Ythan Cycle Club - Goal Setting / Planning
Tips from Bob Hill - Club Coach


Setting goals and then planning how you will achieve these is the first objective in developing a positive attitude. If you don’t know where you want to go, or how you plan to get there, then you will never arrive.

You should set long term goals and seasons goals and then plan your race season and your training to achieve these.

Long Term Goals

Cycling is a progression and you can expect to make continued improvement over a number of years. Accordingly you should think about what you want to achieve in the longer term and set goals to be achieved within say the next three years.

This can include personal best times for each of the distance you intend to compete in, average BAR speed and relative performances (such as getting a placing in the first five in an open time trial). If you achieve one or more of these in year one then you can reset your long term goals for the next season.

Seasons Goals

This originates at the start of the training year (1st Nov), when you sit down and write cut your goals, for the next year, Setting goals and then planning out how you will achieve the desired performance takes a lot of thought, It is based on what you know you have accomplished in training and racing and what you think you can achieve in the next 12 months.

Set yourself target times for each of the distances in which you intend to compete and calculate your average speed for the BAR, if that is one of your goals, You may not get all the times you want, but may still achieve the BAR speed. Some people will advise not to measure yourself against other competitors, but I believe that you should do so and set yourself a target of being faster than one of your rivals, in at least, say two races, during the season.

I also consider season long goals to be the best for most Time Trialists, as this gives you targets to aim for throughout the competition period, Goals of achieving certain times in specific races can very easily lead to unnecessary disappointment.


It is generally recognised that you cannot achieve your best result in every race, coaches advise that you should only set 4 or 5 best performance targets in a season and build your training around them, This practice will work successfully for the better riders, who are seeking a “placing” in a major race (National or District Championships). Their actual time may not be that great, because of the course or the weather, but their position in the race was what they wanted to achieve.

The majority of Time Trialists set their sights cm a Personal Best Time, which can come in a recognised ‘distance’ event. This result is very dependant on the course and weather conditions on the day, so the most desirable objective is to get yourself racing fit for a specific period when conditions may be favourable. For myself this is in the May/June period, and again around August into September, as I take a non cycling holiday during July.

The longest you can expect to hold form is for about six weeks so you should target on having two such periods, during a normal time trial season, If you do this you will be fit enough to take advantage of a “good day” on a “good course” when such an opportunity arises and may achieve the desired PB,


In addition to the above mentioned season long goals you should set specific targets for each event, You do not need to write these down, but establish in your own mind what you ‘expect to achieve’, in each individual race, The event may be part of a build up, so you can consider it to be a training race and set your target accordingly.


An accepted practice for arranging training schedules is to divide the training year into "PERIODS", and to work to a separate schedule within each. The periods and the work done varies from rider to rider and is dependant on the type of events they want to participate in, the level that they perform at and the motivation which they possess.

A typical annual schedule is as follows:-

RECOVERY PERIOD - during October - steady rides, low intensity. Some riders prefer to get completely off the bike for a time of they have had a particularly heavy season. They should not cease all exercise however but should keep in trim by other activities such as running, swimming, squash.

PREPARATION PERIOD - Nov/Dec and Jan - The traditional method of training was to take it comparatively easy during Nov and Dec and then start proper training in January. Modern thinking is that riders who are serious about their intentions for the new season will start a fairly hard schedule at the start of Nov and will continue their preparation period thro' Dec and Jan.

Training for the first six weeks will consist of steady rides and some running plus weight and circuit training and technique training. Power workouts and long interval sessions can then be introduced about mid to end December using a turbo trainer. The bike must have a computer wired to the rear wheel to give a readout of cadence, which will greatly assist in monitoring performance levels. The combination of cadence and gearing is a more reliable method of setting activity levels than "speed".

The intensity and type of workouts will depend on the type of racing which you intend to participate in and when you wish to "peak" for. Many methods can be used to reach your optimum performance, but the basis of all is a gradual progression using the "overload" method.

PRE-RACE PERIOD - Feb/Mar and April - The steady rides get longer and the pace is faster. Interval sessions are progressively increased in frequency and intensity to give the "overload effect", which will gradually improve your performance. Racing normally starts in March but you should treat these as part of your training and try not to peak too early in the season. Make your best effort in these races but don't place too much importance on the results. Do evaluate your performance and modify your training to suit if necessary.

RACE SEASON - May to Sept - The racing and training pattern will vary greatly from rider to rider depending on how often you want to race OR how often you are capable of racing before your performance begins to suffer. A very fine line exists between being very fit and totally "dead". If you do just too much it may kill your performance. You should take care to ease off if you start to go "over the top".


Apart from the annual training cycle you can have shorter cycles. This may occur if you have just started training or return from injury or want to peak for a certain event. You will need to work out what time you have available – number of weeks and work a programme backwards from the event. The content of the programme will depend on what training you have done already and what your aspirations are.


It is important that you keep a record of all training completed in a diary or record sheet of some kind. Information on the type of training, miles , time, weather and how hard it felt should be noted. This helps in monitoring progress and to check back later to see what worked for you or not. I can provide these on request.







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