With 2013 just about done (or perhaps done by the time you read this), it’s time to start planning for 2014 if you haven’t already done so.
Step #1: Decide on your key events
It seems kind of obvious that you should figure out what you want to do first, but this helps establish how you should train. Look through last year’s training log and review the events you did, as well as look at the upcoming events for the year. Decide what evens you’d like to do and which events will be your priority “A” races (for more on that, read here).
Step #2: Analyze your calendar
Once you’ve decided what you want to do, lay it all out on the calendar. Figure out the time you have until your first real event and the time between your events. Is there a natural grouping of events? If so, that’s a great time to be peaking. Are your events spread out over a couple of months? Then you will have to decide how you will build for the events and then perhaps incorporate some block training to stay sharp over a relatively long period.
Step #3: Determine the demands of the target events
Look at the events you’ve chosen and try and determine the physiological demands. Will you be needing more threshold – and who doesn’t, but is it the key? Will the events be punchy events like crits or certain mountain bike races? Or will it all come down to the shorter efforts and the ability to sprint?
Step #4: Choose a periodization plan and lay out your training phases
Once you’ve determined the demands of the events, you can start to lay out the training phases. The classical periodization is to go from lower intensity training to higher intensity training, but that’s not the only way to do it. Also keep in mind that you’ll “use it or lose it”, so you may want to throw in some varied levels of intensity no matter which route you go.
Pretty general stuff so next up, I’ll show some examples of annual training plans broken into phases.