7 Things To Do Now That Race Season Is Here!
Feb 18 | ( 0 ) Comments
With winter over, race season is just around the corner. For me here in Southern California, it will start this coming weekend. Many athletes are not sure how to adapt to this change, for some reason they try to stay doing the same as what they were doing during winter. Due to this, I will try to get some important points together to try and help you guide you thru this crazy period.
Remember Your Goal
The most important thing to remember and consider is your main goal and/or target. Many times, with races, events and group rides in the calendar, one tends to forget about why the athlete is training for. You have to go back to your training plan and see what your main events are, which ones you need to prepare for and which ones you can use for training or avoid if necessary.
It is great to go out and ride now that it is sunny and warm again. Go out on group rides after COVID is not only very fun, but what we have been waiting for this past year. It will be easy to get lost on secondary events, which can bring you joy but might slow your progress down. Sometimes it is a good exchange to make so that we can be happy, just make sure that if you have a target to reach that this does not stop you from doing so.
Reduce volume, increase intensity
Being that races are coming; you want to be on tip top shape. You will most likely want to avoid doing a high volume of training at this time, focus more on intensity. This way you will be more use to riding at fast speeds, thus making it less likely to get dropped during an event.
As well when you are riding a higher volume training plan, you are most likely going to be more fatigued. That is a very big inconvenient for any athlete that is trying to perform as fatigue is usually correlated with lower power numbers when you are riding. For this reason, try to avoid doing any long rides (ex. Century Rides, 4 Hour MTB Rides, etc.). You are still able to reach adaptation by increasing your intensity, while reducing your volume. It might not be the same type of aerobic adaptation due to the lower volume, but you will be improving your anaerobic system while maintaining your aerobic gains this way.
Start adding changes to your intervals
When you focus on intensity, just don’t focus on steady high intensity but include changes in the tempo as well. What do I mean by this? Make sure that your interval resembles what your race will look like, maybe try completing them with less recovery or recovery at a higher zone.
A good example of this is “Over-Under Intervals”. A basic form of this is riding for 6 minutes at a high intensity, during which you ride 1 minute at your V02 Max and then ride another minute at Sweet Spot (for recovery), doing this for a total of 3 times (6 minutes) and then recover before the next set. This way you are not just riding at a high intensity but adding changes to your tempo which will resemble more similarly the requirements of a race or event.
Small Taper for B Races
As races and events start to come along, you might want to be fully ready for every single one of them. However, that is not the best way to tackle a racing season. You have to take some of these races as a training session only, while focusing on your main goals of the season. If you do not do this, you will not be able to put enough stress on your body to achieve the adaptation you are looking for. Or even worse than that you might get stuck in no-where land, where you never ride as hard as you could, because you are never riding easy to recover which will then develop into over-training.
One of the ways that I feel that is ok, is to do a small tapper for B or secondary races. Maybe reduce the volume a bit before the race but increase the intensity and use the race as another high intensity workout. This way you are still able to use it as a proper training week. You cannot do this every single week, but once or twice a month should not be a problem.
Nutrition is one of the most important factors that needs to be taken into consideration during racing season. You have to make sure that you are neither overfeeding nor underfeeding your body. If you eat too much you will gain extra weight and probably unwanted fat, while if you underfeed your body you will not be able to sustain the recovery and adaptations that training require (and you even might get sick).
In most cases you will need to increase your carbohydrates consumption, this in order to be able to sustain the higher intensity workouts that race season will bring. Remember, it is always recommended to visit a licenses professional nutritionist to assist you in having a proper diet and meal plan.
Go over your equipment
Now that race season is here you have to make sure that your equipment is in the best shape possible. Make sure to perform a safety check on all the bolts, we don’t want something to brake (more if it’s a carbon bike). Check your drivetrain for wear, is it may be time for a new chain or even a cassette? Brakes are also an important factor, are they in need of a bleed or maybe some new pads?
If you take care of your equipment, he will take care of you during your race or event. If you forget to do the proper maintenance, then you might have shifting issues, flats, or maybe even an accident if your brakes are not properly maintained. Be sure to repair all issues, the last thing you will probably want is for a mechanical to ruin all the hours and hard work you had put in training to reach that goal.
Find a coach to support you
You do not need to do this alone, there are coaches like me that are here to guide and help you. The common issues and mistakes that are listed on this article are only a few of the ones that exist. As a cycling coach I have done those mistakes, seen others do them, or learned from others that have done them. By going through this I have achieved a higher level of experience and can guide you into the proper path so that you do not have to do those same mistakes.
You will save time, which normally is also related with money. My one-on-one training plans start at only $99 a month, with my generic plan starting at only $50 per month. Take a look at my online store here if you are interested.
Let me know what you think, or if you have any comments or questions in the section below!
Gilberto Cortez - USA Cycling, TrainingPeaks & NICA Certified Coach