Period Covered: JANUARY – FEBRUARY
During the competition season, one of the things we do a great deal of is really target events to see what our strengths are. During the off-season, we focus attention on our weaknesses and making sure we have a good, comprehensive training plan. But when it’s a competition season, we’re focusing in on where our strengths lie and that means being selective regardless of the athlete, being selective of competition because competitions take a great deal of stress and take a great deal out of the body.
This time of the year, we start to get a little bit fatigued and so one of the things that we try to target on an endurance training is to be selective on the type of terrain that we’re training at.
Due to the fact that most of our competitions are on very hilly and steep terrain, a lot of our endurance and distance training is actually on flatter terrain. That’s to provide our muscles, our legs and our arms a little bit of reprieve during the middle of the week so that they’re more prepared on the weekend for competition.
Distance type training this time of the year means that we’re stabilizing our training and we’re not necessarily increasing our volume, but making sure that our endurance capacity is still staying high through this competitive season.
We do that in a combination of ways, through just basic aerobic endurance training as well as during our intensity. If we’re doing a great deal of racing, we tend to be doing more threshold type intervals that we may add in some speeds or some Level 4 on top of that.
There are weeks when we’re really focused on preparation in our interval sets and there we’re going to do more Level 3 or threshold-based intervals where if we’re just focused more on our Level 4, we’re doing more just targeting the races and making sure that we’re really targeting those and we will reduce the volume and do just level four work and focus for the weekend.
Strength remains important. The volume again is much less but it’s basically stabilized from the last period or two and I use that as a bit of a misnomer because stabilizing doesn’t necessarily mean we’re doing the same thing week in and week out. We’re still periodizing and progressing our training and we actually push our athletes in the weight room because we’re always trying to get stronger. But what we’re doing is we’re being deliberate in targeting the strength sessions when they’re hard. They’re usually early in the week, maybe a Tuesday, and then maybe we do another session towards the end of the week that’s more core-based. So we will do a full body strength and then more core-oriented as it gets closer to the competition.
Recovery is important, making sure that we’re getting adequate nutrition, making sure that we’re getting in massage, making sure that we’re stretching immediately after our workouts.
All these things are important especially as the competition season goes on.