Planning is critical for a successful season, but first you must know what you’re planning for. The first thing I do is set goals for the upcoming season. I look at the dates of the goal events (usually from the prior season’s schedule) and see when I want to start training to be on top form to realize my goals.
Rather than the spreadsheet I linked in Last Year’s Post, I decided to try the TrainingPeaks.com Annual Training Plan (ATP) Wizard. I stumbled across it by accident and put in the date for my #1 goal for the season. It automatically put in the training cycles I use and built my ‘mesocycle’ schedule back from the date of the race.
So what is my Big Goal? The Colorado State Time Trial Championship! I placed 4th last year, and was only just a minute off the winning time. 2011 featured a new course (a proper 40k) and I put in a good time, finishing in 52:14 (28.5 mph). I think next year I have a good chance to win if I focus my efforts.
My other goal is to qualify for the . The top Cat 1 amateur finisher from each qualifying race is invited to the Nature Valley Grand Prix. They race as a composite team for the week with full ‘Pro’ team support. Although the race doesn’t perfectly suit me (three criteriums and two road races), I am still interested in the experience and like the idea of this goal. The closest qualifying race (as yet unconfirmed, from last year) is , near Salt Lake City, in April.
I will probably select some later season goals as the year progresses, but for now I haven’t planned past the State Time Trial. There are some races that I have interest in later in the summer: Cascade Classic NRC Stage Race, epic one-day Crusher in the Tushar, and many more. I’ll wait to see how my season is going, travel considerations, and team interest before making plans for later summer.
I was surprised to see that my training for the State Time Trial started last week! 2011′s training started a month earlier than 2010 in anticipation of Tour of the Gila’s relatively early slot on the calendar. This year I want to be at the pinnacle of my fitness in early June, so training will start one month earlier still in 2012.
In addition to shifting my training earlier in 2012, I have also again lowered my hours. I planned 550 in 2010, 500 in 2011, and now 450 in 2012. Last year’s reduction was to align my goals with my actual training, as I hadn’t been able to achieve the 550 hour volume. This year I am going to ease the burden and lower my overall hours by 10%, but my goal events are of shorter duration. If I make sure to train consistently, I am confident I can succeed with slightly reduced volume.
Considering I’ve already have two months without racing I am more than ready to begin preparations for 2012. Next up I’ll detail my plans for the first training cycle.