The competition and training balance

So I was speaking to Lurky this morning.

Lurky being the infamous Sean Mc Kenna of course who rides for An post.

Sean has raced every 1.5 days this year on average!

So the there is essentially no balance if this was a seesaw – it would be like having former Irish minister of health Mary Harney on one side and Nairo Quintana on the other.

So it got me thinking about a topic that will certainly come up with more of you as the racing season progresses.

We have now entered the part of year when many riders turn their focus to racing each week – sometimes multiple times.

The rewards of your pre- season training up to this point has hopefully started to show and the initial racing brings you up another notch

But with the race recover race again nature of the cycling season how do you continue to train during and maintain your overall progression?

It is a real balancing act and to be quite frank it all comes down to planning towards a key goal or you’re ‘A’ event, you can’t be motoring every weekend all year.

You have to make sacrifices.

Mc Kenna dominated the domestic scene almost every week in Ireland 2 years ago but still had better form in parts of the season than others he just continued winning because his ‘off form’ was still pretty damn good in comparison to his peers.

Even if he is a tosser.

Many times we see riders start the season motoring and showing visible signs of improvement from the previous year only to see these gains and form disappear before summer!

Why ? Too much racing – not enough training.

There can be tonnes of reasons why riders think this is happening, some believe they can be ‘over trained’ due to their pre season being too hard and simply unable to hold that form. 

Often this is isn’t the case and more often down to factors less apparent to the untrained eye.



The common drop off in form is most often a result of de-training once the race season gets underway. 

When the race season starts, your whole week is mapped around the the weekends racing.

While this is necessary – there still has to be an overall goal or focus with your mid week training.

An example of this is a typical race week, the lead up and recovery:

  • Friday is an easy day or complete day off.
  • Saturday is an easy pre race spin of a couple of hours.
  • Sunday is a race.
  • Monday is another rest day.

So from a four-day period you only have one stressor – not really that much is it!

I spoke to a client yesterday who blew a tub and pulled out of the race when he couldn’t get a wheel on Sunday…

This is where detraining can seep into your programme so you need to be aware and make amends!

Racing into form

Then you have the other side of the proverbial fence.

The riders who are under trained going into the start of the season. 

The lads that want to ‘race themselves into form’.

The ability to recover from a weekend of racing has a significant impact on how much training and the subsequent quality of that training the week after.

A hard race for someone who’s unfit may leave you unable to train for two or three days – but if you’re recovering well you should be good to good after a day depending on the severity of the race.

So if you’re very much undercooked – getting any worthy specific work done during the week becomes hard as your body ‘repairs the damage’ from the racing. 

As a coach I have to advise against the race yourself fit method, it will bring you on that’s fine, but the risks of injury and illness just aren’t worth it.

You will also get caught out eventually without having a decent foundation of work laid down.

Round up

Mid week training is super important don’t loose sight of that or you could loose sight of those good legs you trained hard all winter for.

Keep those targets you have in mind realise you won’t be motoring every weekend and keep with the programme!


Aaron Buggle


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