Welcome to Episode #41 of the Mile High Endurance podcast. Mile High Endurance is your weekly connection to coaches, experts and pro athletes to help you reach your endurance and triathlon goals. I'm your host Rich Soares and I'm excited to bring you a great show with my co-host coach Khem Suthiwan.
This episode is coming out the first weekend of October. If it hasn't felt like autumn yet, it will soon. The race calendar in the northern hemisphere are dwindling as we head into the off season. Just as April was a great time to nail down your northern hemisphere race calendar, now is a great time to start thinking about your key races and goals. With your "A" race and goals in mind, you can then start to build your training strategy. Notice I did not say training plan. Now before I go too much farther, I want to acknowledge that I’m using TrainingPeaks when I do my Annual Training Plan. There are a number of links on the MHE website to Training Peaks articles and videos on ATP and training concepts.
Before I design a training plan, I first want to start with my strategy. Before I develop a strategy, I want to know what I want to achieve and when (what is my “A” race and when). This tells me what level of fitness I have to have, and the skills required to meet the challenge, and the climate I need to be prepared for. (Eg, type of race and skill - ultra marathon v duathlon v triathlon; climate and course – IM Whistler v Cozumel) – THIS IS THE REQUIREMENTS INPUT TO THE STRATEGY
Obviously I next need to take stock of my current level of fitness and where I am in my existing (2016 Annual Training Plan). I will typically wait until my race season is over an I’m in my Transition Phase.
I will use my Performance Management Chart (assuming all of my data is in Training Peaks) to assess where my current fitness level is at. I also need to take stock of my strengths and weaknesses and compare my skills balance sheet to the demands of the event and environment of my key races. What are the gaps? What are my highest leverage assets? What do I need to work on in the off season? - THIS IS THE CURRENT STATE INPUT TO THE STRATEGY
THEN COMES THE STRATEGY. When I do the math of X (Requirements) – Y (Current State) = Z (list of gaps). Okay, if you haven’t already started creating lists and you are in a place where you can write or type something down. Start doing this with me. Create the X list of requirements (the A race, the distance, the skills, etc). Create the Y list of current state (your current fitness, skills, limiters, etc).
Let’s add to this a list of Constraints and Risks. That’s right, list out the things that are your priorities outside of your racing and training. Write down your commitments to work and work schedule constraints. What are the constraints from a weather perspective? This is obviously geared mostly to listeners in the northern hemisphere, but there are big differences in daylight duration and weather depending on where you are in the N hemisphere, right? How does that play in to your available time to train? Holidays? Family commitments? Okay you get the idea.
The other questions I want to answer are what is the safest, life-suiting and effective way to reach your goal. So if we do the math X (requirements) – Y (current state) = Z Gaps / divided by Constraints and you’ve got a good set of things that inform your strategy. Now comes the question of what are the best things to work on during the off season? Should you work on deficient skills in the off season? Should you build a big base in the off season? Should you work on increasing your fitness and FTP in the off season?
I’d like to ask you to think about these questions and this equation over the coming week and next week pick up the discussion with one of my coaching friends and talk about how to put together your strategy, including the question about whether or not a periodized plan or a reverse-periodized plan is best for you. On that point, I again suggest you go to www.milehighendurance.com and go to the resources page to see the links to specific TrainingPeaks articles. I would also encourage you to listen to the interview with coach David Warden in episode #18 on the Episodes page. The David Warden interview is about 18 minutes into the episode. In that interview, David Warden explains the difference of the two methodologies and this will be a foundation for our “lessons in endurance training” discussion next week.