As June approaches and we begin the dog days of summer racing, there are specific elements in training that I look for in my athletes.
First is the advance of overtraining as racing becomes a bigger part of the schedule. Most places in the US have plenty of races going on and it is easy to get in a weekly crit and two races on the weekends. If these efforts aren’t acknowledged within your training plan, it can get into overtraining territory quick. A key part of racing and training at the same time is to understand each race and how it fits within your plan. Having direction around each race is important. (I also include race pace training rides in this category.)
Second is that usually this is the time to fine tune your fitness. Trying to find that last 5% to peak and hit the heart of racing season. This usually involves a reduction in volume, coupled with a focus on high intensity efforts to bring the body up to top speed.
Third is a refinement of skills. By now your cadence should feel smooth and your sprint form should be there. With these high intensity efforts, these can sometimes become loss and they need to be kept up as the season progresses. I always lose my cadence at first and have to remind myself to maintain the focus on skills that I had in the off season as I get into racing.
The fourth item is finding that mental edge and confidence. By now there should be some success in the training/racing that can be built upon as the main season approaches. Racing with confidence and knowing what you are capable is easily as important as having fitness.