Friday, August 24, 2012

How to Customize your Own Training Plan for Optimal Performance

To each his own, for everyone’s body responds optimally to different volumes, and different intensities.  For endurance training, having a customized training plan is an absolute must.  Unfortunately, not everyone can afford or has access to endurance coaching.  The following rules are guidelines to creating your own customized training plan. 

MCT Triathlon Customized Experienced Triathlon Coaching High Performance USA Triathlon USAT
Finish Line of Age-Group Nationals!

Rule #1 – Know Your Goals!
Know your goals, and have a vision.  You need to take the time to sit down and map out your previous race performances and benchmarks.  From these benchmarks, set your seasonal goals and aspirations.  After you have a good set of seasonal goals, look to your training cycles.  You need to set, not only seasonal, but short term goals as well.  The combination of long term and short term goals allows for an overall vision to be crafted.  Take the time, rack your brain, and see your vision!

Rule #2 – Know your Objectives!
Just knowing your goals is not enough, for you’ll need guidelines to achieve each one of those goals.  Writing down a set of two to three objectives for each goal will allow for you to achieve the highest performance. 

Short Term Goal :
  • ·       Swim 45 seconds faster this year than last year at same race.
Objective :
  • ·       Swim 15% more volume (on average) during training
  • ·       Incorporate two more efficiency drills into every session
  • ·       Increase overall body strength by 12%

Rule #3 – Reach for the moon, Not for the Stars!
Mankind has set foot on the moon, but he has yet to reach the nearest, distant star.  Using the same concept, look over your own goals and objectives and make sure that they are realistic.  Is it POSSIBLE that you can you achieve them this season.  Use the SMART method to analyze your Goals and Objectives.
  • ·       S – Specific
  • ·       M – Measurable
  • ·       A – Achievable  
  • ·       R - Realistic
  • ·       T – Timely

Rule #4 – Schedule Rest AND Recovery!
Rest and recovery is a severely neglected part of most training plans out there today.  Try to schedule at least one recovery aspect for every two workouts scheduled (Ratio 1:2).  If possible you may strive for a ratio of 1:1.  Below is a list of recovery techniques to include in your plan.  Just remember as your hard workouts get harder, your easier ones should get easier. 
  • Ice Bath
  • Compression Equipment (socks)
  • Self-Massage
  • Full Body Stretching
  • Contrast Hydrotherapy (Hot tub 5 minutes, Cool Tub 3 minutes, repeat)
  • Breathing Exercise Routine
  • Rest Day

Rule #5 – Make a Plan, but Don’t be Made by that Plan
Plan your year into cycles.  Your schedule should gradually increase in intensity and decrease in volume as the months progress.  Write down your anticipated training volumes and pacing zones for the months and weeks to come.  As time advances, you are going to have to revisit your training volumes and pacing zones to re-evaluate whether they are still on the same performance path.  It is extremely important to have a plan to follow, but don’t be stubborn not to deviate from the plan when change arises.  Listen to your body! (Rule #5½!)

On a Side Note: I would like to give my regards to Lance Armstrong who was stripped of his 7-Tour-de-France Titles.  Regardless is he cheated or not, he is an incredible athlete who has helped progress mankind in not only sports, but in all inspirations of life. 

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1 comment:

  1. Hello Matthew,
    Just a quick message to ask if you would be interested in a ‘mutual’ following on twitter. I am currently following you now and am awaiting for your follow-back. (#FYI I do RT’s ‘anytime’ for all #Triathletes #Cyclists #UltraRunners #Marathoners #FitnessProfessionals who follow me on Twitter and have something important they want mentioned for support…)

    All the very best 2013 & beyond Matthew. Look forward to hearing from you…