2008 is almost a thing of the past, and 2009 looms large. With under one month until the new year rolls around, now is the perfect time to look at your clean calendar, along with your regional list of events, start planning your eventing year.

Having a good idea of what events you want to participate in is the starting point for developing a sound training program.

The event selection will allow you to:
  1. Develop a general overview of what your long term training plan will look like
  2. Give you a better idea of what sort of time frames you have to work with to implement your training plan.
  3. Determine and budget for the financial commitment associated with training and racing for events.
Let us say that you are wanting to do a road cycling event. You took part in a few this past season, and feel you are ready to raise the bar.

An awesome cycling event held in Washington State is the Seattle to Portland event. This event is a single or 2 day event and covers 200 miles. Just what you had in mind.

This would be considered your "A" race for the year, and all your efforts and training would be directed at this specific event. Ideally, this would be the event that you would be in peak fitness for.

You also need to select some "B" races / events, that might include a couple of century rides in your area. Not only will these events keep your training interesting, and challenge you to take your cycling fitness to the competition. Furthermore, they will also ensure that you have the confidence and skills to ride in larger groups (Pelotons).

Consider these events as training races - a time to see where your conditioning and fitness levels are at. Select events that are easy to get to, that are in line with your training program, and that will assist you to identify areas in your training that are not where they should be.

"C" races could be a regularly scheduled event such as a weekly Criterium series, or perhaps a local time trial series you enjoy doing. They should not be too serious, but should still play an important role in improving your cycling fitness and cycling specific skills.

Perhaps a mountain biking race, or a triathlon, to mix things up a little bit?

These should be built into your training program and considered to be training days. Ensure that these sessions have a specific purpose and a specific goal.

At all times remember that everything you do is directed at your "A" event.

By now you are probably wondering where you will be able to get more information on races and events in your neighborhood?
  1. Start with your local bicycle store, they are always friendly and in-the-know.
  2. Join a cycling club (your National Cycling governing body should have a list of clubs registered in your area).
  3. Use Cycling forums online - I especially like Bike Forums.
  4. Set up your own "Big cycling adventure" - check out Team Average Jo. These guys are leaders in taking eventing to a whole other level.
So now that you have a few events selected and placed into your training calendar, we can start to develop the plan that will get you to your "A" race in the best shape possible - and injury free of course.

Join me next week as I have a look at how to set up your Long term and Periodized training program

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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