as from Monday 14th September. Sessions are available at Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Centre, Barnwood Gloucester. Please see our 1:1 Swim Coaching page for more details or use the Contact Us page if you require further information.

Archway School Pool remains closed for the time being, we are expecting further details regarding when they will open shortly. We will provide an update once we have further information.

Swim and Massage Update

Following last weeks announcement by HMG that indoor swimming pools can open from 25th July and Sport Massage Therapy can now resume, we have been leasing with the facilities that we use to provide our services. Currently neither the pool nor therapy rooms we use are planning to be operational until September at the earliest.

Given the above we will not be running our swim sessions nor providing Sports Massage Therapy until at least September. We will continue to provide updates as and when further information is available.

In the meantime, as noted in our previous post, we are able to provide 1-2-1 coaching and training plans in line with current guidelines from HMG and the relevant sporting bodies.

COVID-19 Update

Due to the current restrictions in place to protects us all from COVID-19, we are unable to provide sports massage therapy to our clients and our swim lessons and sessions are not possible. We are hoping for an update from HMG in the next couple of weeks regarding when they will be comfortable for massage and swim services to resume.

In the meantime, we continue to provide coaching and training plans to our athletes and can provide run and cycle coaching to individuals and small groups – ensuring that we adhere to HMG and sporting body social distancing guidance.

Importance of Nutrition and Hydration

As athletes it is important to make sure we are fuelling our bodies to the optimum level. This is ever more important as we progress through the current COVID-19 pandemic.

As we adjust to the lockdown (reduced training) and newer ways of working (from home) we need to make sure we don’t consume more calories than we need and don’t comfort eat and find ourselves putting on unnecessary kilo’s! To this end it is useful to plan our nutrition and make sure we don’t comfort or binge eat.

As a rough guide, and depending upon where we are in our training cycle, we should be looking at getting 25% of our calories from protein, 45%-55% from carbohydrates and 20%-30% from fats. How many calories we need in total will depend on how hard we are training and our current weight. As an example a 72kg male athlete in heavy training may require 4,250 calories per day and a 64kg female in a similar training phase 3,725 calories.

We should aim to eat fresh, un-processed foods and include a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in our diets. We should choose wholegrain and higher fibre foods with no added salt or sugar, lower fat versions of dairy produce and any oils or spreads we use should be unsaturated. We should include a couple of portions of sustainably sourced oily fish a week and try to avoid red and processed meats. Eating more beans and pulses will also help us achieve a healthy and balanced diet which contains all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals we need.

Don’t forget hydration, we should aim to drink little and often – processing of fluids is much more efficient if the gut is kept topped up rather than being allowed to empty and then re-filled. In general and depending upon the individual, to sustain our basic bodily functions males require about 3.8ltr of fluid and females 2.9ltr per day, this is before we undertake any form of exercise. We all have different sweat rates so the replenishment of fluid when exercising will vary between individuals but as a general rule when exercising look to consume about 1ml/kg body weight/hr of fluid.

Returning to Training post COVID-19

If you have been unlucky enough to have contracted COVID-19 you should have ceased all your training to enable your body to fight the virus and get you back healthy as soon as possible.

The virus can be debilitating and can mean you have to put off training for possibly several weeks. It can also leave you with residual fatigue meaning you feel tired after only a short, low intensity bought of activity.

If you monitor your resting heart rate and/or your heart rate variability, these will help you decide when you are well enough to resume training. When you return to training it is important that you start with short, easy sessions and if you encounter any symptoms of the virus, your resting heart rate increases or your heart rate variability decreases cease training and take a further period of rest.

You should aim to slowly and gradually build up the volume of your training before you start to introduce any higher intensity work. Take things steady and listen to your body to ensure you return to full fitness safely.

Maintaining Swim Fitness – When You Can’t Go To The Pool

As the UK COVID-19 lockdown extends for a further 3 weeks how are you maintaining your swim fitness and technique?

To help maintain shoulder fitness and strength you can be doing push-ups, pull-ups and seated dips and you can use a stretch cord to perform the following exercises:

Lateral Arm Raisers – secure cord under feet, hold hands in front of belly-button, palms together, then raise both elbows to shoulder height, moving hands upwards and outwards

Lateral Arm Raise - Start Lateral Arm Raise - End

Internal Shoulder Rotation – secure cord to a solid object at elbow height – keep elbow tucked into side, forearm horizontal and move hand against cord tension from outside bodyline across the centre of the body

Start position for internal shoulder rotation End position of internal shoulder rotation

External Shoulder Rotation – secure cord to a solid object at elbow height, keeping elbow tucked into side and forearm horizontal move hand against cord tension from centre of body to outside bodyline

Start position for external shoulder rotation End position of external shoulder rotation

To help you maintain your swim technique you can use the stretch cord to practice the underwater phase of the freestyle stroke. Secure the middle of the stretch cord to something solid at about waist height, hold one end of the cord in one hand the other end in the other hand, bend forward at the waist and extend arms forwards then take a step backwards to introduce tension. You can then pull hands back and push past hips as in the freestyle stroke. Focus on keeping your palm facing backwards and elbow high (don’t let the elbow drop) – and keeping the hand moving back in a smooth straight line. You can do this pulling with alternate hands or do several pulls at a time with one arm.

.Stretch Cord Catch Stretch Cord Push Back Dropped Elbow

Good luck with the above and we hope these exercises help keep you swim motivated.

Improve Your Bike Fit – whilst there’s no racing

If, due to the current exercise restrictions, most of your bike training is being done on a turbo/smart trainer indoors (or on the patio!), then you could use this opportunity to refine your position on the bike – your bike fit – and make the little improvements that could move your performance on the bike to the next level.

Have a look at videos and photos of pro riders and triathletes and look at their bike positions. You can set up your phone or tablet to record your position and then compare yourself with the pros. There are apps available that enable you to analyse your bike fit (Bike Fast Fit, Bike Fit etc.) so you can get a really good idea of how you position yourself on the bike and how you compare to bike fit best practice and to the pros.

Make a note of all your current bike settings and body position angles prior to making any changes, this will enable you to go back to your current set-up if changes don’t make a positive difference. If you make any changes, remember to change only one thing at a time – if you change multiple things you won’t know what’s made a difference and what hasn’t – and change things in small increments.

Using a turbo/smart trainer provides a consistent platform to measure the impact of changes so you can easily determine whether or not a particular change has made the difference you were looking for. Remember you are looking for improvements in comfort and efficiency, not just pure performance.

This is a great time to review your bike fit, make changes and have time for your body to adapt to those changes before we get out there racing again.

Massage During COVID-19 Lockdown

Although it may not be possible to have your regular massage session with your therapist, there is no reason why you can’t still get the benefits of a massage to help you stay healthy in mind and body.

Remember a regular, simple massage routine can help you stay injury free, recover from training sessions, relieve general stress and tension within the body and help you to relax.

So, if you have a foam roller, massage stick, massage ball or other massage “toy”, you can use these to massage yourself. If you don’t have any equipment, don’t worry you can still perform a massage without tools and gain the same benefits.

There is lots of guidance, tips and sessions available on the internet for you to follow, so take a look and see how you can keep yourself relaxed and keep your body in good condition. The ideal would be to include a regular massage session within any training or weekly routine you have. Once you find or design a session that works for you, you can generally work through it whilst watching a film or tv, so it doesn’t have to intrude too much into your daily life.