Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fall Transition: part 1

Part one of a three part series that I am doing on the fall transition of training and racing. My first article encompasses most of my seminar that I have been doing around the country, well... Eastern and Mountain times zones anyway. Enjoy...

  • It’s that time of year when we start to sit back and relax… sometimes. most of the time not enough! Many of you are probably already thinking about next year and starting to plan. That’s good, but before we can effectively plan out next year we have to take a look at this year. Reflect a bit and figure out how we are going to train more effectively. The first place to look is your weakness. However finding this can be harder than it seems. Here are a few methods for analyzing your season and finding your weakness to get you started right on 2008.

    Step one: Analyze Your Season
    Did you meet your racing goals and training objectives? Did you peak when you wanted to? Did you go as fast as you predicted? These should be pretty simple yes or no questions. Look then at your training objectives. These might be things like climb hill X in 30 minutes or less, raise FTP by 3%, etc. They should be measurable goals that are stair steps to you major goals. If you didn’t meet your major goals of the year the answer, or at least part of the answer, to why may be right there. As you keep looking into why you did or did not meet your goals look at everything: job, personal life, relationship, etc. Stress out side of the athletic world is the number cause of people under performing. If you’re a lawyer working 60+ hours a week and training 20 hours a week as well as being a mother or father, you may have been setting your goals a bit too high.
    Note what worked for you and what did not. The things that worked you will want to keep in your bag of tricks as the things that will likely work again. The things that didn’t work, get rid of them! We’ll come up with something better!

    Step two: Finding Your Weakness
    There are 2 ways to look at this. A good starting point is finding your weakness by the numbers. On the bike, the easiest way to do this is test your power profile. Test your maximum power out put for 12 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes and your threshold power.
    A power profile chart can show you where you are lacking. Is this written in stone? Is this the end of the road? No, but it is a good starting point. Even if you don’t “need” the areas you are weak in, for example, an Ironman triathlete having a weak 12 sec. and 1 minute power. They don’t need that ability but if it is weak enough it could be an area that is holding your other abilities back.

    Part two of this is comparing your weakness to your competition? “But Eric I don’t race other people I race my self.” That’s fine and I applaud that self motivation but if you want to improve the best place to look is to the people that are better than you. For example, in your triathlon results if you’re coming in 50th on the swim 50th on the bike and 450th on the run time after time again working on your running would be a good place to start. If you’re getting dropped on short hills in bike races, short hills or 1 to 5 minute power outputs might be your weak point. Before you make the decision as to what your weakness is make sure you have more than one or two examples that show your weakness. Also look at this deeply. This is very important. Are you not running well because you’re and bad runner OR because your swim and bike are not up to par and you’re paying for it on the run at the end of the race? Are you getting dropped on the hills because you’re a bad climber or because the hills are at the end of the race and you have trouble there because your threshold power and endurance is not as good as your competition? Take some time with this, consult a coach and or trusted training partner or both.

    All of this may look straight forward on paper but it’s harder to implement than it looks. Getting some one else to give you a good objective look at your self could be the best thing you do this fall. Now put it into action! Commit to getting out of your comfort zone. Don’t do the same old workouts, mix things up! Take a chance and train that weakness.

    Eric is an associate coach with Endurance Nation and Performance Training Systems and coaches all abilities of Triathletes, Cyclist and other endurance athletes.

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