Are you behind in your training for a big goal event? Did you miss out on some important workouts or get sick in the past few months and get off-track? Have no fear; there is still time to get your training on track for great results. It will take some discipline and some work, but your best season is still within reach. Here are some tips for making it happen:
Don’t do anything stupid: No 8-hour death-march rides, no starvation training where you ride 5 hours fueled only water and a single piece of toast, and certainly no dehydration training! If it would sound like a bad idea to include in your normal training, it’s an even worse idea when you’re trying to make up for lost time.
Shift to longer lactate threshold intervals: Many time-crunched athletes spent the winter doing short indoor workouts with high-intensity intervals. As you transition to longer outdoor rides you’re likely noticing that you have good power for hard efforts, but you’re lacking some of the stamina you have for more prolonged efforts. This is a good time to focus on aerobic endurance rides and lactate threshold intervals ranging from 10-20 minutes in length. A three-week block of lactate threshold training (2-3 LT interval workouts each week, aim for cumulative time spent at threshold) in April/May can set you up for a remarkably powerful June and July.
Jump into hard group rides: The weather has kept many athletes in their basements and garages, and reduced local group rides and runs to a few hearty souls. Now that it’s getting warmer, jump back into that fast Tuesday Night World Championship ride or the faster lane at the Masters Swim Session. Don’t worry that some athletes are faster than you; training with them will help you make progress more quickly.
Be Consistent: When your fitness is on schedule or ahead of schedule you have more ‘wiggle room’ for missing workouts and being a little haphazard with training. When you’re trying to make up for lost time you don’t have that luxury. Be protective of your training time and get out there even when the weather’s iffy. It’s better to shorten a workout or transition an interval workout into an aerobic endurance workout than to skip it altogether.
Be Patient: One of the biggest mistakes athletes make is to over-react to being a little behind in terms of performance markers. You may want to accelerate the training process, but you can’t sidestep the principles of training. The only way to make progress is to stress your system appropriately and give yourself time to recover. It’s easy to ramp up the intensity or volume of your training and create more overload than you can recover from. Don’t fall into that trap.
Avoid Caloric Overcompensation: One of the easiest ways to lose a few pounds is to keep your caloric intake relatively constant as you increase the intensity and/or volume of your training. Once you know from workout quality that you are taking in enough energy to support your increased workload, then reduce caloric intake to create a deficit. If you do both at the same time it is easy to inadvertently undercut your energy intake to the point you hinder training progress. In the short term, let the increased training workload create a small energy imbalance to help you shed a pounds. An important component of this is avoiding the temptation to gorge on big post-workout meals – even after long rides!
Schedule a Training Camp: Whether you create it yourself or come to a CTS Camp, scheduling a long weekend or weeklong training camp gives you a focused block of training to work into your training schedule. More than that, it’s also a great learning opportunity so you can take your skills to a new level, learn to train with power, etc.
CEO/Founder of CTS