Rewind, Review, Reveal: A Simple Guide To Analyze Your Season

As we move through to the end of October, now is the time to look back at your cycling season that has been, look forward to next year, and begin to make a plan to get there.

Rewind, review, reveal. Here's a guide to work through this.

1. Don't Take Yourself So Seriously

Did you ride with a smile on your face? Why not? Okay, I know punching out that 4 minute interval was hard. But at least don't scowl. Let me share with you some advice from an Olympic Gold Medalist:

This past year Lori-Ann Muenzer was watching me sprinting at the Edmonton velodrome. Afterwards, with her usual warm, friendly smile, she came over to speak to me.

"Kevin, when you started your sprint you were holding a grimace on your face. Keep your face as relaxed as possible. When you're punching out a hard effort, you want to put all that energy into your legs."
Staying supple means looking supple too. Soon you'll be spinning speedy circles.

And while recovering from intervals, smile a big, wide, goofy smile. Rejoice that you're one interval closer to finishing your workout, and one interval closer to getting the improvements you've been looking for.

If your training isn't a happy place to be, then why are you there?

2. No, Really, Why Are You Training?

Take a look again at your motivation for training. What goals did you set this past year? You wrote them down, didn't you? If you're a cyclist looking for improvements, you've gotta write down your goals.

I had performance goals that I wrote down. Did I hit them? Yes, some. But I'll let you in on a little secret. I was guilty of not writing down one very important goal: have fun.

I think all of our training, no matter what we're aiming for performance-wise, should ultimately come down to fun. When you are training 10 to 20 hours a week, you've got to have fun inside that process. Winning a race? Sure, that's fun, but it comes at the end of the process. Completing your century ride within your time goal? A complete sense of accomplishment, and you can bask in the glow it gives you. But again, that's at the end of the process.

You must find fun inside the process of training, because you won't always exactly hit the goals you've set for yourself. If you've put all your expectations into reaching those goals, and you don't hit them, you've set yourself up for huge disappointments. And life is just too short for that. Find the fun in just riding your bike.

For next season, start with the goal: to have fun. I'm serious. Write it down. Make a plan to achieve it next year - go back and review step 1.

3. Study At The University of Experience

When something (a race, your training, a goal) doesn't go as planned, examine what you think went wrong. Talk to your team mates. Talk to your spouse. Talk to your best friend. Post questions in the comments section of Bicycling Blogger, or any online cycling forum. Be open to suggestions. Get as much help to analyze the outcome, and learn from the experience. It's only a failure if you haven't learned anything. Be a student of your own University of Experience. Earn a Ph.D. along the way and you'll build self-confidence with the energy of experience.

By the way, apply the same analysis to your successes. What went right? Make a plan to do it again.

4. Remember The Formula

Training + Recovery = Fitness

Go back and read my earlier post about this formula. As you put together your plan for next season, put as much energy into your Recovery as you do your Training. Your Fitness will follow how well you stay on track with both your Training and your Recovery.

Keep smiling. Keep riding. In that order!

If you've got lessons learned from your season, please post them in the comments section so we can all learn from the University of Experience...

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