Get ready for goal setting! Now is the time to plan, prepare, and fill out your race calendar for 2024. Start planning your race season and new year’s goals to meet your new year’s resolutions for 2024. Time to commit to the racing season, sign-up for events, book your hotels and peer pressure your training buddies to prepare for the race season 2024.
The last two year’s race seasons were rough for endurance athletes. Races were canceled or postponed—time to plan to train and race again for a good 2024 race season.
Here are five steps to achieving your racing goals for 2024.
Step 1: Set Your Intentions – Plan Ahead
I am sure you have heard Benjamin Franklin’s quote: “By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail.” Winston Churchill agreed and said: “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
Life is busy, and research shows that 80% of people abandon their New Year’s Resolutions but February. Endurance athletes tend to be overachievers. I imagine more than 20% succeed, but success is never guaranteed.
Life and obligations outside of training can make the most of us. You need more than just going on group rides or runs to perform your best.
Having a plan, structure, and guidance is a way to help manage your time and energy to ensure you peak on race day.
A training plan helps you stay motivated and focused by taking the guesswork out of what is required daily.
It takes the guesswork out of the training process. A well-structured plan will ramp you up at a reasonable pace. You can reap the fitness gains and avoid injury.
All of my training programs are structured. Your workouts are imported to most GPS devices. This feature makes it easy to train in the proper heart rate and power zones set for you.
Plans are great, but they need to give you regular feedback, accountability, or program updates. Having a coach to plan your annual training plan, analyze your workouts, track your performance, and also someone to talk to when training gets tough can make the difference in how well you perform on race.
Step 2: Check in Regularly
One of the most beneficial features of TrainingPeaks, the platform I use with my athletes, is the Annual Training Plan. I set goals based on weekly Training Stress Score (TSS) and Targeted Chronic Training Load (CTL) Goals.
Every plan is flawed, even if you follow it perfectly. As a coach, I use TrainingPeaks analytics to see how my athletes are doing. Are they meeting and hitting their TSS goals for each workout at the intensity prescribed?
Are they meeting their weekly and monthly goals? Is there a ramp rate progressive enough to see adaptive changes but not too much where they are open injury or illness? Are their zones set up correctly, so we are know-how hare they are working for where they are now?
Checking in ensures that the athlete and I are on the same page. I understand some of their life challenges that need to fit into training. And the athlete understands the requirements needed to reach their race day goals and aspirations.
Step 3: Lifestyle Goals
You are not a widget and likely not a sponsored pro-athlete with time and resources to train. Life stress can get in the way of reaching our goals.
Lifestyle factors can be anything from saying no to non-essential activities. Practicing good sleep hygiene and getting enough sleep, rest, and recovery,
I am learning to say No to non-essential fun activities (this may just be me) and not stay out too late with friends. Maybe this is just me too. Being a social butterfly has some downsides.
Reducing stress with a gratitude journal or a daily meditation practice. Monitoring your heart rate variability is excellent for this.
Fueling your body well is essential to reaching your racing and training goals. Ditch junk food and stick to real food.
Step 4: Acknowledge Wins and Areas Of Improvement
Most endurance athletes use GPS devices and a platform to record training sessions. Take the time to record how you felt during that training session. Review your notes at the end of the week, month, and quarter.
When reviewing your notes, notice trends. Verify that your workouts go well more often than not. If you see a trend of workouts not going as planned, this indicates that your plan needs to be adjusted.
The goal is to feel good on most workouts and progress in reaching your goals. Pat yourself on the back and acknowledge your success when your plan works.
Step 5: Goals to Step Into Your Success
Setting stretch goals just out of reach is a great way to build self-confidence and set you up for future success in other areas of your life.
Reaching your goals is about the best feel-good, life-affirming plan that I can imagine. I wish you success in 2024.