Athletes update, Kit and equipment

Ready to race?

So, are you ready to race as we approach the new season?  The days are starting to get longer,  I even managed to get out in 3/4 bibs today (and its the 14th February!)! The hard yards of the last couple of months will no doubt be starting to show through in your performances.

Here at Peaks HQ I am working with my athletes on individual race goals.  Ryan Collins (pictured below) was the first to kick off his race season.  He was certainly ‘ready to race’ storming to overall victory in the recent Sebring 12hr Race in Florida.  A stunning race by Ryan covering 269miles for an Age Group record and he was just 2 miles off the event record.


Preparing Ryan for this race has been a tough ask for us both.  As he lives in Northern USA he has been inside training for virtually 6 months, which is tough preparing for something like a 12 hr Race!  This is the first of 4 key races we have for this season.  Its going to be  along season for Ryan as he started so early.  His last race is late October so its important we manage him physically and mentally through this period.

Most of us, and all of my Northern Hemisphere based athletes haven’t started racing yet, but we are now in the final planning stages and transitioning from sub threshold endurance based training and FTP ‘push’ work, into quality sustained race pace efforts and intervals.

There are a number of things to think about when making sure you are ready to race and worth having a recheck of them as the season approaches.

  1. Are you and (where relevant) your coach clear on the seasons main objectives?
    1. Have you an annual periodised training plan building to these?
  2. Have you planned specific A-races, ideally with adequate space between to allow periodisation and peaking for these?
  3. How long do you plan your season to be?  Its hard to stay ‘on point’ from February to November!
  4. Have you planned a mid season break (especially if planning a long racing season), to mentally & physically recharge?
  5. Have you the race kit sorted for the season, or at least are you clear on what you need and when to get it?

Lets talk in depth about some more of these points:

  1. Your season plan and key races
    1. By now you should be clear on what these are. Ideally aim for a maximum of 4 ‘A’ races.  These are the key races that you will build towards,  your training will reflect the demands of these races and you will plan to taper and be ‘on form’ for these.
      1. Which races?
        1. This is obviously driven by your goals and aspirations for the season.  The key here is to research those races that will allow you the best chance to fulfil these goals, think about
          1. When in the year, either a time that you want to ‘peaking for’ and research races at that time, or if aiming for specific National Championships or other time determined races then these will dictate when this is.
      2. The course / race route?
        1. If your aim is a specific race, be it an Ironman triathlon, Time trial or road race then research the course and adapt your training accordingly.
          1. Review the race profile, how hilly is it?  How many junctions / roundabouts or turns? what will the weather be like (typically) and simulate in training these demands.   This may mean specific length hill repeats, or practice descending and cornering.  Ideally if you can review a ‘strava’ file from someone who has raced that course – how did they race it? what can you learn?  the best bet is to try, if at all possible, to ride the course.  get to know the actual route, the bumps and lumps, the road surface and corners and home your race craft to meet this.
          2. Think about the time of day the race is – If its a late afternoon time trial think about trying to do some race specific intervals at that time of day.  For example the majority of my own training tends to be early mornings,  But for late afternoon TT’s then i will put in some afternoon interval sessions so my body ‘knows’ how to perform at the time of day.  This gives you a good chance to practice your race build up on the day, your fuelling , recovery and warm up.
      3.  The ‘shape of your season’
        1. The reason for only 3-4 ‘A’ races is that it allows you to periodise and build specific form for each race, following a traditional format of build, race preparation, taper, recovery and transition.  The time between key races (ideally) should be at least 4 weeks, but this is not always easy when race calendars dictate.  in some areas of the sport, such as time trial or road racing there can be races every week.  In the past many racers tried to ‘hold’ form all season.  This is massively challenging and can mean you never reach ‘peak’ fitness but you just move sidewards or even backwards in your fitness.
          1. Trying to ‘peak’ week in week out for races can actually mean you de-train.  Through winter you will likely have been following a structured build, building training stress (TSS) and race specific skills.  Come race season, and lets say most races are on a Sunday at the end of a work week, then its likely your fitness can take a dip.  You will train hard early week, then start to rest and come ‘up’ for the race.  This strategy means its likely that you will miss key training hours on Saturdays and Sundays as you always race, Monday will likely be recovery and then this leaves maybe just 3 days of ‘solid’ training (time crunched due to work’, before you start the cycle again – so its worth thinking about.
          2. The best racers in any sport will target the key races and train accordingly, to these goals.  They may well race other races, but these will be ‘B or ‘C’ races that they will train through, knowing the results may be suboptimal in those races – BUT setting themselves up for the BIG ones.
            iM finish lanza
      4. Rest and Recovery
        1. By periodoising your season you can build in specific periods of rest and recovery that aid both body and mind.  This is massively important.  racing can be stressful, alongside all other ‘life’ stress so by building key back off sections into the season you can stay fresh, stay motivated & also balance life with your sport.
      5. Reappraise
        1. Don’t be afraid to reappraise and change goals,  If some early season races or training either don’t go well, or conversely you start to hit some ‘form’ don’t be scared to reshape the season and maximise this,  Flexibility is key and the help of a coach or impartial adviser here can be critical.
      6. Kit
        1. Get this sorted early!  Not only to make sure you can get hold of it, but also to practice in it and get used to the bike / shoes / position or nutrition.
          1. Many of us will have experienced the ‘out of stock’ notice for a key piece of kit we want just days before a race – oh no!  Get it bought early, avoid the stress!
          2. Practice on your bike, in your trainers or new goggles – NEVER turn up on race day with new, untested kit – you are asking for it to go wrong!

So its worth taking a few minutes to review all of this now.  That way you can take stress out of the build up to races and ensure you are ‘Ready to race’!

Finally – enjoy it – That should be the main reason we do it!







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