An effective training plan begins with setting a clear and achievable goal. However, if you don't yet have a specific goal in mind or your goal is still some distance away, it can be challenging to know where to start. In this article, we will discuss how to choose the right goals for your training.
One question we often receive is how long one should train in preparation for an event. The answer is actually quite simple: as long as possible! Consistency is key when it comes to training, and it's important to never stop preparing for your next big goal. While you may see progress from week to week, the most significant improvements come from training consistently over the course of months and years. By building a strong foundation of training and continually working to improve, you will be well-prepared for any event you set your sights on.
If your goal is nine months away, it's important to structure your training plan accordingly. Depending on your current fitness level, you may want to start with a "stamina builder" or "FTP builder" plan if you haven't been exercising regularly. These types of plans are designed to build a strong foundation and can be especially helpful if you're just starting out. If you're already in good shape, you may want to focus on specific areas for improvement, such as "improve on short climbs" or "improve on long climbs." These plans are called "improvement plans" and are meant to target specific weaknesses. After completing an "improvement plan," the next step is typically a "peak plan," which is designed to help you reach your specific goal. If you started with a "build plan," you can either move on to an "improvement plan" or a "peak plan," depending on how much time you have left before your goal. As a general rule, "peak plans" should be between three and five months in length.
Once you have achieved your goal and completed your training plan, you can either start the cycle over again or move on to another "peak plan." However, it's important to be mindful of doing too many "peak plans" in a row, as it can be beneficial to take a short break and start with a "build plan" after a few cycles. No matter what your goal is, it's important to choose your training plan carefully and continue working to improve your performance.