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Setting first year goals(14 posts)

Setting first year goalsMichelle
Apr 5, 2001 1:15 PM
I'm a first year CAT 4 racer and am in the process of setting training/racing goals (long term and short). Problem is, I dont really know what kind of goals to set. Would like to hear what kinds of goals you've set to get an idea of what to shoot for (other than win X race in June)

Thanks!
Michelle
Setting GoalsPete
Apr 6, 2001 3:55 AM
As a first year racer do not be to concerned with winning races right off the bat. Think more in the terms of riding goals. How many hours would you like to do this week,month,year? Mileage is a good indicator too, but as you ride longer you will learn that time is more important then hours.
Perhaps you would like to accomplish a century? Or maybe get in 20 hours in one week?
Look at your weak points too. Do you want to improve sprinting? Pick a climb in your area and you can gauge yourself at regular intervals (maybe once a month) by doing a "Time Trial" up the thing to see if your fitness is improving.
The race wins will come if you no ahead of time what you want to accomplish. Don't ever enter a season "blind" No what you want to accomplish for the year. I keep a training diary. I set out my goals every December. This year I am shooting for 650-700 hours of riding. Want to improve my climbing (doesn't everyone) and would also like to improve my Time Trialing.
I hope this helps
-Pete
You need more specific goals.Coach
Apr 9, 2001 2:33 PM
Improve your climbing? What's that mean? Will you be happy if you manage to do a regular climb 1 sec faster than last year? Will you be happy if you improve your 40K TT by 1 second? Those are timid goals. You're practically saying, "My goal is to not go slower than last year."
Your goals need to be
1. more specific If your best 40k TT was 1:05:00, this years goal
could be a 1:00:00 TT.
2. realistic goals-If your best 40k TT was 1:05:00, don't set an
unattainable goal of 45:00.
3. a true challenge-If your best 40k TT was 1:05:00, don't make this
years goal to be a 1:04:00 TT.

If you are training to race and training just for fitness are two very different things. If you are committed to train for a racing season, your goals should be race oriented goals. Pick a specific race to train towards and do well in.
my goalsDuane Gran
Apr 6, 2001 4:40 AM
I'll be glad to share my goals. I'm a Cat 5 just starting in racing, but I read a lot and have a pretty disciplined approach to training. Having a coach on my team helps, and if you can find a coach I recommend you incorporate into your plan. These goals aren't in any particular order yet.


  • Ride a sub hour 40k TT - This is basically 25 miles in under an hour, or you can think of it as riding 25mph (40kmh) for one hour. I do weekly tempo rides (135-150 bpm HR) and I'm at a 20.5 mph average. I think when I get to a 22mph average I should be able to pull this off when the opportunity presents itself. This is how I keep tabs on progress for this goal without burning myself up regularly trying to hit this goal. This approach also helps me to meter my use of intensity.
  • Acheive Cat 3 status by the end of the year - This one might be kind of hard, and it depends on a lot of factors, but I'm going to do about 30 races this year so I hope to pull it off.
  • Have someone in the team win at least one race - Note that I didn't say that I personally intend to win a race. This might be the case, but I consider it a win if I lead out a team member or do some "domestique" task to make it happen.
  • Lower resting heart rate - I would like my RHR to go down to the upper 30s. Right now it is about 45.


I hope this helps, but good logging and record keeping is the key to meeting goals. Also, setting reasonable goals is essential. I'm going to be training about 800-900 hours (16-17 hours a week) this year, but if I only had 5 hours a week I would have to downgrade some of these goals. That is just my personal assessment.

Regarding logging, I can't stress this enough. When you look back over your logs and see your average speed increasing it is a very affirming record of your acheivement. It helps motivate you onward. Probably more important is the ability to see slumps and plateas in past training so that you don't get discouraged when you don't progress in the way you expect.
why set a resting HR goal?climbo
Apr 6, 2001 9:54 AM
i thought that this was very dependent on an individual's make-up. i.e. some pros have very low ones, some not so low, seems strange to try and achieve something like that if your body never will naturally?

More important would be your HR range and LT.
why set a resting HR goal?Duane Gran
Apr 7, 2001 1:10 PM
You bring up a good point. Ideally my goal would involve increasing lactate threshold, but this requires regular fitness testing, whereas the resting heart rate is pretty simple. The latter is a good measure of improved aerobic fitness while LT is a measure of anearobic fitness. I would probably add this as a goal if testing were as convenient.
agreemust_pedal_harder
Apr 7, 2001 5:47 PM
Resting HR is an *okay* marker for yourself to go by, but like you said, some people have very low, and some not so low.

My resting HR right now is mid 50's, if I get up and walk around in a circle, it's bound to jump to 60 or even 70. Thinking about my race and it can jump to 80 sometimes. Despite my high resting HR I can recover from 90% MHR, ~180BPM, to 120 or 130 very, very quickly, maybe under 6 or 7 seconds. I also TT very fast, and when I rebuild myself up to 100% this spring I'll maintain a fairly low average HR during my rides...

