Coach's Column with Lynda Wallenfels - Staying Fresh Through A Long Season
Question: "The race season
seems to be getting longer and longer, what are some good things to do to keep
fresh and motivated for the entire season?"
Answer: Keeping it fresh is
important when you have a long season scheduled. The best way to achieve this is to periodize
your season or in other words split it up into segments or periods with
specific time spans and unique goals to achieve. Each period should have a different focus
which builds upon the prior one. Planning out your race season and working along
a periodized training plan avoids the staleness and burnout that comes from
doing the same type of training every week.
Most athletes start the season with enough
energy and mojo to see themselves through to the middle of their race season
before motivation starts to wane. Smart race scheduling early can prevent a
mid-season slump. Spread out your early season races to allow for recovery
weeks and a mental break from racing. The demands of travelling every weekend
to a race can be wearing. Plan rejuvenating weekends with no travel into your
About the mid-season point, accumulated
season fatigue catches up with most racers. Recovery rate from workouts and
from races slows down. In the second half of the season, spread intensity training sessions and races further
apart to allow for appropriate recovery. Without this extra recovery, athletes
will enter intensity training sessions and races still tired and will
underperform. Most type "AĒ athletes (that would be all of us right?) lean in
and train harder when they perceive performance slipping into a mid-season
slump, whereas the correct response is to add more recovery time.
An important time to add a deep recovery week
is following your first peak race of the year. Coming off a peak race where you
nailed your goals can be a tough time to back down the training while you are
riding the post-race achievement euphoria. It is all too common to feel
fantastic for 2-3 days after your peak race and rush out to grab some Strava
KOMís. You might then discover on Thursday that you are really systemically
tired and have put yourself into an over-training hole, guaranteeing a
Mid-season is the time to step-up your
recovery routine and general wellness habits. Ensure you are doing your best to
recover quickly from every workout and race by using these Tools to Speed Recovery
Staying motivated is directly tied into
staying healthy and high energy. The top two things you can do to stay healthy
and high energy throughout the season are:
Eat a nutrient dense diet
with whole foods, lean protein sources and many fruits and vegetables.
Sleep 8+ hours per night.
Finally, one of the best secrets to staying
fresh and keeping motivation high all season long is to have fun. If you love
what you are doing and are having fun with it, motivation is rarely a limiter.
Lynda Wallenfels is
a Category 1 certified USA Cycling coach. She coaches mountain bike, cross
country and endurance athletes to personal bests and national championships.
Lynda has been coaching off-road athletes for 16 years and racing
professionally for 18 years. Contact her through her website for information on
mountain bike training plans, coaching and consulting at LWCoaching.com