On the year as a whole, I have started to evaluate the now dwindling season. What worked in terms of training? What didn't work? What do I need to focus on for next year?
Well, lets start with what didn't work so well in the 2006 season - as some of you might remember, I incorporated quite a bit of max strength training this year, hoping that it would improve efficiency. In fact, it might have improved efficiency, but I felt that I was sacrificing recovery time. In other words, the amount of time I was spending lifting affected my time and energy available for specific training on the bike. So, as a whole, the strength training was a bad choice on my part. Needless to say, I will not be doing any max strength training in the gym this year. This will free up time, and more importantly energy, for specific training on the bike. If I do some strength training, it will be Obree-style on the fixed gear.
Moving on, as a whole I probably did about 15-20 percent high intensity training (I-3 to I-5), with the brunt of that closer to the beginning of the season. This year I will be increasing the amount of high intensity training and decreasing volume a little bit. In other words, training the engine will be more of a focus area. I plan to do lots of I-3 training (threshold), simply because it is very easy to recover from and the trend in most endurance sports is just that. More and more time spent with I-3 training. Of course - there will also be quite a bit of I-4 and I-5 training, but that will come later (November through April).
I will also change my periodization slightly. Starting in November, I will have a capacity period of 6-12 days of very hard training (exclusively high intensity, I-4 to I-5) every 4-5 weeks. These periods will be very, very tough, but should give a good boost of performance. As always, it becomes extremely important to listen to the body during these periods. Knowing when to push and when to rest becomes vital. One of the overriding goals will be to stay healthy the whole year.
In a nutshell, from November through April, I will have two normal weeks followed by a very hard period, which in turn is followed by an easy week. Simple and basic, but very effective in terms of development. As always, the most important week is the easy week.
Quality, quality, quality. This will be my motto in 2007. Everything that I do needs to have top quality. All training, including the easy rides, food, rest, sleep, mental focus - nothing will be done without top quality.
Flexibility - I did some good work on that in 2006 and will certainly continue that next year. This is almost a daily thing, except after hard sessions. I have seen good results from it, since I can now produce more power in a more aerodynamic (lower) position.
Core strength - Another good area from 2006, which will be continued next year. Basically, I will do 3 sessions a week, year round. Each session lasts about 40 minutes, excluding warm-up, so it's fast and easy.
So, what about the future? Well, in the grand-scheme of things, the main goal still exists - I will be in the top 5 in the world by 2010 - 2011. That's a big goal, and every day, month and year is a small step towards that goal. On paper, it's pretty simple - to reach the top I need to be able to maintain 50-53 km/h for a 1 hour effort in the TT, for example. Each season, I need to take small steps towards the increase in performance. With proper training, each day, it is a realistic, but gutsy, goal.
As an interesting side-note, I have been experimenting with the 4000 m pursuit in training this year, and it turns out that I have some potential in this event. With very little training for this event, I have been posting some pretty fast times and I might be aiming for riding some world cups in this event in the future. With some small changes in equipment, position and specific training - I might be looking at doing a double (track and road), if possible.