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.