Creating a training plan may seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin? Will it be challenging enough? Will it be too hard? Coaches are always in search of the right balance in their plan to keep their athletes motivated yet challenged at the same time. So, where do you begin? One of my most favorite things about coaching is sitting down to an empty calendar and begin to map out a plan. As you can already tell, I don’t get out much.
Depending on how much time you have or how long your sport’s season lasts will dictate the length of your plan. Next you need to figure out where you want your athlete(s) to peak. That’s why you always begin your process at the end of the season / race date and work your way backwards.
Most coaches like to work in peaks and valleys; meaning they will start off with low volume, then gradually increase, followed by a decrease as you get closer to that big day.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve realised the value of recovery. Recovery is something I took for granted as a younger athlete. As a 40 year old athlete preparing for various SUP & Rowing races, recovery is a priority on my calendar just as much as that benchmark workout. Recovery can range anywhere from rest, to yoga, or a walk around the neighborhood.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment – as a coach or as an athlete. Nowadays people are so afraid to fail that they play it safe with their training in the sense they don’t try anything new. They are afraid it will waste time if unsuccessful. Would I give my athletes a heads up if I was trying something new and wasn’t sure how it would go? Of course! It allowed them to be more open with their feedback instead of just going along with what Coach said. If it was productive it was awesome! If it was a flop we would say, “Oh well, at least we checked it out.”
At the advent of each season you want to give your plan a foundation with what has been known to work. Then, build on that foundation with new and exciting methods to keep you motivated through your current season and seasons to come.