If there’s one good thing about being stuck in the dark depths of winter, then it’s being able to plan and set your goals for the upcoming season. Whether you’re planning to complete your first century, win your first criterium race, or simply beat your personal best up the local climb, this is the perfect time to start preparing your training plan.
Identify your goal
The first step to every successful challenge starts with identifying your goal and the reason ‘why’ you would like to achieve it. This is going to be your key motivation; it’s going to keep you grounded when the going gets tough and help to keep your training plan on track.
The simpler the goal the better. Too much too soon will leave you out of your depth and kill all your motivation, dampening what could have been a fun and action-packed season.
Identifying your goal will also help you to determine what equipment upgrades you need to make. These could be anything from small accessories like a pair of lights for your 24-hour cycling challenge, a new lightweight wheelset to help smash your climbing PB, or a brand-new bike for your upcoming gravel adventure.
Not all of us can simply wake up one morning, clip into the pedals and win the Tour de France. Your goals need to be realistic and attainable – identifying exactly what you want to achieve will help you dial down the fantasies and really focus on what needs to be done in preparation.
This approach also needs to be taken into account when devising a training plan. Different goals have different time demands so be sure to structure your plan according to your other commitments. If you can’t find the time to train for the goal you’ve set, then set a more realistic goal – it’ll help you massively in the long run.
You’ll also need to be realistic when it comes to assessing both your physical and mental state. Overtraining is a very common issue and can totally scupper your plans of smashing your season’s biggest goal. Be true to yourself and have the courage to stay ‘stop’ if it ever gets too much.
Plan, plan and plan some more
Devising a training plan is only the first step in the wider planning phase; you’ll also need to figure out a new dietary plan, a post-ride recovery plan and perhaps even a new sleeping schedule.
The best way to build a training plan is to work backwards from your main goal. Ask yourself what other, smaller goals can you set yourself in between? Working towards those will really help to maintain both fitness and motivation.
After you’ve worked out these intermediate goals, you can get into the nitty-gritty of each individual training session. Outdoor rides are awesome for racking up the miles and honing your endurance, but never underestimate the benefits of a good indoor training session, especially for interval sessions, sprints and power tests.
Never forget your ‘why’
It’s very easy to lose track of your ‘why’ along the way to completing your seasonal goal. We’ve all been in that position at some point or another, unsure what to do or where to head next.
It’s important, during these times, to speak to friends and family – they’ll set you back on the right path and remind you why you chose this goal in the first place.
If you ever find yourself losing motivation or are struggling to devise a successful training plan, then come to the store and speak to one of us – we’ve got a friendly team that would love to hear from you.