As the world begins to open up, we will likely all become more comfortable embarking on epic adventures. Many of these adventures involve travel to faraway lands which ultimately means you’re committing significant time, energy and funds to create a life enriching experience for yourself. You would be in the vast majority of respondents if you said you wanted to have an exceptional performance at that given event. As such, there is significant pressure to build a strategic plan that maximizes your chances to successfully finish with your head held high so you can cherish the moment. But how do you get there? One thing we do know, every year is different and simply running it back with an aged training plan will not be the best thing for anyone, ever. Keep reading to give you some perspective on how to plan your season.
#1 Decide and commit to your goal(s).
Do you want to ride more this year than last? Do you want to increase your FTP? Do you want to get on the Strava leaderboard for that segment by your house? Do you want to win a jersey at a race (any jersey)? What about reach the finish line at a multi-day event? Or do you simply want to have an awesome legs day at your favorite event this summer? Regardless of what your goal is the next steps are simple, complex and maybe even relatively new all at once.
#2 Research what is necessary for success.
A great example of this is Unbound Gravel 200. You won’t have to dig too hard to find some answers, especially if you have a paid Strava account or a friend who’s done the event. Unbound Gravel 200’s median finisher was at 16 hours and burned around 5000kcal so that’s a target you’ll likely have to be able to reach in order to be successful. Now comes the details and details are important.
You’ll need to start at the end date and build towards the present day. For our example, 16 hours is a long, long day. Once you know what it takes to succeed, the journey to that point is exciting in itself. What seems impossible now becomes commonplace in a few months if your planning is done properly. A very common tool for building the framework is the Annual Training Plan found within Training Peaks. It’s a digital summary of Joe Friel’s Cyclist Training Bible. At Source Endurance we use it to help lay a foundation for periodization models.
With the framework built let’s move towards adding some workouts. In order to that properly, you’ll need to make some hard choices. It’s time to face your limiters. Whether it’s time, energy, or genetics we all have limiters. This places boundaries for your training and creates a sandbox you can safely build fitness within. Now that you have your framework and boundaries it’s time to fill in the space with some macrocycles, micro-cycles and specific workouts. What’s the best way to navigate from now to your big goal? There are a few options:
Wing it: This way could be the easiest to execute but with the highest chance of goal failure. Do whatever you want daily, weekly, monthly and rely on your excitement and stubbornness to reach the finish line. However, this path is rife with misfortune and you’ll be best to spin your wheel of excuses early and often.
#3 Coaching options.
Purchase a Training Plan: Purchasing a static training plan is a better option because it’s simple and there are excellent training plans out there that are good enough to get you to the finish line. If completion is the goal, this can get you to the finish line in one piece.
Comprehensive Custom Training Plan: This is a static training plan but it’s completed after a deep dive into your training and limiters. It’s a training plan that’s tailored to your real life.
Fully Custom Concierge Coaching: The crème dela crème of season preparation. The notable difference is that you have access to a trained professional coach that can help you make adjustments on the fly. Did that sunny day turn to snow? How about that project that got dropped onto your desk on Friday? These speed bumps won’t hinder your fitness on game day with fully custom concierge coaching.
Next is the hard part. You will have to execute the plan. There will be hiccups along the way but in the end your hard work will lead directly towards success. This is where a coach can help keep you accountable and even help you work through the tough days as they come. If you’re using a static training plan then perhaps consulting a coach to get you back on track is a great use of resources. As game-day approaches if you’ve done the work, you’ll be ready.
Afterwards, reflect on your experience: After everything is said and done take some time and reflect on your experience. Nothing is ever perfect and how you react to adversity is a key component of your success. Write down anything that comes to mind about what you did well and what you want to do better. Then, take a few days to relax. You deserve it.
Source Endurance strives to help each client perform an exceptional ride and the success that comes with it on days that matter to them. We do this by leveraging our knowledge, experience and compassion for you, the athlete, while applying the fundamentals of exercise physiology to the latest academic research and using advanced analytical tools. For the every-athlete that’s having a great day. For a professional it’s having results that can lead to more career opportunities. This success helps the athletes live their best lives through positive and successful experiences.
About the author:
Adam Mills has raced at the elite level since 2002 and graduated with a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kansas in 2005. His true talent comes with his ability to combine his vast experience with his knowledge of sport. He is indeed a student of science, sport, athletic performance, strategy, and tactics. He continuously educates himself by keeping up to date with current research trends and methods in sport and his clients have reaped the benefits from this work with over 22 national championships in 11 disciplines on two continents. Adam is able to incorporate these attributes on a daily basis to help his clients reach and exceed their goals whether they are a beginner or a seasoned professional.