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.

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

As the health and well-being of our athletes and clients is at the heart of everything we do, we have decided to suspend all face to face activities with immediate effect and until at least the end of April. This includes all massage therapy sessions and 1:1 and group training & coaching sessions.

This decision has been taken with a heavy heart and is in line with the advice we have received from the relevant professional and sporting governing bodies, Public Health England the the NHS to help us keep people safe and healthy.

During this period we will continue to provide remote training & coaching plans as normal to our athletes.

During these uncertain times please follow all the latest advice provided by Public Health England and the NHS and keep yourselves safe, fit and healthy.