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4 Steps to Achieving Your New Year Goals

BY Matti Rowe

Ready to sign up for your 2024 races? Here are four practical steps you can take to make your dreams achievable.

2024 is finally here, and I’m willing to bet you’re already dreaming about the big events you’ll enter in the new year. If so, great! Dream big and put together a racing calendar that’s exciting and even a little scary.  

If you haven’t started dreaming yet, get to it! The racing season isn’t as far away as you think. Signing up for an event doesn’t guarantee you’ll get fit for it, but once the money for registration has left your bank account, you book the hotels, and you tell all your friends, it’s much harder to back out. Now you’re committed! So what’s the best way to get fit for a race so you can achieve your 2024 goals?

Step 1: Get a Plan

Sure, you could just train when you feel like it and hope for the best. But if you’re like the other 99% of athletes, you have a busy life and obligations outside of endurance training, so time is a precious commodity. If you don’t use time well, it’ll get away from you — which is why structure and guidance are so important in your training process. 

Training Plans

A structured training plan, for example, takes all the guesswork out of the training process by organizing your workouts and training progression for you so that your potential fitness gains are maximized. It’s also a very economical way to train, and if you find a plan you really like, you can reuse it. Structured workouts from your plan can be exported to your fitness device, making workouts easy to complete based on your heart rate or power zones.


While training plans are great, if you really want to show up to your event and turn some heads, you’ll need a coach. With a coach in your corner, you’ll get a plan tailored to your life and the expert instruction you need to perform your workouts properly. It may seem insignificant, but having a coach in your corner to plan, analyze, and track your training and performance — not to mention having someone to talk to through the rigors of the training process — can make all the difference in your performance.

Step 2: Analyze Your Training Progress

No matter how well conceived, plans are only half of the training process. Your performance, in response to your workouts, is the crucial, final piece that will tell you if your training is working properly and whether you’re on track to show up to your event fit to race. 

To answer that question, TrainingPeaks offers a suite of analytics and metrics to take the guesswork out of figuring out if you’re getting faster or not.

  • Use the Performance Management Chart to know whether you’re balancing the correct amount of training load with rest. 
  • Add and configure Dashboard charts to monitor your fitness trends and metrics. 
  • Use Peak Performances to quickly identify how your bests are trending over time. 
  • StackUp helps you see how your bests compare to the competition. 

With these tools, you’ll see if your training is working in real-time.

Step 3: Practice Healthy Habits

The training process is about more than workouts and metrics. You have your own sport-specific or lifestyle limiters that you can only change by adjusting your habits. For some, it’s remembering not to forget to eat during hard training. For others, it’s leaving their cell phone outside their bedroom so that their sleep improves. 

Whatever you need to work on personally, use the TrainingPeaks Goal feature to remind you to stretch, do your core workout, eat a vegetable, or reinforce any habit that makes a big difference in the long run. 

Step 4: Keep Adapting When Things Don’t Go to Plan

Lastly, while many may have forgotten, athletes kept training logs long before the internet and fancy devices because they wanted a historical record to look back on to see what was working and what wasn’t.

Now, you can do that right in your TrainingPeaks calendar using the Note feature. Write a summary of what went well and badly every week. Finish your Note with adjustments you’ll make and what you’ll focus on for the next week. It might feel silly, but reflecting on the training process improves the training process and leads to faster progress.

I’ll save you the suspense — your training plan isn’t going to go perfectly. No plan does. The great thing is that it doesn’t matter. Use all your feedback mechanisms available in TrainingPeaks — including dashboard charts, metrics, Peak Performances, and the Performance Management Chart — together with your coach or training plan to adjust to whatever life (or your body) throws at you. Remember that great performance doesn’t require perfect preparation; more often, intelligent adjustments in the face of setbacks make the difference.

Finally, don’t forget to have fun. As my first coach once said, “Happy athletes are fast athletes.” No matter how data-driven you are, there’s more to you than your CTL or FTP. You’re human, so make sure your training includes friends, novelty, and adventure. Sure, getting fit makes racing more fun, but arguably the greatest benefit of fitness is the memories you can create with your buddies on absurd training days. 

Good luck with your training and racing in 2024!

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About Matti Rowe

Matti Rowe is an Education Specialist on the TrainingPeaks Coach Education Team and the owner of Gravel God Cycling . When he’s not racing his bike on the pavement (people still do!) or gravel he spends his time trying to teach his children Norwegian.

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