So now we have something that looks a little like this:-
BIG HAIRY GOALS
- Ironman Whatsit – PB Time, which would historical give me a top 5 in AG
- 3 Champs – Medal in AG
Less Hairy Goals
- 3 Loughborough – Qualify for 70.3 Champs
- 3 Watopia – 2nd chance to qualify
So we know where we are going, now we need to decide how we will get there.
So we profile performance and examine what it will take to achieve the Big Hairy Goals.
With tools like Best Bike Split it's possible to profile a bike course and examine what power will yield what time. You can also play with changing variable like aerodynamics, weight, temperature etc. Many of the athletes I coach use a Stryd power meter for running and if used correctly these can be very helpful for modelling what will be required on a course. We can also use the data from training to help diagnose areas for improvement usually only possible from a lab test.
Historical results can also be very helpful in working out the sort of times required for a certain result. Of course, these only provide an indication, but they will provide us with a framework to work in.
Once we know what we need to know about the races, we can look at the athlete’s own characteristics: have they been close to the required performance, what is the gap? Do we need to do additional tests to gather enough information?
At this stage, we can use things like a physiology lab assessment to look at fuel utilization rates (how much carb/fat an athlete uses at specific intensities), and of course we will also get accurate current thresholds, VO2max etc (we can cross-reference this with more frequent field tests as we go).
It’s also a good time to have a physio or movement screening; there might not be anything wrong now, but like you send your car for a service to prevent it from going wrong, it’s a good idea to check in and see if you are moving effectively. If not then you have time to sort it out before it becomes an issue, and it might reveal some areas that will enable improvements elsewhere.
As we pull this information in we can also review the past season from a qualitative perspective. For this, we use a relatively simple questionnaire with questions such as:
- What went well this year
- What didn’t go well
- What would you keep doing?
- What would you stop doing?
This information can often be quite revealing and provides a great starting point for more discussion.
We also have other aspects to consider such as nutrition and psychology, as we add more information to the central pot.
We can also add a SWOT analysis here which brings in the external factors that we need to consider, such as time available to train, upcoming house moves or job changes etc that might prevent us from executing the ‘ideal plan’. Life is what it is, and we all have to work around things, but it’s generally a good idea for coach and athlete to be on the same page.