I’m super excited right now as I think about the upcoming races in the PACX series. We are about to hit 6 full weeks of cyclocross racing at some very good venues. Around this time I feel euphoric and a little nervous about my preseason preparation. I wondered if I’ve done a good job building my training plan or if I’ve overdone it a bit. Right about now, I find a little extra time in my schedule as I reduce my volume and increase my workout intensities. I’ve never mastered this elusive “Peak” I’ve read so much about. Usually, my idea of a peak is googling the words “Cyclocross Peak” and then seeing if I can find something that I understand. I’ve never succeeded but maybe this year will be different.
This year I took a three week break from bicycling over the summer. It was a good decision because I was hungry to train when I returned to cycling at the beginning of July. I burned out a bit last year and I feel much better this October than I did last October. If you know how to read a Performance Management Chart (PMC), I attached mine below.
This is how I like measuring my training load now so I don’t burn myself out like I used to do. The blue line is CTL, pink line is ATL, red bars represent TSB, black stars are my 20 minute power with the top six highlighted. As you can see, I’ve steadily lifted my CTL with blocks of training. My power has been on the rise throughout with my highest 20 minute power of 316 watts recorded right after this last rest period. I have also made sure that my rest weeks have been truly restful. When I uploaded previous seasons on Golden Cheetah (the software that makes this chart), my biggest mistake was never fully recovering in a rest week.
The cyclocross race season is about to be full gas here soon and I’m hopeful. The most important part of my training is that I’ve been consistent in my training. Consistency is crucial. Hitting your key workouts every week is crucial. Getting rest when your legs feel hammered is so important. No wonder people hire coaches to tell them what to do.
As I head into these next 6 weeks I will be keeping my intensity but dropping my volume. Volume really saps my legs and I can’t seem to combine volume and intensity without burning my legs out quickly. I am hoping to make the PA Cyclocross Championship this year in good form. I will allow my CTL to drop while I get some recovery in. I was planning on building one more time in December for Cyclocross Nationals in Asheville, NC. However, I noticed the Men’s Masters race is on a Wednesday. That’s going to be nearly impossible for me to attend which is a real bummer. I guess I can hope to make Connecticut next year. This year I’m just doing the PACX races but next year I’m hoping to travel to some of the bigger races in the northeast.
Have a good time, enjoy your health and the ability to get out and race; most of all, when the weather turns bad… embrace the suck!