Training to the demands of your Event- Part 2
The initial blog was dedicated to taking advantage of technology and the various web based tools allowing one to train to targeted events and the relevant demands. To revisit the post, click here-Training to the demands of your event (Part 1)
. Anyone that has targeted an event and met or exceeded their goals recognizes that having the power to deliver a result is a fraction of what goes into the preparation phase. This sequel is designed to address areas outside of writing a training plan and the act of physically pedaling. The goal here is to equip you with an approach that will bring you to the line composed and fully prepared to meet the strains of what you will encounter come race day. For those of you that have just completed the state road race and arent ready to dive into the power analysis right yet, go down the list below and really look subjectively.
- Mental Preparation: Visualization, Guided Imagery, and Positive Self-Talk
Having great power and timing the taper and peak portion of your training will only pay a fraction of its potential dividends if your mind isnt right. Visualization and imagery techniques are extremely powerful tools that require very little effort. Start off with 15-20 minutes a day where you implement breathing techniques in a quiet area with no distractions. See yourself riding the race you have trained for. Bring yourself so deep that you can bring on the same nerves that you have minutes before the gun goes off. Live in that moment and embrace the nerves; learn to channel them. As you evolve incorporate guided imagery into your sessions. When properly constructed, guided imagery meditation has the built-in capacity to deliver multiple layers of complex, encoded messages by way of simple symbols and metaphors. In a sense it acts like a depth charge dropped beneath the surface of the psyche, where it can reverberate again and again.
Create a saying or mantra, something that means something to you that is positive. When you are suffering during your workouts, getting shuffled back in a race, or refocusing while training, say it and believe it! What I say is, I ride the best because I am a winner. To others its probably lame, but to me it has been one of the pillars behind my progression. What you say, you think, what you think, you do. Say it to yourself while looking into the mirror before you train, say it late in the race, before you start your last interval, It works, but only if you believe it and apply it!
- Are you lining up with tangible goals and a tactical plan?
It amazes me how many athletes sacrifice time with loved ones, invest thousands of dollars, and max out PTO at their job to show up to a race with no tangible goals, course knowledge, or insight as to how the race has ended in prior years. Make your goals known, write them down, say them out loud before your workouts, tell your friends, and keep them close to you. If you havent established goals youre not positioning yourself to preform your best. Hold yourself accountable. Goals can be anything from a podium finish, to finishing with the pack and not getting dropped. If your reviewing your own files and notice a tendency of your peak landing in the 1st
quarters of the event, make it a point to focus on dropping those efforts in the 4th
quarter. Maybe youre pedaling too much? Winning files have a propensity to reflect 20% of more of the race spent in the zero range (0-10 watts) and 60% of the race or greater spent below your FTP. Make it a point to meet or exceed these data markers. The goals need to be realistic but certainly see to it that they are a stretch. The above lend to a proactive approach to racing, no goals will undermine focus and lands you in a reactive position.
- Know the course, know the players, know the wind direction and most importantly know how the race has been won previously.
Know how the race was won previously and play the odds. I have a spread sheet thats used to archive venues and how races were won in various categories. This report includes multiple venues in this state. Knowing a specific circuit race has a 66% likelihood of ending in a field sprint offers a up an angle to race ones strength. You have a solid 1-2 minute power, you have never won a field sprint, and you know the last 1000 km meters get a tail cross wind. Ones strategy may want to include getting as much zero-time (time spent in the 0-10 watt range) as possible and the ideal spot to attack from going into the last 1,100-1,000 meters. Leveraging the odds and sticking to your tactical plan only puts you that much closer to a result. In closing, playing the odds and staying true to your tactical approach will return a consistent mean to go back and analyze.
- What is your nutrition plan and how was your weight on race day?
This portion really deserves its own blog but for purposes of simplicity I will reference global parameters. Look back, the odds are you probably got your best results and were riding your best when your weight was down and you were eating clean. There is such a thing as an ideal race weight and there are a myriad of benefits surrounding a balanced diet consisting of organic whole food sources that are nutrient dense. Whole food sources offer a higher concentration of key nutrients; they are digested easier and carry less toxins and free radicals than conventional foods. Eat cleaner, feel better, recover and ride faster. How fast you can ride on a bike is directly correlated to your weight and the amount of power you can generate. Granted drag plays a large role but with regard to comparing and preparing for specific events, power to weight is the great equalizer (click here to see Andy Coggans power profile graph) https://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/power-profiling
. The off season is upon us, now is the time to play with your diet. Start small and remove items like dairy, grains, and refined sugars. Try purchasing whole food products and not processed items. Track your calories, weight, recovery, and overall mood. Within this undertaking find the ideal balance for you!
Having a calculated yet balanced approach to training allows you to maximize potential and quantify what works for you. There are clearly a number of factors that make up a well-rounded, competitive cyclist. Pick selected items from both blogs and slowly implement them. Once you have grown a particular facet of your preparation or training, move to the next. Start with the area you may feel is your greatest limiter and log what you are doing and map trends. Its a forever changing preface that isnt ever truly mastered, remain open and believe!