Resting HR - go figure
agree, but...Old Guy
Apr 10, 2001 8:01 AM
I think traditionally your resting heart rate is measured the moment you wake up, not when you're at work sitting at your computer. It should be quite a bit lower when you get out of bed.
Disagree about coachPete
Apr 6, 2001 10:54 AM
I disagree about getting a coach. Unless you can do it for free. It seems a little silly to be paying money to someone for something that you may not even stay with in the long run. I think she is doing a decent job here looking for information. Read "Cyclists Training Bible" by Joe Friel. Really informative and gives you a nice base to look at your own strengths and weaknesses.
If she finds out she is talented, and would like to become more involved in the sport, the sure go for it. I think too many people get involved in the whole training,coaching,diet,etc and forget that this is supposed to be fun. Don't lose sight of why you do this sport. Yes you want to train right, eat right, etc. But if you're not enjoying what you do, then you're doomed.
Disagree about coachDuane Gran
Apr 7, 2001 1:18 PM
I think that is fair to pay a coach some money and I wouldn't expect to get sage advice for free. I own and have read Friel's book and it has been very helpful. It helps me to understand the training program that my coach gives me and it has also helped me to describe my strengths and weakeness to my coach, so I don't think one displaces the other. It has been very complimentary.

My coaching experience hasn't been very expensive. I'm sure there are expensive coaches out there, but it has been a good investment in my opinion. I have found it helpful to have someone who knows my training program very well to follow up with me. They can't do it for me, but it seems better than having a master plan in my head. I'm more likely to stick with the program knowing that my coach will be asking me about my progress.

Some might lose track of the fun aspect, but I think that is where goals are helpful. Reaching a target is very satisfying. In the end we are all improving our fitness and quality of life through cycling regardless of how we place. This is a fun result for me.

Lots of stuff that goes with cycling isn't fun though. Intervals aren't fun at all, but it is pretty important in order to excel in races. I guess it comes down to the tradeoff of short term and long term happiness. It helps me to say no to chocolate and various other short term fun things so that I can enjoy the race.
You missed my pointPete
Apr 7, 2001 6:51 PM
I'm not saying a coach is a bad thing. But as a first year racer. I would think that she could invest her time and $ more wisely. Learn if she even likes the sport first. Riding and racing as we all know are two completely different things. I love both, but racing rules my life right now.
I can see Cat 2's and the like utilizing a coach, but a cat 4/5 or even most 3's. Seems a little absurd. When it all boils down to it. Most of us are just "beer league bike racers" like the local softball and hockey teams that all our friends at work do. But as a cyclist it takes a heck of a lot more time, effort, and mental toughness to excel here. There are no kicking back a few cold ones like out baseball buddies.
My main point to our aspiring female racer was to do some reading, set a few personal goals that you don't need a coach for (yearly mileage/hours) and go from there. If she likes it and wants to excel further, by all means, get a coach.
that is what my last statement is saying.
There is no better investment...RobO
Apr 7, 2001 8:32 PM
Of course it is important to find out that you enjoy the sport first. But in my opinion there is no better investment then a coach. The investment of a coach will beat out any upgrade to your bike, or even a new bike period. A coach will have connections that can get you on a team faster then usual which will lead to product discounts, he will have the experience to teach you how to race, not just ride fast, etc.
You missed my pointDuane Gran
Apr 9, 2001 4:13 AM
Pete, I think we would be in agreement that the benefit of a coach increases as your category improves and you become more fit. Some coaching can be wasted on new riders (I'm included in this lot) because we have many fitness issues to settle. I spent my first 6 months getting tons of free advice from good willed people in group rides, but after a while one needs to dig a bit deeper. I can attest to personally reaching a point where I needed more advice and input on my training and riding style than could be gleaned from group ride discussion. A coach filled that niche very well.

I agree with your point about most of us being "bike league racers", but if you know in your heart that you plan to reach an elite level then early coaching seems a wise route. The original poster never said if she planned to just get better or make a run for a national championship, so I should have clarified this position better. My personal use of a coach is to work on technique and mental aspects of racing in tandem with the physical improvements. I could just spend a few years riding without a coach, but then I would feel that I missed out on a chance to work on the mental aspects of the game. So... to clarify my position on coaching, I think it is generally a good thing, but the greatest return on investment for a beginning rider will come about if they have serious intentions for cat 1/2 status.
You shouldn't have any goals...Old Guy
Apr 10, 2001 8:05 AM
I know I'll get slambasted for this (like that word?) but I think if a first-year racer is asking this in April, you shouldn't have any goals. Your objective should be to have fun and pay attention and basically be a sponge for information and the experience.

If at the end of the season you realize racing gets your karma on, you should sit down (with a coach or just Joe Friel) and lay out goals for next year. Your training season will begin in October.