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How do I get from here to my goal race?

Meet Neil. Our Fit-For subject for today

One our first clients was Neil Robertson, a 24-year-old, 3rd category rider. Neil had raced in 2004 primarily at Hillingdon and local circuit races. For 2005 Neil decided that he wanted more structure to his training as he felt he was not reaching his full potential. His goals for 2005 were to move into road racing more and perhaps participate in some of the South East series races to gain experience and measure himself against those riders he aims to emulate.

Goal Setting
Neil Says: ‘Last year I simply wanted to find out what racing was all about and whether or not I would enjoy it. I quickly realised that it was something that I enjoyed and wanted to progress with. For 2005 I have set realistic targets for the spring, summer and autumn. I now have an incentive and direction to my training’. FIT-FOR: First thing we did with Neil was sit down and find out what his goals for 2005 were. Once we had these in place we set about shaping his training around these events. The most important thing for any athlete is to have challenging, but attainable goals.

Winter Base Training
Neil Says: ‘My winter training in the past consisted of going out on a Saturday and trying to hammer my club mates. My training was totally unstructured and I was overdoing it one day and then was too tired to do anything the next day. I didn’t really know how I should be training – I just rode my bike!’

FIT-FOR: Neil was literally going out for 85-mile rides at race pace! He was then too tired to train for the next two days. It’s also likely he was giving all his best riding in training and leaving little left for racing. We have given Neil heart rate limits for all his rides so he does not overdo it at this time of year – something the UK club run mentality encourages! Neil’s training is currently endurance heavy with specific cadence work. We will be gradually bringing in shorter, slightly harder sessions as the racing season approaches.

Build Phase
Neil Says: ‘I start racing in early March. My aims for the first few races of the season are to gain experience and get used to racing in a bunch again after training in small groups throughout the winter. These races are nothing more than training to me and I’ll be happy to finish them’

FIT-FOR: We have spent a lot of time with Neil looking at the racing calendar for 2005. The first 3 or 4 races are primarily about finishing and getting racing miles in the legs. We have also chosen races that will not be too intensive. Neil has picked out the races he wants to perform in and the early season events will be the building blocks for these. Training in this period is becoming more race specific with intervals and leg speed entering the programme.

Competition Phase
Neil Says: ‘Once I am in the competition phase I hope to be at the level where I can race competitively and gain results. If I have done everything correctly, I feel confident that I will succeed in my goal races. Here’s hoping!’

FIT-FOR: Neil’s training and racing is structured so he will hopefully perform at his best in the events that matter most. It’s no use flying two weeks before your big race and then creeping on the big day itself. His training becomes much more intensive and specific as he approaches the goal races. We still keep some endurance in the programme, but speed sessions and race simulation becomes an integral part of the training.

Summary
Neil’s structured approach to training greatly improves his chances of performing in the races that matter to him. He is keeping his sessions sensible and working on specific areas of his training such as endurance, technique and also nutrition. As he progresses through the year his sessions change to reflect the racing he is doing and the goals ahead. He no longer simply goes out and rides his bike!

  • FIT-FOR are a RCUK training advice partner. They supply advice on coaching and technique for our readers. If you have any questions for them, please send us an e-mail.

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