(Feel free to scroll to bullet points at the bottom)
The first thing I ask my athletes is: Have you had a rest period? And, how long for? Remembering, both body and mind need rest, to enable the overload of endurance training to come.
For the recreational athlete we recommend four weeks. This is a good amount of time away from structure. Within this time you still want to be aware of your body and fitness but nothing structured. I say, one to two weeks off the bike and run shoes completely, then for the next couple train when you feel the need or desire.
During this time, sit down with your coach and plan the year ahead.
ATP (annual training plan):
Plan the events you want to do well in, then, work backwards. Look at smaller events along the way to keep you stimulated, keeping in mind you will train though these, rather than focusing on them.
Look at where you want to make improvements and focus the first part of the year on these.
Bike setup, technique, muscle balancing (strength) core, flexibility and diet all need assessing.
Work out your ideal race weight and plan how you will achieve this. A visit to a Dietician is well worth the time and money as the power to weight and performance issue is, I feel, over looked by many athletes. They would rather ride and run more miles than fine tuning their weight and energy source. (An easy performance improvement)
The typical approach to per iodising an ATP is to first, build a good aerobic base. This leads into, a strength and endurance phase, followed by a power and speed phase. All whilst trying to time it, for the season. This format is well used, tested and proven. But not always the best fit for us all.
If you have done this year in, year out, try REVERSE PERIODISATION. Remembering you have a good strong base from previous years training, try something completely different giving your body and mind a fresh perspective and adaptation.
Also, throw out the Monday to Sunday week and work from day 1, to the day you have achieved all you want within that phase. As long as you schedule enough recovery, anything goes. Of course, some of us have to base our week around others/family, training squads or bunch rides. These can all be worked around to design the best program for YOU.
Would you agree that these days life is so busy you can’t seem to get everything done? Or you do, but at a cost to others. This normally is where we think we are over training but in fact are we over living? Simplify your life…..
A well trained, successful athlete is one who plans, prepares then succeeds.
When drawing up your ATP; look at the following:
- Review the previous year
- Draw up an event pan for the new season
- Write down your performance goals
- Work out the gap between you and your performance goals
- List Actions that will help you achieve these goals
- List the resource’s you will need. Example: Dietician, physiotherapist or another job to pay for a lighter bike!!
- List your current discipline strengths and weakness’s
- If you have a coach, tell them what you require from them
When designing your program include weekly, monthly and annually
- Gradual Over load
- Time away from the sport
- Monitoring, either performance or physiological
- Time with and without others
This is a lot to remember and do. Utilise your coach’s skills and expertise, to your best advantage.