It's that time of year again. Many of us are coming to the end of another, hopefully successful, cycling season.
Your first step is to get some hard-earned rest. You can still ride, just take it easy and have fun. This is a great time to ride with friends and family members who can't stay with you during training rides. It is also a great time to take part in other activities you enjoy like running, swimming, rollerblading, hiking and skating.
Your second step is to honestly evaluate your performance. This is vital in order to set goals and develop a training regimen for the upcoming season. Assessing your performance is a relatively simple process. Just answer five questions and remember to be honest with yourself.
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What Goals Did You Achieve During the Season?
This question is easy to answer if you have goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (i.e., SMART goals). For instance, to complete a 40K time trial in 1-hour and to finish in the top-10 at the state criterium championships are examples of SMART goals.
Likewise, to complete a century in six hours is also an example of a SMART goal.
However, whether you set SMART goals or not, just be clear about how you achieved a particular objective. For example, did you accomplish a goal because of significant improvement in a particular physiological ability such as aerobic endurance or functional threshold power, or did you achieve the goal because it was set too low? Try to understand the specific reason you were able to achieve each objective.
What Goals Did You Fail to Achieve During the Season?
First of all, don't be discouraged if you fail to achieve some of your goals. This is normal when you set challenging objectives. In fact, if you accomplish all of your goals, there is a possibility you set the bar too low.
Try to understand the reason you came up short in some areas. Were your goals realistic? If they were achievable, what was the missing element? Was there a problem with your training? Were there external barriers that got in your way? Did something cause you to struggle at certain times during the season? The key is to be clear about why you came up short in some areas so you can use this information as you plan for the upcoming season.