We’re approaching the halfway point of the cycling race season, power targets have been hit (or not), races won and lost along with most of us already hitting peak form for one of our early season goals. We know we should always look back at the end of the year and reflect on what could be improved on, but, is it not worthwhile checking in halfway through our season?
It’s common at this time of the year to have a motivational low. Perhaps you didn’t rest up after that first peak and pushed too much or maybe lady luck hasn’t been on your side – whatever the case may be there’s plenty of performance gains to be had by reflecting and outlining your plan of attack for the rest of the year.
So, how do we do this?
Revisit your goals.
In an ideal scenario we have our goals written down, typed or noted on our phones, it’s now time to revisit these. I’m a big fan of process orientated goals meaning hitting targets, nailing nutrition, equipment choice are all high on the list which should eventually lead to the outcome e.g. win the race, complete the event etc. So, two things we look at here – did we nail the process, if yes great, if no why not? Secondly did we achieve the outcome – if we nailed the process and achieved the outcome fantastic, if we did one without the other what can we learn from it?
But I didn’t set goals?
It’s never too late, look into the coming months what would you like to do and how are you going to do it (this is where a coach can help) – you’ve now set a goal. The same can be said if your goals were unachievable due to injury, illness or any host of reasons outside of your control. Reflect, readjust and reset!
The numbers don’t lie.
Ideally, we like to test in some capacity every 4-6 weeks, this doesn’t have to be a full power duration test or lactate profile. What we want to do is measure the impact of what we have been training. If we have identified sprinting as a weakness and aimed to rectify it then we’ll look for progression over peak, 5 second and 10 second powers! If these numbers have not moved in favourable directions, then we alter training accordingly by finding out why and implementing a new plan. If we notice aerobic markers start to decline such as power at specified heart rates etc. then we’ll respond with a dose of specific easier/ longer endurance rides.
The numbers don’t tell us everything, but they help in holding us accountable to progression and maintenance of our physical capacities over a season.
Check in with yourself.
Is the routine or monotony of training getting to you? If the answer is yes, then change things up for a period. Heading off road, leaving the Garmin at home and changing training intensity are all extremely easy ways of achieving this.
If you feel the above won’t solve these issues, then maybe it’s time for a mid-season break. This can be done by taking some time to yourself or with family, heading away on holiday or riding the bike to the coffee shop every day for a week.
Don’t be afraid to throttle right back this is a great time to reassess and see where you want to take the rest of your season.