Wow! Here we are in February. Some might be saying ‘already?’, but to those of us in the so called ‘Great White North’ it has already been a long, long winter. We are certainly living up to the ‘white’ description with all the snow. Add the frigid minus 30 degree Celsius temperatures, not including wind chill, and many of us would simply like to hunker down under a blanket in front of the fire and wait it out till Spring.
Each morning as I roll my car out of the garage the clock reading 5:25 am, the external temperature reading minus some double digit (does it really matter once it gets below minus 10?) I see my bike hanging from the garage ceiling. It hangs right over my car, a symbol that despite what it is like right now there is a time in when the roads will not be snow covered and it won’t be so dark and cold.
It is tough to stick with it and find inspiration during the winter months and not just for the class participants but for instructors as well. What keeps me inspired is the challenge of creating an effective periodization program. As an instructor I find thinking about and planning not just one class but a series over a longer period provides both me and my participants a goal which helps keep us on track. This longer term plan helps me approach each class with purpose knowing that it is one piece of a puzzle that will have me ready in a couple of months when the snow is gone and I take my bike down from the garage ceiling. Sharing that plan with my participants helps them stay inspired and come to class even on the coldest mornings.
If you are looking to create a plan for periodization, start by deciding where you would like a group to be after a specific time period. This doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as building or maintaining endurance. Once you have decided on the longer term goal choose the rides that support the goal. The obvious question is ‘Not everyone comes every week so why create a plan that spans weeks?’ True, you don’t always have the same exact group from class to class, but when participants are aware that there is a longer term plan and understand each session is a step towards a specific goal participants adherence tends to increase.
There are lots of great places to get inspiration to keep classes fresh all the while providing a variety of training that supports the longer term goal. One of my favourite resources are the Spinning®Ride books. My copies are a bit dog eared but whenever there is a time when planning a ride that I need an idea I always find something there to draw on. Sometimes it is the profile; sometimes simply the title or description of words used to describe each movement gives my brain a kick start. The books are divided into the 5 Spinning®Energy Zones to make it very easy to pick ones that fit the training goal. The ride books are available on the Spinning®website.
Enjoy your winter training and remember Spring is coming!