3:1 or 2:1 - What fits you? Start to make a plan.
We are counting down, and the race is only six months away.
If you don't have a plan about how to approach those months, now's the time to make one.
In this little blog I will try to give some ideas about how to plan out the time between now until race day in August. We'll cover getting started and some thoughts on what to do, and when to do it. These are all key elements in your preparation.
Setting goals and achieving them is based on a plan, one that will keep you structured and help you keep your focus on what you're doing.
Six months might seem like a lot of time, and it actually is. In the next six months you'll sleep somewhere between 180 and 190 times, considering that you sleep every night. You'll eat about 550 times if you eat three times a day, but somehow all this time between sleeping and eating can disappear fast if there is no plan to keep you on track.
So how do you make your own plan?
There are always some factors influencing our time budgets that we cannot or will not change because they are important to us. These could include our jobs, family, and social activities with friends. A good place to start, though, is by trying to listen to your body in training and deciding how much training load you can handle and how much rest you need.
A normal way would be to do a 3:1 rhythm, meaning that you after every third week of training, you take a week of rest. A rest week does not necessary mean that you do absolutely no sport, but the load should be reduced to at least about 50-60% of your normal workoad, and your focus should be a little bit more on your recovery and on some of those things that your normally do not have time for in your training weeks.
Under some circumstances a 2:1 rhythm might be better for you. If you've just started training on a continuous basis, for example, or if you're under a lot of stress at work and often feel tired, a 2:1 rhythm could work for you. Working with a 4:1 rhythm is also an option, at least if you only do it once in while, but more than four weeks between each week of rest is not recommended.
You should of course review and mark down the dates you already know are coming that will force you to change your plan.
You can also plan in weekends where you are able to put more time into your training. Maybe you even have the option to join a training camp, plan your own camp, or take part in a club camp.
Once you have decided on your weekly rhythm, you can start to plan the rhythm of each training unit. Normally you'll have a little more time to train on the weekend, so Saturday and Sunday might be good for more training. In the weekdays shorter units like technique or interval sessions might fit better. A good tip is also to give your body some rest during your load weeks, and here could a 3:1:2:1 structure may fit. It could look like this: A rest day (Monday is often a good day to rest if you use the weekend for a higher volume of training) then three days of shorter units, another rest day and then a two-day block where the volume is a bit higher (this could be your weekend.)
When this is done, it is time to plan the specific training units. How often do I want to train the different disciplines, how long should each session be and in what intensity should I be? Try here to get a good mix of technique, endurance, power and intensity units built into the program in a way that fits you. Beginners often see the best result by focusing on technical units, but this is totally individual.
No matter whether we're talking about your week-by-week rhythm, the weekly structure or the single units, the key is to be honest with yourself. It might look good on paper with many workouts and hard units, but if your body isn't able to handle it or if your time management is causing too much stress, you'll find that you will often need to cut back in the coming months.
So my tip is that it's better to plan with an easier rhythm or one unit less per week rather than needing to change too much. Every time you change your plan, you'll feel like you are missing out or not fulfilling your expectations.
To maintain a rhythm for a longer period of time and not feel in the need to rush your body get to the performance that you need is the safest way to get to the finish line on the Gausta Mountain.
I hope this gives you a start to building up a plan that will ensure you reach your goal -- and hopefully we'll see each other on the finish line in August.