October 12, 2021
This article is the first in a new series I’m calling How We Work. Here, I share our process for season planning with our athletes.
This article is the first in a new series I’m calling How We Work. I’ll post these periodically to share how we work with our athletes and run our business. I hope you enjoy these.
When athletes sign up for Coached, we first want to understand their goals and what they hope to achieve.
Most athletes join Coached to improve their performance. Some come to reduce their likelihood of suffering injuries. Some want to lose weight, and others are just looking for structure.
Structured training is essential if you want to make any meaningful long-term progress. Without it, many athletes race too often, progress their training too quickly or don’t get enough rest. The end result is poor performance, injury or illness and usually, a drop in motivation.
Regardless of the goal, we do season planning.
Season planning at Coached is where we discuss and define the big picture objectives. Here, we structure the training cycles and recovery periods that our athletes will follow throughout the year. We also set a testing schedule at this point to determine training zones and track progress.
We use a Google spreadsheet for season planning. Athletes add any races, challenges, or goals into the corresponding week in the season plan template. In the focus column, they set their race priority – A-Race, B-Race or C-Race – so we know how important each race is to them.
A-Races are most important, and we recommend two to three A-Races per year. B-Races are somewhat important, and C-Races are not important and are often used as training.
Athletes can easily add comments to provide additional context and information.
Once the athlete has added their races and goals, a coach reviews it and defines what type of training plans to build and when. We have two types of training plans inside Coached – race and fitness plans. Each comes in a variety of distances.
Our training plans are fully automated, so athletes can quickly create their training plans by answering a series of questions. We’ll talk about this in a future article.
After the athlete has answered the questions, Coached has profiled them, and they have set their schedule and saved their training plan; our coaches review the plan.
Most of the time, the training plan is good to go.
Sometimes, we make manual tweaks. The tweaks to the automated training plan are necessary when a race has unique requirements, like ultrarunning, where the distances and elevation profiles vary considerably between events. If an athlete is racing many back-to-back events, manual changes may also be necessary.
Whenever races are postponed or cancelled (thank you, Covid) or goals change in any way, we revisit the season plan and adjust things. While we don’t like to make sweeping changes once we have set the original plan, this document is fluid, and we do look at it frequently when answering athlete questions or thinking about training strategy.
With goals set and objectives clear, the athlete is now able to execute their training with confidence.