I am sure that many of you achieved your goals this season and some of you will have surpassed them. There will be though, a minority of you left scratching your heads wondering what went wrong, and why you didn’t achieve what you set out to achieve 9 months or so earlier.
No matter which of the above categories you fall into, the ideas below should help you plan for a better season ahead. Food for thought!
1. Firstly, analyze your 2015 season. What went well, what could be improved? What were your weaknesses in training and racing? Consider both your physical and psychological performances in your analysis.
2. Now that you have worked out what you need to strengthen to improve your 2016 performance, what sessions are you going to include and are these ROI (RETURN ON INVESTMENT) sessions i.e. Will they improve your 2016 performance?
3. Include regular field based testing in all 3 disciplines. Why? How else do you know if you’re improving? Monitoring your progression is a great motivator.
4. When you plan your season, periodization should be your starting point. Divide your year into periods with each period having a specific objective. Work backwards from your Priority A race. Planning your season in this way will help structure these phases within realistic time lines. Include purposeful races that will help monitor your progress.
5. Include your local cross country league within your winter program. Not racing for 6 months or more is one heck of a shock to the system when starting back racing in April. Cross country running will help you develop improved pace awareness over the bleak winter months in the UK. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is cold and yes, it is muddy! But it will be worth it when your training partners struggle to keep up with you during your March training sessions.
6. Hit the gym. Improving core strength has many benefits for endurance athletes. Endurance improvements have been shown to be improved by >10% in some cases. Improved core can help you maintain a better body position in the water. Core strength can also help to prevent your pelvis from dropping when running off the bike (how many athletes have you seen running in a seated position due to their pelvis tilting forward)?
7. If you are already lost by this point, get yourself an experienced coach. He/she will devise an individual training program that is both enjoyable and challenging. It will be a great investment in helping you achieve your goals.
8. Rest and recovery is king. Triathletes are notorious for not resting enough. Appropriate amounts of rest will help you maintain motivation and keep you keen and absorbed for your next training session, and not leave you stale.
9. Do your homework. For every race that you enter next year prepare yourself fully by knowing the course profile well in advance.
10. Have fun training and racing. Do thank your loved ones, as they also experiencing this journey with you!