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Change in Training

01 Dec 2007

It very often happens that a cyclist, amateur or professional, has shown me the training schedules assigned by his DS, manager or coach, and with surprise, I recognized them as belonging to me, only going back 10-15 years. 
Sometimes proposed with minor changes, more often simply photocopied. 
Upon investigation, the rider often reveals that they are the same for all team members, and that those who have suggested them is doing so for years, always the same. 

Usually it is one of my former riders/athletes that keeps the schedules, who in the meantime has become DS or manager, or it is a coach who received them long ago by a client of mine. 

There is nothing wrong with (photo)copying training schedules, indeed I must say that it flatters me a little... 
But at least there are two things to criticize in this behavior. 

The first is represented by the fact that all (or almost all) of the components of that team is being proposed the same training pattern. 
The second, equally serious, is that the same program is offered, always the same, in subsequent seasons. 

Regarding the first criticism there is little comment: it is unlikely that the same preparation fits all, climbers, long distance riders, sprinters, fat, skinny, strong and less strong. 
A training program should be personal and customized according to the needs of the athlete, which the proponents of the training schedules should be able to recognize. 
It is also necessary to modulate, shape, review and modify (when most needed) the direction of the training program depending on the response of the athlete, who is followed and evaluated frequently in his response to the work. 
It's all up to the experience, knowledge and sensitivity of the coach to recognize with humility and prudence possible errors and suggest the right changes: in this sense, coaching is more an art than a science. 

Regarding the second point of criticism, the experience of 30 years working with high level athletes has taught me that for the training to be effective, it must be modulated, i.e. it must propose different stimuli. 
It should be modulated with regards to each training session, with the quality of the work, the intensity and the cadence. 
It should be modulated with regards to the microcycle, the macrocycle and the whole season over successive years, in the respective periods of preparation or competitions. 
Repeating the same exercise year after year copying a table, it is never the best choice, because the athlete, in his evolution, is always different within time frames. 

With the evolution of the athlete, change your training. 
But also change your training so to improve the athlete.

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