So you’re long and hopefully, successful cycling season is at an end. Your first step is to get some hard-earned rest. You can still ride, just take it easy and have fun. This is a great time to ride with friends and family members who can not stay with you during training rides. It is also a great time to take part in other activities you enjoy like running, swimming, rollerblading, hiking and skating. Your second step is to honestly evaluate your performance. This is vital in order to set goals and develop a training regimen for the upcoming season. Assessing your performance is a reliably simple process. Just answer 5 questions and remember to be honest with yourself.
1. What goals did you achieve during the season? This is an easy question to answer if you have SMART goals (ie, goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). Just make sure you are clear about how you achieved a particular goal. For example, did you accomplish a goal because of significant improvement in a particular physiological ability such as lactate threshold or anaerobic capacity, or did you achieve the goal because it was set too low? Try to understand the specific reason you were able to set each goal.
2. What goals did you fail to achieve during the season? First of all, do not be discouraged if you fail to achieve some of your goals. This is normal when you set challenging objectives. In fact, if you accomplished all of your goals there is a possibility you set the bar too low. Try to understand the reason you came up short in some areas. Were your goals realistic? If they were achievable, what was the missing element? Was there a problem with your training? Were there external barriers that got in your way?
3. What were your greatest strengths during the season? Think in terms of the 6 key physiological abilities: aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, lactate threshold, aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity and neuromuscular power. What was your strongest ability during the season? Which capabilities allowed you to accomplish your goals? For example, if your goal was to finish your first century ride and you were successful, aerobic endurance was a definite strength.
4. What were your most significant weaknesses during the season? Conversely, of the key physiological abilities, where were you weakest? For example, if you wanted to perform well in time trials and fall short of your expectations, you probably need to improve your power at lactate threshold. If you were expecting greater results in criteria, you may need to improve your anaerobic capacity and neuromuscular power.
5. How do you feel about your performance? Simply stated, are you excited about how the season went? Do you feel good about your performance or are you feeling some disappointment? This is a very important consideration because many athletes get discouraged about their performance if they fail to achieve their goals. This can have a negative impact on your preparation for the upcoming season. No matter what your results are, always try to keep things in perspective. Use these questions to identify the steps you must take to achieve your goals next season.