#CoachesTips – Planning for an uncertain race schedule
12 March 2021
By KRISTINA SKROCE, TNN Coach
Having a precise goal race for an athlete is extremely important. However, the timing of the target race may represent a challenge for an athlete’s approach to preparation. Especially when such a target isn’t in the immediate future.
Knowing that you are going to race but not soon may be hard to manage both from a performance and from a mental point of view. In addition, key adaptations induced in training needs to match the performance demand of the race. So, building a progressive roadmap that balance the rider’s expectation and the race demand is challenging but also, extremely stimulating from a training structuring perspective.
Athletes are hungry for racing and performing at their very limit is their primary goal. However, it is important to optimize both performance and motivation levels in accordance with the racing calendar otherwise an athlete might face, burnout, overtraining or even encounter injuries.
The first step in preparing for the unclear racing target or late season racing is accepting that it is a process that has its phases that will vary constantly over the year. However, athletes need to see a clear main goal and work progressively towards it while smashing planned interim goals. These can vary from hitting a volume or intensity target for a determined time period, perform a PB on some climbs you like a lot to simply doing an epic ride you always wanted to do. Feeding the mind while giving the body a tailored stimulus toward physical progression.
All these small little steps will get you through the process of approaching the race and in the meanwhile make you a better and wiser athlete who is able to balance short and long-term expectations.
Think of it as a multi-day race with the best stage in the end.
Sometimes stopping to check your road map is also a key element towards moving in the right direction. It is really important that you stop along the way and analyze what you’ve done until that point and what must be changed for the future. Are you going to the top of the mountain? At the right speed? Or heading back slowly? This is how we optimize the process and the training environment around the athlete. Moreover – this is how you reset and restore energies for the upcoming challenges.
Always be aware of the time you have ahead of you. We know that some training adaptations might be more sensitive than others. We also know that different capacities require different time do develop. This is why increasing the load progressively is important. Respecting the process of recovery, that is individual for every athlete, is also crucial because, in the process, recovery is as important as training. Without proper recovery, you will never reach the optimal state you need to be in before that key event requires you to outperform.
You can learn a lot from yourself and from your own process. Take the time you need to get to know perfectly how your body and mind work.