In a little over a week, 2015 will be history. This is a great time to assess what went well and what didn't in the past year and how you plan on reaching your goals for 2016. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Did you find that you were in good position for the sprint during the crit season but not able to muster the power needed to cross the line first? Were you unable to bridge during breakaways during road races? Was the pace in any of your races simply too fast for you? Did you find that you didn't have the sustained power to be competitive in time trials? What kept you from reaching the podium?
With these and other questions in mind you then ask yourself what type of training did you focus on and how did you progress over the season? What metrics do you use to define progress? Sprint power? Functional Training Power? 20 minute power? Normalized Power over longer rides? Do you have an innate ability to be better at one type of racing? Are you capitalizing on this?
How is your weight and do you know your body fat %? If so, how has it changed? Do you occasionally consult with a sports dietician? Do you know how to fuel before, during and after training and racing?
Do you have a year-round strength training program? Does it incorporate exercises that improve mobility, stability and strength? Do you know what exercises improve each of these and what areas you need to improve?
Do you take enough off days each week? Do you incorporate true recovery rides into your plan? Do your team group rides have training goals? Who sets these and who are they designed to benefit and why?
How many hours per week do you have to train and are you using them effectively? Do you have roads conveniently located that you can use for training? Are you able to train effectively inside?
Are you mentally prepared for your training and racing? Are you confident that you will do your best in both? Are you focused when preparing to train and race? Do you have a pre-race list of gear and food/drinks to take with you? Do you have an effective warmup designed for you and your event?
What are your specific goals for 2016? Are they realistic? What changes do you need to make to your training, fueling, mental preparation, etc. to meet these goals?
The race season will be here soon enough. Training is cumulative over weeks, months and years. A well thought out comprehensive plan is what separates the winners from the rest of the field.