Post-Peak Performance Plan
Many riders struggle to prepare for a second major goal in the same year.
Over the past decade, a huge amount of information has become readily available concerning periodization of training and techniques to tailor training plans to specific goals. Many cyclists have been empowered to sit down and lay out annual plans for achieving their cycling goals. Yet, while it?s relatively straightforward to plan a season built around one primary goal, many riders struggle to prepare for a second major goal in the same year. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
In many parts of the northern hemisphere, racing continues beyond the mid-summer State and National Championships, often through mid-September. This time during the late summer and early fall creates an eight-week opportunity to experiment with a Post-Peak Performance Plan.
A training year is typically broken into periods such as Foundation, Preparation, Specialization, and Transition. To achieve the best results, each period of training contains blocks that focus on development of a particular energy system, technique, or skill. A typical block involves a three-week build-up of volume and/or intensity, followed by a single week in which volume and/or intensity are decreased to promote recovery. (Fig 1) These blocks are designed to gradually develop your fitness through a planned series of steps. You start with the broadest training by targeting the aerobic system, and then you move to more and more specialized training to meet the demands of your particular event.
Fig. #1-Standard 4-week Block
Based on performance and/or setbacks that may occur, such as illness or injury, training blocks are modified and manipulated throughout the season. If you?re working with a coach, communication is crucial to the success of your program. The ultimate goal is usually to achieve peak performance at one particular event. For many riders, this may be an event in late June or July.
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Timing a peak to perfection is a risky proposition for new riders and may take several seasons of experimentation to achieve. Peak too early or too late and performance will be less than stellar at the main event. On average, an amateur racer can hold a peak for as much as four weeks, where a professional can spend up to seven weeks racing at his or her best. This is due, in part, to experience (trial and error) with the peaking process.
Let?s assume that you nailed it! You hit your peak at the end of June and maintained it through July. You had some of the best performances of your cycling career over the past few weeks and you are ?riding high?. The dilemma here is that you know the ?peak? is not going to last and there are still eight weeks left in the racing season. What now?
Set the Bar
It?s now time to experiment by creating an alternative to the ?typical? blocks of training.
To build a solid plan of action, you will need to identify one goal that serves as a motivator. You might need points to upgrade, have an obligation to your team to finish out the season, or maybe the last race of