As a professional coach, I've seen it time and time again. At the end of the year, a cyclist comes to me to discuss what went wrong. He or she rode plenty of miles, did interval training and maybe even some strength training in the offseason. So why didn't all the hard work add up to good results?
The problem is that a lot of cyclists spend plenty of time training, but not nearly as much effort goes into planning. Since not every cyclist has the luxury of a coach to map out a plan for them, the self-coached athlete will need to make a thorough and detailed training plan to be successful.
Use these tips to avoid common self-coached athlete mistakes in order to design a training plan that leads to success.
What You Need to Get Started
When I consult with a cyclist to build a plan for the entire year, I request that he or she bring me the following information (usually on an Excel spreadsheet) to discuss, at minimum:
- A line for each week between now and the last race of the season.
- Planned and prioritized races. A-races are most important, B-races are less important and C-races are used for training.
- A plan weekly training hours.
- The three most important goals for the season.
- Daily training details (actual workouts) for one week within the next month, one week that's roughly three months out and one week that's six months out.
- A list of questions.
Once you have the above information recorded, let's take a look at how you can avoid common errors in order to fine-tune a detailed plan for the season.
Too Many A-Races
My preference is that athletes select two or three A-races. The rest of the training plan is designed around these events and your three most important goals for the season.
You might think that the A-races are the most important goals for the season, but this isn't necessarily true. For some athletes, they are the same. For others, A-races only play a role in achieving their goals. For example, a cyclist has a goal of to stay with the lead pack in six races. Some of the races necessary to achieve this goal are B-events.
If you plan to race a series of events and your goal is to achieve an overall title ranking by gaining points in each race, the planning can be tricky. If the A-races are close together in the timeline, I might suggest an A-race block rather than one A-race.