Maximizing Training Races
With the season rapidly approaching and many of us on the brink of the build phase of our training, a great way to enhance fitness is through training races. Much of our training up until now has been steady state work in zones two and three. Your aerobic system has evolved; the strength training plan has helped increase muscle endurance, now its time to bring it all together. Just because it carries the title training do not lose site of the fact that it is a race.
1. Make A Goal: The athletes I work with are always encouraged to write their goals down prior to the event. This part of the plan is typically two-fold. The first objective is to outline a goal with regards to their fitness and where in their training plan they current are. If we are working to develop explosive power, we will agree to include a certain number of well-placed 5-10 second all out jumps. The second objective is to outline a tactical plan. Assuming you are using power or paying a coach, you should have quantified your strength. Outline a tactical plan to race it in a proactive context.
2. The race and day of: These events are ideal for fine tuning your morning breakfast and overall race day preparation. Get a routine that works and stick with it. Confidence and sound tactics start with early season races. Be decisive, if you attack commit to it. Stay out of the wind, follow wheels, and read the race. What teams are represented, who appears to be going good? Focus on insuring every pedal stroke has a purpose. Once the dust settles we should see at least 18-20% of the race spent in the zero range (0-20watts). Your peak 1, 3, and 5 minute outputs should not be in the first half of the race. Play the odds, how many times have you seen the race winning move stick in the first 30 minutes of a 60 minute crit?
3. Additional Insight: Events of this nature carry a low stress level. We are training through them and our objectives from a coaching/training perspective are clear. We are lining up to compete, hone tactics, revisit the mental facet associated with competing, and yield tangible data to gauge overall development.
4. Aftermath- Ask yourself these two questions, What did I do well and what would I have done different? Import these thoughts into the Training Peaks notes section while they are fresh given you will likely race this course again. The most difficult encounters athletes face is establishing a tactical plan and committing to it. This generally stems from the fact that they arent reading the race properly, they lack confidence which in turn forces them to race re-actively. Allowing others to feed the race to you puts you on your heels. This forces you to work harder, fight for position and makes it more difficult to identify the tactical approach others are taking. Now is the time to throw caution to the wind. If you don't have a plan and follow through with it you have no way of identifying what works and what doesn't.
If you havent quantified your strengths and limiters, or need insight honing your fitness, email me email@example.com