Your goals ultimately drive the training program you will create for yourself. So what are your goals? What do you want to achieve this year, next year, and beyond?
You’re here right now because there’s a race or adventure on the horizon that you’ve decided to target. And to set yourself up for success, you know you need to put in some training between now and then. You need a training plan to help you prepare.
The first step to creating your training plan is to define those goals on the horizon. Your goals might include a race, an organized event, a personal adventure, or even a non-competitive performance objective.
Take a moment to look ahead and prioritize the pursuits you want to target. These are the races, events, or adventures that you will build your training program around. What is your top priority? What are other important, but not necessarily top priorities?
Create a list of your priorities and label them A-priority, B-priority, and C-priority using these guidelines:
A-priority: These are the most important races of your season (usually 1-3 events). You will design your training program around the top-priority event(s) to help you arrive in peak form. If you have more than one A-priority event, these will ideally either occur together within a time period of two to three weeks or be separated by a few months or more.
B-priority: These are races of lesser importance. You still want to do well at them and you will work a few extra days of rest into your training plan so you can be competitive, but you won’t go into them in peak form as you would with your A-priority events.
C-priority: These are events that you will “train through,” working them into your regular training schedule. They will be done as field tests or hard workouts, maybe to gain experience, to have fun, or to enjoy the camaraderie of an organized group event. Deciding whether or not to do one of these races may be left up to the week (or day) of the event, taking into account a variety of factors relevant to your training at that point.
Once you’ve completed this prioritization exercise, you will have a high-level view of where you want to go. With those end destinations in mind, the next step is to work backwards to create your training plan.
For more guidance on the goal setting process, see the “Guide to Goal Setting & Mental Skills Training.”