Athletes will often recognize certain training "truths" but
violate them anyways. It is important to
have a list of things you hold universal and try to stick to them. Often the rules that you break may be your
own. Here are a list of some of my
The greater the training load, the greater the recovery needed to benefit
from it- So simple yet athletes will often attempt to train continuosly at a
high volume, even after performance fades significantly. You are weaker after a work out and only gain
performance after a period of recovery.
Add small amounts of training stress over time- Big jumps in millage,
intensity, or frequency are usually what pushes an athlete over the edge and
may lead to an overuse injury.
You can't train at a high rate of intensity year round- Sustained high intensity training must be
used prescriptively and you will need regular physical and mental breaks from
it. This applies to racing too
frequently as well. Your body is a
machine that will break down if pushed too hard.
Your training performance will dictate your race performance- Don't expect
miracles on race day. In order to race
the speed you desire you must train it first.
The mind is as important as the body- Athletic talent is only one component
of a successful athlete. The best
athletes are adaptable, focused, positive, and disciplined. Mental skills count as much or in some cases
more than physical talent, and must be trained and honed just like the physical.
A taper is more than a few days rest-
It may take weeks to shake out residual fatigue build up from a peaking
phase. The taper is a mix of art and
science, and is individualized. For
ultra endurance events reducing training load the week before a race is not
enough to facilitate full recovery and PR performance on race day.
Specificity is the first rule- You don't effectively train the bike by
running, or skiing, or cross training.
The best cyclist are on their bicycles; a lot. Peripheral training such as strength training
may be important, especially for injury prevention, however your prime
objective is to prepare specifically for the race conditions, distance, and
Periodize- Periodization simply
means stair stepping your training stress in small increments that lead to big
gains. The top of the stairs is not your
goal race but the taper just prior to the race.
There should be regular small steps back along the way (recovery weeks)
to allow your body to recover from training macro cycles.
Define your limiters- It is possible
to be very well prepared physically for a race but still have a disappointing
race. Nutrition, pacing, mental skills,
even equipment maintenance are all part of the race process and it is important
to identify and address what is holding you back.
Be adaptable- Even the best laid training plans will need adjustment and
modification as life intervenes. Don't
write your training plan in stone and if you miss a work out don't attempt to
push too much training volume on a single day or week end. Adaptability also means not training when you
are sick or extremely tired.