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It's that time of year again when many are coming to the end of another, hopefully successful, cycling season.
The first step is to get some hard earned rest, both mentally and physically while trying to not lose the physical ability gained this year. Our article on ‘Year round development’ will help juggle this. The second step is to honestly evaluate your performance. This is vital in order to set goals and develop a training regimen and focus for the upcoming season.
When we come to assessing our season this requires honesty and an objective approach to what worked and what didn’t along with the reasons within. The key here is simple – Be honest with yourself. One very important point to keep in mind is that success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm, this is how champions are made and how success is achieved.
Here are 5 simple questions that will help when making these judgments:
Being clear and specific in a goal is the best way to avoid any ‘grey’ areas when evaluating whether you achieved your goal or not. An example of this would be ‘I want to climb better’ but a specific target would be ‘I want to break my pb on my local mountain/hill by 2min’ and then next item that needs to be detailed is ‘how do I do this and what do I need to work on?’
Did you achieve what you set out to do at the start of the year? Knowing what you know now could you have aimed higher? Or were you somewhat unrealistic in your expectations of your goals and your ability to achieve them?
If this year saw you not achieve all that was set out please do not worry about this, we expect everyone to have failed in some part of their planned objectives. If you find you achieved every goal set out you might find your aims were set too low for your ability at the start. Aiming high is a trait of all motivated sports people and nothing would be accomplished without it. Do not be discouraged by this, try to understand the reasons you did not achieve your goal, areas to look at would include:
The key is to be clear about why you came up short so you can use this information to effectively plan for the upcoming season.
When looking at physical performances we look at all the areas of ability and what is needed to maximise this, i.e. becoming a better sprinter requires a specific anaerobic ability and short term maximal power, competing in long sportives requires a good strong ability and endurance. Assess at what lowered your performances and be careful to make your evaluation as specific as possible. Perhaps you did not achieve your goal because you did not focus on the specific areas needed to reach your objective or perhaps lack of confidence/motivation was a factor? Be honest with yourself to make this a worthwhile exercise.
We have all gone through good and bad days, each race/event can be very different, but what you learn from each can make all the difference the next time around. Despite the ups and downs what valuable lessons did you learn? What are the necessary steps to make sure you don’t make the same wrong decisions again?
The overall objective is to learn from this year constructively and put in place what is needed to make it a better all-round performance next season. You have to ask yourself what extra help I need? In what area of performance do I need extra help so I don’t fail to make my objectives next season? Is it coaching? Nutrition? Strength and conditioning? Injury prevention? Sports testing?
It is critical you do this properly and ask for help from a friend or experienced athlete or your coach to make the right decisions. Set your goal’s clearly for next year and focus on that along with all the different aspect’s and details needed to reach your target.
Good luck with your next goal.