When I started my first structured training plan I read something depressing. I am going to paraphrase but the gist was “Unless you are a genetically gifted athlete expect that it could take 3-5 years before you win a race”.
This was a hard pill to swallow but I had already set some long term goals and I didn’t start racing expecting to win. I wanted to improve, be in the mix and give my competitive spirit an outlet. I was not a jock as a kid and most of the sports I did participate in were not team sports or endurance sports for that matter. Based on this I have tempered my expectations on winning. This does not mean that I am not going to try like hell to win it just means that I have decided to temper my expectations.
I heard from a coach that we train to develop assets. So I hired a couple of coaches for my team and we developed skills and learned how to attack our limiters and use our strengths. My self and a few of my teammates now gladly pass this knowledge on to new teammates each year.
Another coach I spoke to explained to me that what wins a race is not the training you did last week, its the training you did 5, 10, 15 years ago. There is alot to be said for using experience to temper expectations. Of course this all goes back to setting realistic training and competitive goals each and every year. I do believe that we build on each subsequent year of training I also believe that unless you put it out there each week you will not see progress.
What I mean by not seeing progress is that we as athletes need to experience many types of training, events and racing to gain the necessary experience. Racing a couple of times a year and training like your a Tour de France contender might make you strong and even fast but it is not going to make you a competent road racer or a winner unless you are genetically gifted.
In a moment of panic last year I contacted one of the coaches that we hired to help us develop individual skills. I had been training like a mad man during last year’s off season and I had fully expected my first race to go very well. Needless to say I did not meet my goals that day. I mentioned this to the coach and he asked me what I thought I did wrong? I said I had no idea and then proceeded to ask him what I should do to recover my fresh new season. He told me to “quit training and start racing”. Then he explained that durring the on season there is a simple formula. I am going to share it below:
- Mon: Do not train – Passive recovery
- Tue: Compete in a training race or a group ride beyond your abilities
- Wed: Go out for an aerobic to easy solo ride
- Thu: Work on a limiter or a strength
- Fri: Leg openers if racing on Sat, Recovery Ride if not Racing on Sat
- Sat: If racing follow your race day protocol, If racing Sunday apply Leg opener intervals
- Sun: If racing follow your race day protocol, If not racing get out with a disciplined group and put in some road time
This formula was given to me over a cell phone conversation that lasted exactly 10 minutes. I did not make any adjustments to this formula last season. What I can tell you is the more I race the more confident I became and the more relaxed I became. The more relaxed I became the better I performed when the surge was on. If you look there really is only one day for traditional training and that is Thursday.
Good luck with your training this off season and remember to build some new assets and race as much as you can handle. You will not only become faster you will be come more confident.
Until next week….