Like an old saying in training world goes: “it never gets easier, you just get faster”. What it means is that we all suffer on our limit to finish a stage and the race but if you prepare better you will conquer stages and finish the race faster and more easily and suffer less. You can decide if you go full speed or stay in your comfort zone. If your fitness is not in line with the demands of the course, you are forced to go in the red zone. With that you are also less safe on technically demanding parts as you spend too much time in the red and struggle to focus when it matters. This combination ends in suffering over 5 days.
With better fitness level you shorten your stage times, experience less fatigue on each stage and as you finish earlier in the day you get more chance to eat and recover for next stage.
WHY TO GET A TRAINING PLAN?
Designing a good training plan and scheduling sufficient rest are two most important factors. Athletes, top level or amateur, find a grand portion of motivation for hard work and success inside (intrinsic motivation). There is no training plan hard enough or pain strong enough to stop our motivation. We would cope with just about anything in our desire for progress that will get us to success. This type of motivation can get us in trouble on our path to the desired level of fitness. With that motivation in our training routine we quickly end up with a hard training session when we should have done as easy one followed by another hard day… You know where that will lead. That kind of unstructured and unwise combination of training loads is not effective, it is a waste of our precious time and just not smart.
Athletes trapped in that kind of a vicious circle make progress in the beginning but soon end up on the same fitness level with lots of problems getting tired when they should be resting for a race.
A good training plan is based
on an analysis of the current condition, pointing out weaknesses, structuring training load and rest and that brings us to making progress. All that is left to do is to train in line with that plan, follow instructions and employ good recovery strategies that will prevent injuries and possible illness that can be a step back in achieving our goals.
It is the coach’s task to make a training plan, analyse its execution and adjust the plan in case of unexpected events. What is most important is the coach’s objective, non-emotionally driven perspective on the entire process. That is a huge difference and advantage in comparison to self-coached athletes.
I can assure you it is worth giving a coach a chance to change your training, from my own twenty-year long experience of a self-coached athlete. Every year I wanted someone to revise my training objectively and make decisions on how to proceed, as I was always over motivated and subjective towards myself, self-pressed with my goals and dreams of good results and prone to overtraining in that motivation.