For some, the fall marks the end of the season and the start of something we call the offseason. While this might vary in time of year or by where you live, typically we do have some kind of break between one set of races and the next.
In this time period, no matter whether it is weeks or months, we should always review the previous season so that we can make improvements on the next one. We train and race because we enjoy it, so time spent reviewing what went well and what didn’t is important to help keep it fun.
I find it useful to review the positives followed by the lessons learned/areas for improvement.
While faster race results are one component of a good season, there is a lot more to it than that. Go back through your race results and race reports and check for the excitement that you wrote down. Feelings are positives!
Next, did you set any PRs, or race a new distance or discipline? Did your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) or pace improve, or maybe you found it easier to stay near your threshold for longer? Did you improve technique, stay injury free, or just do some cool things?
It might be a good idea to keep a running list of these larger scale positives that you can add to all season, so when this time of year comes along, you can see everything that went well in one look, and also see the positives across multiple seasons.
Now you know what went well, so now you need to figure out how to make things better.
Personally, after each race I use a race report template, which has a section called lessons learned in order to write down what didn’t go so well. Writing these lessons down will help you to determine what you can improve upon so that you don’t make the same mistake twice. Going back through these are great to find positives as well since you can also find what you were able to fix during the season.
For the season review, go through this same process, just with your season. You probably had a handful of big goals (three is a good number). Did you meet these goals? Why or why not? Be honest with yourself when answering. Digging into the “why” can help to shed light on some things that might be holding you back from meeting your goals. Here are some types of questions you might ask yourself in addition to reviewing the big goals:
- Did you train as much as you wanted?
- Did you train too much or too little?
- Were you consistent in your training?
- Did you give good and appropriate feedback to your coach?
- How well did you adapt when life threw you curveballs?
- Did you respect the recovery you needed?
- Did you take care of the other things in your life (recovery, family, work, etc)?
From the data side, the Performance Management Chart is a great tool to see what might have helped you do well or not as well as you would have liked. What was your CTL and TSB for your key races? If you performed well, then that might be a good number for you to keep shooting for.
Obviously, a season review can consist of spreadsheets with performance goals and outcomes, benchmark test results, and all sorts of metrics that we track in TrainingPeaks. But you get a better look if you remember to review the entire picture of our training and racing experiences.