And so a new year has begun! I have plenty of big race goals to tackle this year, but to achieve them I have to hit some solid training goals first.
Looking at my training last year, the key themes for me to improve on have been volume and consistency. Pretty basic stuff, but its important stuff to acknowledge and consciously work on. My best form last year was clearly correlated with my highest volume training months, so the proof is here for me - I just need to get out there and do it!
In the past, my goals have been expressed purely in mileage/distance terms. This year, I'll be doing it a bit differently and also giving myself some time goals as well. Both are important, plus the time metric will take some pressure off the mad scramble for distance I sometimes have at the end of a month.
So, what are the goals for this year?
365 hours of training, and 6000km on the bike.
365 hours works out to an average of 1 hour/day. If I can achieve that, the rest really will take care of itself! Its a significant jump on previous years, but if I'm going to start approaching my potential on the bike then I'm going to have to spend more time with my bum in the saddle...
25 hours of training, and 500km on the bike.
My biggest training months last year were just over 20 hours, so I will need to build up to doing 30+ hours per month. But as a minimum, I want to hit at least 25 hours by the time the end-of-month rolls around. This also gives me a little flexibility in terms of having easier vs big months depending on what racing is coming up, plus a little leeway if weather or illness knocks out a week here and there.
If I was an elite cyclist, then running would have no place here. But as a middle-aged guy who is training for racing and general health, then I think running has a useful place in my schedule. There is plenty of evidence on the importance of weight-bearing exercise for the 'mature gentleman'. Also I believe that at the recreational athlete level (where I am at), there are benefits to be had by 'cross-training'.
I'm not a natural runner but I'll persist with this for the first few months of the year at least and see how I go with it...
I'm not getting any more 'micro' with my training goals than that. I know from experience that if I get too caught up with weekly or shorter term mileage/time goals, then I feel too pressured and I lose some of the 'fun' aspects of training. And personally, I train (and race) because I want to, not because I have to - and I don't want that to change! So in terms of training volume, then these broad macro goals are the only key goals I'll be looking to achieve.
Of course, how I'm going to achieve them is another question. So the next post in this start-of-year goal-setting series will be about my training structure for 2013...