Preparing for your A races

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06/29/2005| 0 comments
by Tim Crowley - CTS Pro Coach

Preparing for your A races

Hard work and preparation lead to success.

We all know certain athletes can put the hurt on everyone in training, but somehow don?t produce the same result in races. Conversely, there are those who never seem exceptionally fast or strong in workouts, but always seem to do well when it counts the most. Preparing for key events can make or break your season and utilize all the hard training you have done. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

Preparation for this season?s important events begins NOW! Preparation is the attention to detail that can bring about superior performances. It is what makes average athletes good and good athletes great. Lance Armstrong is a great athlete that has propelled himself to the status of champion because of his meticulous preparation for the Tour De France.

There are many facets to proper preparation. Take a look below at some of the obvious and not so obvious areas you need to attend to in preparing for your ?A? races.

Racecourse Recon - This involves the terrain and distance of your ?A? races. Try to match your lower priority races in both terrain and distance to your key races if possible. Learn as much about your ?A? races as you can. This may mean talking to athletes who have completed the race before, looking at race profiles and assessing climate conditions in the past. Training on the course weeks or months ahead of time will give you a better feel for the course as well.

Equipment - Don?t make any last minute equipment changes. Get to know your gear and how it responds. Give yourself plenty of time to break things in.

Visualization - You need to be able to see yourself being successful on the course. This can involve using various mental training techniques that will build your confidence and ability to make proper decisions when it matters most.


Training - When it comes to getting ready for the big events, proper training can be counter intuitive. Let?s face it, most endurance athletes are not lazy. When given the choice, most will over train rather than under train.

As the big races loom on the horizon, here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you prepare your training.

1.      More is not better. Train less, but do more at or slightly below your lactate threshold. This can include steady state intervals at an intensity 3-5 beats below threshold. Total volume can be up to an hour, such as 4x 15 minutes, or 3x 20 minutes.

2.      Race simulation- Ideally, you will have access to bike trails that closely resemble those you will race on. In training, you can experiment with different race tactics to find what will work best for you. By using a downloadable heart rate monitor in these sessions, you can use the data to decide how best to plan your race strategy.

3.      Block training- This training concept is quite popular for elite cyclist and multi sport athletes. Simplified, block training combines several (usually 2-3) quality training days, followed by an equal amount or more days of recovery. Hard training on

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