Summer is almost over, and it is a great time to check in on how training went in regards to event preparation. Personally, with only a few summer ‘events’ planned, my training involved keeping joints and muscles as happy as they could be, while building up to a very hilly 50k (in June) and another in August.
Hydro training definitely helped with keeping my hamstrings lengthened and strong… and my shallow end work made ankles strong enough to handle 5-7,000 elevation gains and descending. However, I think a bit more work on abdominal strength, particularly while in movement, as well as stability work on the lower legs could have made my trail descending a bit faster and more stable. I say this as I found myself having a few more ankle twists and a left knee twinge due to a weak glute med. This led to dropping down to the 15 miler on my second planned 50k.
A solid reflection is an important part of a training plan; something which is frequently overlooked - no matter the sport. A reflection is where you look at what and how you did, you analyze the good and the bad (on both training and events), breaking them down to the smallest components. This way, you can figure out what you should do differently, or possibly keep, for the upcoming season.
When we don’t do a reflection like this, we tend to only remember the good aspects of our training, our best days. This is nice… but if you don’t ask ‘why’ they were good – you will not know how to repeat it. The same for the bad days. They tend to only be remembered as just that: bad.
By dissecting your training and your racing/events, you can learn more about how your body handled everything from the heat of the day to terrain. In addition, I met many people doing events this summer who expressed that that by race day, they were not in top form. They toed the line feeling sluggish and heavy legged. In your reflection, also take into consideration your views on recovery. Do you embrace recovery days? Or are you of the mindset that you need to train hard every day? If you found you were sluggish; possibly rethink your ideas of recovery.
By making some quick notes about particular courses, whether you are a runner, cyclists, Spartan racer, etc., you can determine what type of training should be added or possibly amended in the future.