As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve struggled with training programs that were too detailed and regimented. I seldom actually managed to do the prescribed workouts, so I was in a constant state of catch-up and readjustment.

Once I began targeting specific racing goals, I realized that my training program didn’t have to be so complicated. Last year, since my main goal was a time trial, I made sure to get out on the TT bike once a week for a hard, race-pace workout. If I could only ride once in a particular week, that was the ride I’d do. Beyond that, I took whatever threshold-level intensity I could get on solo and group rides. And beyond that, I rode as often as I could, just for the fun of it.

Since I plan on doing a number of crits and road races before this year’s national championships, I’ll do more short, high-intensity intervals than I did last year. The weekly TT ride will still be a priority, but I won’t adhere to it quite as rigidly as I did last year. When I do race, I’ll try to get in breakaways, which of course are a great way to build threshold power.

After Masters Nats, I’ll shift my focus to mountain bike races. My limiter there has always been endurance, and especially leg cramps. Consequently, I’ll do my best to get out for one long ride per week – either 2+ hours on the mountain bike or 3+ hours on the road bike.

Finally, if I still have the motivation, I’ll go back to short, high-intensity training to prepare for the fall cyclocross season. While a ‘cross race couldn’t be much less like a time trial, both require dedicated, race-specific workouts in order to become competitive.

So, the message here is this: once you’ve set your goals, figure out the workout that will most effectively prepare you for your target event. Do that workout at least once a week, and make it count. Having done that, look for ways to incorporate similar, goal-specific work into two or three other training rides that week. If you’re fortunate to be able to ride more still, make sure it’s the adult equivalent of recess, not extra homework.

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