While the year may not be quite over, many are already planning their 2017 race and cycling season.
Sure, it’s fun to have lofty new goals, new ambitions, and new venues to fuel your cycling passions through the winter months and upcoming holiday season, but not pausing to reflect on what has recently come to pass during the previous season is missing a valuable opportunity to make personal gains that only you can make. In fact, a proper season review is the best way to identify your strengths and weaknesses and develop a comprehensive plan for the upcoming season.
Too often, we get stuck in the same winter cycle of: strength, base, aerobic work, anaerobic work and repeat this cycle year after year. We never adapt our training because we are creatures of habit. We like sticking to the same routine year after year. Now’s the time to sit down with some paper, a pencil and/or your coach to review how your season went and determine how to improve for next year. Initial questions to ask yourself include the easiest ones. Did you reach your goals? Where did you excel? What were your weaknesses? How, overall do you think your training paired with meeting your goals?
Now, drill down a bit more. Before setting your sights on new goals for 2017, it’s important to evaluate the previous season with more detail. A favorite post, Athlete-Coach Season Review, poses 10 questions to review your past season’s performance:
- What was the highlight of your season (for example, best race or greatest accomplishment)? Why?
- What was your greatest disappointment? Why?
- Review your top three goals for this season. Do you feel these were achieved?
- What did you do in training this season that you feel made you faster?
- What did you do in training this season that you feel was not productive?
- If you could change your training, mental preparation, or race tactics/strategy this past season, what would you do differently?
- Was there anything missing in your training this season?
- Do you feel that you trained enough and worked hard enough in training this season?
- Do you feel that you had adequate rest during training and before races?
- Do you have any extra comments and insights on this season?
With these personal insights in mind, you are better equipped to plan and execute a rewarding and successful 2017 cycling season. Granted, most of these questions are performance based questions – not bike related. In as much as evaluating your training, it’s important to take inventory of your bike performance too. For instance, were you performing well but your bike, bike parts, or gear held you back? If you have a heavier bike, perhaps now is the time to upgrade to a lighter road bike or mountain bike. Did you suffer from mechanicals during the season? That’s an easy fix for 2017 – just replace worn out bike parts with new ones. Maybe your time would be faster with a new wheel set.
You won’t know what to do to improve for next year until you take stock of the previous season’s performance with an objective mindset. A performance review of your training program, nutritional support, and your bike and bike parts is critical to creating an objective review of the past season so you can prepare best for a fresh, new season in 2017.