The yearly training plan (YTP): What is it and why is it important to help you become a better athlete.
We’ve been talking lots about the weeks after a goal race, which typically aligns with the transition from fall to winter, as the time of the year when many of you are in a transition phase. Now is the time to digest all the hard work you’ve put in over the last few months, rest and make a plan to rebuild.
One of our suggestions during this time was to sit down with your coach, set some goals and plan out the year, or at least the season ahead. Your goal race for the season should be the starting point for the yearly training plan. You should work backwards from there to develop a plan of attack. If you haven’t nailed down that goal race for the spring season, here are few races we love and would suggest checking out.
East of the Rockies:
South of the Border:
Your YTP is not going to contain the details of every single day’s training for the entire year. Instead it’s a template that outlines different phases of training throughout the year. The focus of your training during a particular phase will depend on your racing schedule and your goals. This is important from a physiological point of view so that we can plan proper periodization into your training. You can’t go to the track every week and hammer out a set of intervals all year long and expect to continue to improve exponentially. Do this, and you’ll hit plateaus throughout the year. To avoid this, it’s important to plan those peaks and valleys out ahead of time.
A YTP is also a great way to avoid burnout or a sudden lack of motivation midway through the year. For example, knowing why you are going to spend several weeks in a base phase; building your volume, while keeping the workouts less intense, is important. If you hammer those workouts but don’t get in the volume intended it might hinder your ability to execute the training later in the year.
We all love racing. For many of us, that’s why we run. But planning your running week to week or even month to month, based on what the next race is on the local race calendar isn’t going to help you become faster season after season. But you’ll miss out on some important phases of your overall training plan and inevitably stop improving. Your YTP will set you up for success so that you don’t just train from race to race. Along those same lines, the YTP is important to help you know which races on your schedule are peak races and which are just part of the training process and a stepping stone to that peak race. Understanding this can help prevent too many peaks and valleys in your emotions throughout a season.
So grab your coach, a coffee, a calendar and a pen and get to work on your YTP. If you’re not currently working with a coach, our team is always happy to help.