Setting Goals For Your Cyclo-Cross Season

It is training Wednesday and today we have another guest post from Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching. Steve has been coaching since 2004, and brings practical experience and a scientific background to his athletes. Steve began racing while attending Dartmouth College, where he studied biology and physiology. In his years of coaching, Steve has helped both amateur and professional athletes acheive their goals, with dozens of wins, medals at National and World Championships, and upgrades to Cat. 1 and 2 in road and mountain, as well as Pro MTB. With experience in road, track, cyclo-cross and mountain bike racing, Steve now focuses on the New England and NRC road season, racing for one of the nation’s top amatuer teams, / Cannondale (formerly Fior di Frutta).

Be sure to visit the Bell Lap Coaching website for information on coaching and training. Steve will be posting regularly on Wednesdays about training and racing – if you have any questions for Steve, let us know.

Writer Peter Drucker is generally credited with the quote, “What gets measured, gets managed.” While this theory is most often applied to business management, the same idea should be applied to your athletic goals throughout the year.

In my last article, I wrote about the importance of setting goals that are specific to your training objectives, race calendar, and resources. Once you’ve set those goals, and drawn up a plan of how to achieve them, it’s important to periodically revisit those goals to assess your progress. I recommend setting aside 30 minutes during your rest week to review your goals, and make any needed changes to your training plan or race calendar at that time.

Consider this scenario: Paul’s season goal is to place in the top ten of the local ‘cross series in half of the series races. In support of that objective, he has outlined several supporting goals:

  • Compete in all 10 of the local series races.
  • Improve bike handling in muddy conditions.
  • Increase repeatable 5-minute power to 300 watts for four intervals.
  • Plan ahead for proper race-day nutrition by bringing plenty of food and water to the venue, helping to save money and lower stress at the races.

In Paul’s case, his goals are fairly easy to measure and assess: has he attended all of the series races held so far? Has he been training in muddy conditions to improve his confidence and handling? Can he average 300 watts over the course of four, five-minute intervals? Has he run out of food at a race or had to spend money where he could have brought food?

Because Paul checks his progress towards his goals every few weeks, he still has time to adjust his training and racing to make sure he’s on track throughout the season.

It’s easy to get caught up in the travel, shorter days, and frequent bike maintenance of ‘cross season, but don’t forget to reassess your progress to your goals. Keeping track of those goals can help you decide where to focus more energy, or affirm that your hard work is helping you move forward in pursuit of your best ‘cross season yet.

To contact Steve, email him or give him a call at  413.376.4880.