5 Tips for Planning a Winning Athletic Season

pain free athlete planning racing the pain free athlete training Nov 25, 2013

It's never too early to start planning for your next athletic season. Sometimes it takes years to build up the fitness for an event. You also need long range planning in order to peak for an important competition.

As a coach, I help athletes develop a realistic season calendar. Here's what I usually find. With great enthusiasm and high expectations, athletes schedule nearly every weekend from April to August with an organized event. Although racing can be great training, constantly being on the road and pushing your limits takes a mental, physical and emotional toll that can lead to burnout by June.

Instead, you need to plan time for rest and recovery. You also need to be selective of the events you choose. Often a good training session at home is the most beneficial. You want to go into the races rested, full of confidence, and hungry to go hard and do your best. You should not be tired and dreading the next event. Most of us race for ourselves. No one pays us. Instead, we pay for the opportunity to test our skills. Since we devote our free time and energy to our sport, it should be fun. Don't make it into a job! Then all the joy will be lost.

Tips for planning a winning season:

  1. Determine your one or two peak competitions for the year, preferably within weeks of each other or months apart.
  2. Select lead-up races based on the demands of those events.
  3. Plan to stay home at least one weekend every month, preferably two.
  4. Schedule three days to a week away from your sport in the middle of the season to allow full physical, emotional and mental recovery.
  5. Beware of the race series – know the rules and select events accordingly. Generally, many more races are scheduled than will count for the overall title. It is easy to fall into the cycle of constant racing, which can undermine top performance.

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