ANALYSIS & MOTIVATION
The off-season is the time to positively look back on the season just gone and to plan your racing and training for the next. Here’s how to enter 2018 mentally strong
Once the emotions of your final race of the season have died down, you should take time to think about what went right – and what went wrong – in both racing and training for 2017. This can be quite a tricky process on your own, as we can forget our failures, so it can be worth doing this reciprocally with a club mate, training partner or coach. They’re more likely to be honest about your weaknesses then you would be with yourself. Refer to your training and racing diary and, if you didn’t keep one, make that a definite goal for next year.
Our natural tendency is to focus on the workouts and sessions that we enjoy. Yet we normally enjoy those sessions as they’re the ones we’re already good at. The biggest overall gains are achieved by working on your weaknesses so, again, if you don’t think you’ll be honest about identifying and scheduling in those sessions, get some objective assistance: this is where a qualified multisport coach can be invaluable.
The events that you’re intending to race next season will, to an extent, determine the content and structure of your off-season training. For example, if you’re planning on stepping up in terms of race distance next season, you’re probably going to have to factor in more volume. The earlier you can put your plans in place for next season, the better, as you can tailor your training towards them and have them in your mind, and diary, for motivation.
Maintaining motivation through the winter can be tough and, although having a structured plan through to next season can help, it can also be daunting seeing weeks of seemingly endless training ahead. So break it up with some winter racing. Road and off-road duathlons, cyclo-cross, track cycling, cross-country running, and winter swimming leagues can all provide fun, low key and regular competition to break up the monotony. [See p36 for more ideas.]
Also, book a warm-weather training camp if you can; this’ll give you something to aim for and a much-needed mid-winter boost of sunshine and vitamin D!