Your main races are the most important thing to determine what your training should be. Training and preparation races all lead to your main event. We show you how to plan your season and what a difference good planning makes.
If you want to achieve something, you have to have a specific goal. Even the hardcore athletes, who take part in 100 races a year on average, have concentrated since the late 1980s on a single seasonal goal – such as the Tour de France. And shortly after the Tour comes to an end -they are looking ahead 11 months to the next showdown.
The preparation for pro cyclists can last from November to the end of July – 8 months! The few races leading to the Tour or any goal race are used as intense training and for checking form, not to mention “psychological warfare”. That uncompromising will to win, is kept in check until all the cards are on the table at the start of the Tour. Long distance triathletes and marathon runners train similarly and build around one or two main events while using mostly shorter competitions for preparation.
When do I want to be in the best shape?
When we start to plan our season, we don’t have to go to the lengths of the Tour heroes to have success, but the method still works: we must define when and where we want to achieve our best form. We can then prolong it over a period of 4-6 weeks. If the peaks are further apart we can plan a two peaked periodization (a spring and fall peak, with a rest in the summer for example). Many successful athletes use the method.
2PEAK subscribes to this training philosophy. These main races mark the seasonal peaks and are specifically trained for from four to twelve weeks before. Then there is a follow up phase of one to two weeks after. During this competition phase, we use a special training plan, to bring your form to a fine point. This typically starts with an endurance block- usually containing the longest workouts of the season, followed by an intensity block with less volume but more intensity. That phase ends about 10 days before the planned peak. Now it is time to “taper off”. In particular, the volume of training is greatly reduced to allow your body to recover totally from the training stress. At the same time though, shorter intense intervals continue to be trained, to prevent the body from switching over to a completely passive mode.
The massive reduction in workload together with the memory stimuli results in the right form for the main competition. If you get nervous in the last days before the competition and train really hard again, you are wasting the efforts of the training. when you dont peak and taper correctly you will not be fully recovered at the start.
After the competition
After the event, the next task is to maintain that hard earned form as long as possible. For example by adding one or more B events. B events differ from main races in that the preparation occurs within a few days of the event. The follow up phase is also short.
You can plan as many B-races as you like. But here as well, it makes sense to concentrate on the more important ones – for instance three or four races after the main event. Other races, used as intense training in race conditions do not affect the micro cycles. At 2PEAK these are called training competitions. As they are simply used for intense training they aren’t to be prepared for specifically. They should be included in your intensity phase to keep the training plan on track.
Summary of 2PEAK races:
D-Day! This is when it counts. You want to be in top form here. Main Races are the anchor points of your periodization and require four to twelve weeks of specific preparation and one to two weeks of post event follow up. Main races should be selected carefully. One main race in a peak is enough.
Important competitions but with less priority than main events. The preparation and follow up for B-events only takes a few days. They are ideally planned in the weeks after a main event or at least 4 weeks before it in order to not jeopardize the build up.
The name says it all: Training races are used as intense work outs in a race environment and do not affect the structure of your training plan. Training race days are treated as a normal workout in your plan. It isn’t forbidden to win (you may sprint!) but this not the primary objective.
So how do you plan your season and what does this mean for your training schedule? First select your first main race. Enter this in your 2PEAK account to get a plan. If you don’t have an account, get your first 21 days free here. When entered, recalculate the plan. If you go to the view of the year you now see the structure of your periodization with planned intensity phases.
Now plan the training races in the intensity phases preceding your main race. Then plan the B-races in the weeks following the main race. Training camps should be finished at the latest 6 weeks before a scheduled main race. You can emphasize an endurance phase most effectively by scheduling some work-free days adjacent to a weekend to prolong the phase.
Example for the preparation of a main race (22nd of may). The colors of the bars represent the training phases (red= intensity, green=endurance, grey=recovery). 10 days before the main race the tapering starts – the volume is significantly reduced (grey circle). The intensity phases before the main race are suited well for training races. These training races should be done straight without any preparation. The primary goal is the additional training stimulus. Four weeks or longer before the main race or immediately after B-races can be planned.
How 2PEAK helps you plan your season
2PEAK will always plan an optimum training structure according to your wishes, but this can only be as good as your restrictions allow. By planning training days and competitions intelligently and timing your training camp well, you support our optimization efforts. In case of deviations, the dynamics in the training scheduling will then keep you on course.