This staying motivated for late season MTB racing article was written for my column on mtbracenews.com
Coach Lynda Wallenfels is Cat 1 USA Cycling coach and owner of LWCoaching.com
Athlete question: “The race season seems to be getting longer and longer, what are some good things to do to keep fresh and motivated for the entire season?”
Answer: Keeping it fresh is important when you have a long season scheduled. The best way to achieve this is to periodize your season or in other words split it up into segments or periods with specific time spans and unique goals to achieve. Each period should have a different focus which builds upon the prior one. Planning out your race season and working along a periodized training plan avoids the staleness and burnout that comes from doing the same type of training every week.
Most athletes start the season with enough energy and mojo to see themselves through to the middle of their race season before motivation starts to wane. Smart race scheduling early can prevent a mid-season slump. Spread out your early season races to allow for recovery weeks and a mental break from racing. The demands of travelling every weekend to a race can be wearing. Plan rejuvenating weekends with no travel into your schedule.
About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down. In the second half of the season, spread intensity training sessions and races further apart to allow for appropriate recovery. Without this extra recovery, athletes will enter intensity training sessions and races still tired and will underperform. Most type “A” athletes (that would be all of us right?) lean in and train harder when they perceive performance slipping into a mid-season slump, whereas the correct response is to add more recovery time.
An important time to add a deep recovery week is following your first peak race of the year. Coming off a peak race where you nailed your goals can be a tough time to back down the training while you are riding the post-race achievement euphoria. It is all too common to feel fantastic for 2-3 days after your peak race and rush out to grab some Strava KOM’s. You might then discover on Thursday that you are really systemically tired and have put yourself into an over-training hole, guaranteeing a mid-season slump.
Mid-season is the time to step-up your recovery routine and general wellness habits. Ensure you are doing your best to recover quickly from every workout and race by using these Tools to Speed Recovery
Staying motivated is directly tied into staying healthy and high energy. The top two things you can do to stay healthy and high energy throughout the season are:
- Eat a nutrient dense diet with whole foods, lean protein sources and many fruits and vegetables.
- Sleep 8+ hours per night.
Finally, one of the best secrets to staying fresh and keeping motivation high all season long is to have fun. If you love what you are doing and are having fun with it, motivation is rarely a limiter.
By Lynda Wallenfels Google+