BENEFITS OF POST-RACE AND POST-SEASON ANALYSIS
One way to get the same results, race in and race out, season in and season out, is to continue doing the same thing. While this may be great if you have the perfect race every time, more often than not, there is definite room for improvement. After each race, and then at the end of each season, every athlete should take stock of the things that they did well and the things that they can improve upon.
After every race write down on a 3×5 index card three things you did well and would like to repeat and three things that didn’t go smoothly and you would like to improve upon. Important things to focus on might include:
- Proper pacing (good or bad) – Did I follow my race pacing plan?
- Race Hydration and nutrition – Did I get enough calories and hydration during the race?
- Pre-race Hydration and nutrition – Did I show up to the line ready with no issues?
- Mental focus– Did I let any small “hiccup” derail me mentally?
- Transitions – Were they smooth and quick? Did I have everything laid out correctly and if so, could I repeat it?
When you are done with your index card, make a second copy. One goes into your race bag for you to review before the next race. Use the second copy to discuss a plan with your coach to address the things you would like to improve upon. It is not enough to just “think” about these items. You want a plan to help you address any issues during your next training block.
Similarly, to how you approach post-race analysis, you want to conduct a post-season analysis also. You want to do this reflection while it is still fresh in your mind. It is during this process that you can take notes for next season. If you have a coach it will help the coach tailor your plan to address any weakness and emphasize your strengths from last season.
Important points to consider and make note of might include:
- Was your training consistent? – Take a look at the entire season. What percentage of prescribed workouts did you complete? This can help you set a realistic target for next year.
- Did you race up to your training potential? – If your race times did not match your training predicted times, why not?
- Which sport was your weakest? – Why was it weak, was it a lack of skill or lack of training focus? Answering this question can let you know if it is weak by design or omission.
- Did you race too much or too little? Were you mentally and physically prepared for each race?
- What were your limiters during the race season?
This type of analysis dovetails nicely with setting your next season goals. It allows you to put a framework in place with which to build a plan to achieve success next season.
Many triathletes spend hours training and thinking about training. Spend the little extra time to take stock after your races and your season and you may well see big improvements in the future. As Winston Churchill said, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”
USAT and USATF Certified Coach Bill Ledden views consistency as one of the most important variables in determining success. Doing the hard work of committing to a training plan and communicating regularly with your coach reduces the likelihood of injury, accelerates progress and keeps you motivated. Only by pushing your limits and hitting key targeted workouts, will you make your goals a reality!