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A Cyclist’s Guide to Setting and Obtaining Goals for Racing

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Just like any goal in life, the more focused you are on obtaining the goal, the more likely the goal is to be obtained. Cycling is a special type of endurance sport which takes laser focused training to reach your goals and compete with the fastest in your category.

The first step to obtaining a goal is to set the goal. Goals must be measurable. In cycling this is easy because many have blazed a trail that we only need to follow. The data of many racers have been crunched over the years and a chart by racing category of the racers power profiles have been summarized and are available to the public. With this data we can figure out what our power in watts should be to compete in a specific category.  For example: according to this popular Power to Weight Calculator → a person that weighs 140 pounds should be able to produce 330 watts for 5 minutes if they want to race against cat 2 riders. Since I race in Masters which sometimes has cat 2 riders and I weigh 140 pounds, this is my target for 5 minute power. This is a 5.20 power to weight ratio. 330w/63.5kg.

Now that I have my goal set it is time for the laser focused training. I know I need to average 330 watts for 5 minutes to reach my primary goal right now so I focus my laser on this one goal. I figured out real quick that this is a tall order for me. The first attempt at 330 watts was not very impressive. 330 watts for 5 minutes seemed like an impossible mountain to climb at the time. Jed said for me not to worry and that he would get me there. After the initial assessment Jed backed me up a little and started me out with 300 watts for 30 seconds. Then 300 watts for 1 minute with a 5 minute rest between 4 sets. Jed then graduated me to 330 watts for one minute with 4 sets. Then 4 sets at 330 watts for 2 minutes with 5 minute recoveries. Jed continues to work me up this ladder of power taking one step at a time. Now that I am at 330 watts, I will continue to increase the time at 330 watts and decrease the rest time between sets. This is all done with one goal in mind.

Jed explains that it is like lifting weights. If your goal is to lift 330 pounds 5 times, you would start by lifting it once. You would recuperate then lift the 330 pounds twice. You would continue this until you could lift it 5 times.

Jed cycles my training in 4 week growth periods. I do not know what he sees by looking at my workouts, but he will tell me when to expect growth. I saw a nice increase in power the last time he told me that I should see results.

About the Author

Alex HabbitI am a Perfect Endurance cyclist that trains around the Lafayette, LA area. I also race the LAMBRA circuit.View all posts by Alex Habbit →

  1. Alex HabbitAlex Habbit07-31-2012

    I once heard Dave Ramsey say “Aim for nothing and you will hit it every time.”

  2. Alex HabbitAlex Habbit07-31-2012

    Every year I started by attempting to set goals for myself. I would think about it for a while, ask other riders.then,kind of give up and set a generic goal that is not measurable. Thanks to Jed I now know how to set goals.

  3. Mark WienekeMark Wieneke07-31-2012

    Nice job Alex – very informative and well written.

  4. Alex HabbitAlex Habbit08-14-2012

    Thanks Mark. I am glad you liked the article. Hope to ride with you soon.

  5. Alex HabbitAlex Habbit01-25-2013

    It is that time of the year again when I need to refocus my cycling training.

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I believe that man will not merely endure. He will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.