As the new year approaches, now is the time to take a look at some common training mistakes to avoid next season. Here’s my list:
#9: Skipping your post-workout meal
Its hard to believe, but some athletes will skip the post-workout or post-race meal. Thats the best part! No, really. This is a good way to slow the recovery phase. The time window is 30-45 mins following a workout or race. Find a good 4:1 Carb to Protein snack or drink that works for you. We prefer drinks because they can be mixed on the fly, easily absorbed, and very portable.
#8: Not keeping a training diary or log
Coach Matt can often be heard saying ” You don’t know where you are going, unless you know where you’ve been”. Those who keep a training log have more discipline and structure built into their program. If you are more disciplined you are more likely to succeed. This rings true in many facets of our lives, not just athletics. It doesnt take much time to update a training log. Recovery days work best for most.
#7: No rest on rest day
Rest days are growing days. Your body needs time to heal from hard training, and rest days should be just as important as any other day. Without rest, your training will suffer from lack of enthusiasm, and intensity, from the dreaded “burnout”.
#6: Training in miles
Training in miles can lead to a decrease in training quality. If its blowing 30+ mph outside and you ride the same route, it could take considerably longer than if it wasnt so windy. This approach wouldnt work for a time crunched athlete. Instead of focusing on mileage, your concentration should be on quality.
#5: Dont be a follower
Changing your personal training plan too often to fit in with others, will make it more difficult to reach your potential or exceed the fitness of those who train with you. Its easy to work your individual training into group workouts. Just be courteous of what the group wants to do, and conform. Your training buddies will understand if you have to skip the ride once in awhile so you can focus on your training plan. Every serious athlete must train alone at some point.
#4: Overtraining your strengths
Your body, and mind, naturally want to do what they do best. To make matters worse is to not have an idea of your strengths and weaknesses in the first place. Stay away from workouts that play to your strengths, and seek out sessions that will improve your weaknesses. If you need help determining your individual strengths/weaknesses, hire a coach! Most coaches will handle this at a nominal cost. The idea is to “Train your weaknesses, and race your strengths”.
#3: Lack of testing
Your body is constantly adapting to training stress. Following every recovery week, unless you’re racing, you should try to revise your training zones. Whether you train with power, or HRM, keeping your training zones current will prevent over- or under-training.
#2: No proper plan
A proper season plan will help you avoid many of the common mistakes on this list. Do yourself a favor, no matter what time in the season it is, start preparing your Annual Training Plan asap. A professional plan will be very comprehensive and will include specific goals for events and training. It will also include a periodization schedule, annual hours, and weekly hours. Try setting realistic goals. If you have no racing experience, it’ll be tough to expect a win. However, if you placed 5th last year, setting a goal for a top five this year seems very realistic.
#1: Dont forget to have fun!
At times, training will not be fun, however, it can be fun most of the time. Staying true to yourself is the best way to keep your training fun. Do you remember what got you into this in the first place? Revisit that memory often and try to mix those fun elements into your training as often as you like. Forgetting to have fun will steer you away from sports entirely, and that is not an option.