Thursday, June 07, 2012
The 5 Most Important Factors Of Race Training
I get a lot of questions from people using our programs who want to transition to training for a race or other athletic event. And although this is my absolute forte it’s still the trickiest part of my job. Not only do individuals vary greatly but there’s no perfect formula, even if you’re a professional with a full-time coach. Throw in jobs, families and other stress tests facing the average weekend warrior and training for an event becomes a crapshoot. This is the reason I’m always tinkering with something new. However, there are 5 factors that you should always assess before you do anything else.
In 7 weeks I’ve got a 100-mile mountain bike race billed “the most difficult in the country”. Last week I received the race bible and now I know why. It’s not the 20,000’ of climbing—-no picnic on any bike—-but things like “4 miles of loose sandy climbing” that have me worried. That and the fact that I’ve barely had time to train. If work allowed for serious saddle time things would be simpler but that seems unlikely. I’m also focused on other sporting goals (climbing), which is another obstacle facing the multi-sport weekend warrior. With these caveats in mind, here’s how I figure out what to do.
1 Start with a goal
You should always begin designing your training plans around a goal and then work backwards. While my true objectives are in the fall (like always), this race is so hard that if I treat is like just another training day I could get injured. So, for the purpose of this training cycle, The Butte 100 is my ultimate goal.
Which means: A 7-week training cycle – 5 week build-up to a hard test two weeks out, then a graduating taper to race day
2 Assess injuries
A recent bike fit moved cleats back on one foot, which happened to be my injured leg, meaning I may have been exacerbating the injury. It also showed my leg length discrepancy was back. This I knew because my mobility training hasn’t been consistent and it’s been the pattern. While both issues cite sloppiness on my part at least I’m not injured right now, so maybe I’m lucky that I haven’t been training harder.
Which means: Back to the daily foam rolling and hip stability training, along with visits to the physio.
3 Assess free time
As stated not a lot. I can probably eek out 10-12 training hours per week that must be shared between three sports: riding, climbing, running.
Which means: 7 hours a week saddle time but willing to increase this for one long ride per week up until week 5.
4 Assess fitness base
My general training keeps my base very fit, which I go into great detail about in this post. Though time in the saddle is lacking I’m reasonably strong and feel like I’m turning a bigger gear than normal during the early season. I don’t have a lot of weight to lose or need to gain any general fitness. I just need to integrate my training to sports specific movements. This is a huge advantage.
Which means: My training time can focus on specificity and my indoor workouts can be for maintenance only. This is a big time saver and the justification for a solid off-season training program like P90X2.
5 Assess the goal
20,000’ of climbing, much of it on loose sand, means that to survive I’m going to need some excess pedaling power. Other than that the course doesn’t look particular technical or challenging, at least not in a way I need to specifically train for.
Which means: Training should be fairly straightforward, focused on hill climb intervals. Ouch.
With these 5 factors assessed I’ve greatly simplified the process and am now ready to create a training schedule. I’ll post the results next week. Now posted here.
pics: training distilled to more of one (hard riding) less of the other (taqueria post bike prom riding)