November Goal Setting
October has been and
gone. Your month of rest is now behind you. If next season you want to
compete seriously then you need to now start thinking seriously about your winter training
and what your training for.
If, however, your reason for riding a bike is to ride around with friends
and socialise then that's as good a reason as any. So crack on.
To compete seriously you should
plan seriously, that, however, doesn't mean you need to do serious training.
Not yet anyway. First, just
think about what you want from next season
and set your goals. Next you draw up an action plan to help you
achieve those goals but in the meantime you carry out your steady state
endurance rides to train your body to
begin the adaptation and overload process for the rigours to come.
Before you start to think about what you want from next season you should,
as we said last month, ask yourself the following questions about your
previous season. Did I...
race to my preseason
enjoy my season from
beginning to end
▼ race with my peers on an
▼ balance training & racing with the needs of real life
Use the questions above to
reflect on last season's achievements and to set and adjust your goals for the
forthcoming year. But before you plan any goals for next season
please read the rest of this page,
Goals need to conform to a
simple protocol in order to aid and secure successful accomplishment. All
goals need to follow the SMARTER
principle. Goals should be:
what exactly are you going to do
Measurable; how will you know you've achieved
▼ Achievable; is it within your physical
▼ Realistic; do all the other parameters
▼ Timescaled; by when are you going to
Enforcable; be accountable to someone
write it down so you can see it every day
following two statements.
I'm going to do
well and win a 25mile time trial.
I'm going to plan my training to ensure I can go under the
hour in September's JCA 25 Championship.
If I do I'll buy new wheels, if not I'll ride the next evening ten in a thong
Statement one is a
laudable aim but a goal? Who defines well? How would success
be measured, by when will it be accomplished? Also other things are
out of your control. Even if you say you're going to win and train
to your absolute physical limits, if Bradley Wiggins turns up (which
actually happened to one of our riders in 2009!) and goes faster, you've failed
due to factors out of your control! Don't set yourself up to fail.
Statement two says
exactly what you're going to do, when you're going to do it and what
reward you will enjoy when you've achieved it. If you go under the
hour and don't win, you've still achieved your objective. If there
isn't a penalty for failure or a reward for success, where's your
The only other
parameters to check are, do you have it in you. If you're currently
riding a 10 in 30 minutes the chances of achieving the hour next September
are slim. If you're sixty years old and a heavy smoker then it's
probably not realistic either.
Also you may have
the physical attributes to reach your goal but if you've not ridden for
two months and want to win next week; how realistic is that? Keep
things in proportion.
you set finishing the E'tape with a gold standard ride as your goal, and you
only have five hours a week in which to train, then it could be a tall
order. So set your SMARTER goals to match your available training
time, physical attributes, and available resources.
decide, write it down, bounce it off someone else as a sanity check and
stick it where you can see it every time you get on your bike.
it your reason for training and getting on the bike. If you do, you could end up with a nice
trophy at the end of the year!
There's also an
excellent resource (even though I say so myself) by clicking the
for Victory link or checking out the Think Like a Pro factsheets
on the top of the menu list on the right.
When preparing for
the Paris-Roubaix sportive, I had a poster of Gilbert Duclos Lasalle riding
the Hell of the North on my workshop wall. Right bang in front of my
For a whole year, he was pinned up right in my eye line.
I got on my turbo to do another hideous set of leg snapping intervals, he was staring
back at me.
Whenever I thought was shot, I always found the inspiration to try just
one more. Because I knew what he'd been through, one more interval
seemed a walk in the park. You can't imagine how much it helped a
renowned slacker like myself.
Find your own motivator and use it to inspire you towards
Once you've defined where you
want to be, you need to understand where you are now and how you're going
to manage the closing of the gap in between.. A SpiderGram
is a tool that can help you do this.
SpiderGrams can be designed
to cover the
attributes needed to compete at almost any level within our sport.
Some attributes, depending on the discipline, are more important than others.
Sprinting is not really called for when riding Paris Roubaix; but muscular
Also bike handling skills aren't really called for
when riding up Alpe d'Huez, but they are if you want to come down quick.
First define the
attributes you need; then rate where you need to be with a score
of one to ten. Step three requires you to carry out a self-analysis
on your selected attributes to determine what you currently have; being
truthful about your strengths and weaknesses.
Score your current attributes
out of ten and define the gap. Blue is where you need to be, red is
where you now are, Within five minutes you can actually see, laid
out before you, the skills and attributes you need to address over the
winter to make you a fitter, faster, stronger rider next season
Next month I'll show you how to
build a plan to specifically target your training to close the gaps
between now and your timescaled objective.
Click here to go to your
If you look at some of the other factsheets listed on the left you will
begin to see that cycling is all about oxygen storage, generation and
Winning races is
about getting as much oxygen in to your lungs as possible (VO2max)
and efficiently and effectively distributing it directly to your muscles (Lactic
Threshold & Anaerobic Capacity).
To do a 25 mile TT in an hour you need to knock out between 270 and 300 watts for the entire hour.
For a 70 kilo rider this means you have to have a VO2max of 55.11
ml/kg/min or shift nearly four litres of oxygen a minute.
Shifting oxygen from the air
outside your body to the inside of your muscles is a complex operation.
And to do it you need these little babies ~ mitochondria.
want to ride the hour you need loads of these little oxygen tanks, and the only way you can
develop them is by using your winter training time effectively or taking EPO. One has considerably
less risk attached to it than the other.
To find out how much you
need to improve you need to know how much you have now. The only way
of doing that is by taking a test,
doing your structured training then re-testing.
Recover your way to success
Recovery is an important part
of your training regimen. Make sure you give it prominence within
your plan and stick to it as strongly as you stick to your scheduled
workouts. All work and no play makes Jacques and Jacqueline a sick, tired cyclist.
You should have now
recovered from last season. If you haven't stopped training then at
some point in the near future you will. The difference is, you won't
have a choice in the matter. Recovery, especially for veterans, is
as crucial as training. Train less often, train harder when you do
train, and in between get quality rest. Because a rested cyclist can
train harder than a tired cyclist. It's not difficult!
November should be a time for actively resting, intelligently eating and
effectively training; preparing ourselves for a faster new year. Next season is still five
months away but that doesn't mean we shouldn't start preparing, testing
and planning for it now.
Sit down and
think about what you would expect from next
year. If it's to do the hour then you need to start thinking about
how you can build your VO2max, cruise at 300 watts and consistently and
comfortably ride at an average
of 25 mph.
Progression, recovery and adaptation
are the keys to your success so you
need to build them into your plan.
have a plan stick to it and train
the plan. We've seen it before, on much more than one occasion, where the plan called for an hour
steady and the rider did three hours in the hills because they felt so
strong. Two weeks later they've hit a block as they can't manage the
planned power intervals due to tiredness.
Fight the temptation to follow
the crowd and believe in yourself and your plan. Once you do, your