When your coach designs your coaching program, he/ she does it in such a way that you have time to train, your fatigue is managed and you feel strong for race day. Your coach designs this program specifically for you, but if you don’t listen to him/her you can’t expect to see any results. Have a read on the following tips that will help make your journey more meaningful.
Quality always trumps quantity
In the short-term you might feel great doing many hard, long sessions in a row, but the possibility of over training, falling ill and decline of performance over time is a real risk.
Quality sessions at the right intensity will stress your body just enough and with the right amount of recovery it will adapt and get stronger and faster
You need to look at the bigger picture. If you have done a big block of endurance training during December and January, your body will not be adapted to run at a super high intensity in February already … but the flip side is that you might just be 100% for the MTB Champs in July. Planning your race calendar carefully and understanding that you cannot be super fit and super-fast all the time is important. Training requires you to have clearly defined training phases and moving through them to quickly will leave you short towards the end of the season when it really matters.
It is important for us to understand that the road racing season and mountain bike season (looking specifically at XCO) does not run in parallel. The Mountain bikers will be ok doing their “base” training in December and January, but the serious roadie needs to consider that they have 2 SA Race seasons blocks with provincial champs and SA Champs and the Cape Town Cycle tour all happening in the 1st 3 months of the year and then they need to peak again from September to November for when they have important races again.
Recovery is super important
Training stress breaks your body down and when you rest and recover the body rebuilds and get stronger so that you can do it again. The older you get the longer the recovery to repair training stress.
You might see short term gains when you just keep on training, but when you fail to recover you will start to see a decline in performance and many people just try harder when this happens and then their system breaks down even further and it takes months to recover sufficiently to start racing again.
Realistic expectations and goals
There is nothing more rewarding that exceeding a goal you have set yourself. For example; if you have done the Cycle Tour in 3h10 and you set yourself a goal of doing it in 3 hours and you achieve the goal, you feel great. It does not matter if your friend has gone even faster. Its all about setting that one goal and then beating it.
Unfortunately, and especially in the younger athlete group, unrealistic goals are set or goals that is not measurable. When a 14-year old’s goal is to beat his friend, who is also 14 years old I see it as an unrealistic goal. You can control your training, but you cannot control your body’s development into an adult, nor can you control this for your friend. So often it happens that our client gets stronger, but he is not getting bigger … and then his friend, who does not train, has a growth spurt and is now much bigger and still beats him. Then questions are asked about the coach and do they feel they have failed.
I therefore want to urge you to set a goal that is realistic and that is measurable. Our job is to make you fitter, faster and stronger than what you have been before … and sometimes it will take a bit of time to beat your friend.
The importance of very easy
When there is an easy workout, or easy portion in a workout it should be taken very easy. Going easy is a form of recovery and is not always for fitness gains. Going easy when your program dictate will allow you to go higher when it is an interval day.
Don’t try and catch-up when you missed some sessions
When you miss a session because of work, life or illness it is not the end of the world. No training plans is so exact that there is not some flexibility. If you have missed sessions because of illness your body was under stress fighting the illness in any case and then to try and catch up can overstress your system. So, don’t panic. Just pick up the plan from when you can.
A quality endurance session
When you have finished your endurance session and you feel you could ride more while you are a bit hungry you have had a good session. Getting of your bike feeling tired means you have gone to hard.
In closing: “I constantly remind myself that resting takes confidence. Anyone can train like a mad man, but to embrace rest ad to allow all the hard training to come out takes mental strength” – Ryan Hall