Ready, Set, Goal

By Peg Labiuk | 01/25/12
Ready, Set, Goal

Jonathan Devich/

We’ve teamed up with Marilyn Trout, certified USA Cycling Elite Coach to answer Voler Newsletter List members’ training questions. You can view her coach profile at Send your cycling inquiries to Marilyn, and for a limited time, if yours is selected to be answered in our Training column, Voler will send you a $20 gift certificate that can be used towards any purchase from the Voler Store at To submit your inquiry, e-mail her at, and type “Voler Training Question” in the subject line of the e-mail.

The following is a tip by Peg Labiuk (nee Peggy Maass), a colleague of Marilyn Trout, and a certified NCCP level 3 coach with a career in international road and track racing. She is a World Championship medalist, World Record holder, U.S. Olympic Team member, former British national team coach and Kreb's Cycle co-founder (British Columbia, Canada).

If you are thinking about your goals for 2012, here's a process you might consider. Not only will I look at result-oriented goals, but performance in terms of being injury free, advancing technology, technique, and mindset, and prioritizing them with time and money management.

  1. Results oriented – Make sure that this is measurable, not just a placing like "Top 5". In order to win an event, what will it take, what will you have to improve? For myself, I always have to work on climbing, endurance, and last year I didn't do much specific sprint work either. I'll be maintaining my work in low cadence on climbs for building strength, watching that I keep a ride over 70 km every 10 days, and adding a few additional sprints at the finish of rides. Look at your dream goal and evaluate what it will take for you to be able to be top on the day.
  2. Injury free – Check your commitment to supporting your goals with stretching, strength, bike fitting, massage, or other recovery techniques. This year I am working with a physiotherapist to improve my posture, thus breathing, and reducing aches and pains. I record the days I do the extra exercises as if I get "gold stars" for the extra care. I also appreciate her encouragement.
  3. Technology upgrades – There are always things to learn. What is on your list? More about power, Garmins, Polar – I just got a footpod to monitor my running. I have to get fluent in lap times/speed/gearing/cadence on the velodrome again. I learn from athletes I coach, reading, and computer time.
  4. Technique – What skills do you need to spend time on? Wow, there is a women's team pursuit event now. While I have trained with men's team pursuiters before, perfecting the start and exchanges for a 3 woman team will be a challenge I'm looking forward to.
  5. Mindset – What stands out for you as past mental downfalls? I already corrected my running race starts and won a New Year's Day 5K. My time was faster just by starting faster instead of holding back. Next I need to work on my fear of other racers in mass start bike races by focusing on what I need to do. Often I underestimate who I can keep up with (I'm most often racing with men).


Now, let's look at time and financial commitments. Obviously, training and events will take the most time. For most people, finding the time for the other items is hardest. I can suggest some strategies like:

  1. Stretching right after finishing training or racing. This coincides with the 8 minutes post exercise that muscles are still warm and is the best time to stretch.
  2. Scheduling appointments and check points for massage, chiropractor, or whatever recovery techniques you need help with.
  3. Now is the time to get up to date with technology – winter when you are more homebound. Do that instead of watching TV or wasting time on social networking sites.
  4. Plan workouts that train skills as well as fitness. Have your group rides lost the art of eschelon? If you aren't practicing skills, you'll be amazed at how rewarding it is to improve. So don't just train sprints or hill, do them with teammates and practice lead-outs, counter-attacking, or breakaway pacelines.
  5. Focusing mindset shouldn't take any additional time. You are constantly doing it anyway. The question is, is what you run through your mind helpful or not? The more you tune in, the better you'll get at stopping negative thoughts and rehearsing your goals.


Financially, if you can't afford all the things on your dream list, those automatically go to the save for future category. Here are some of mine:

  1. Travel to races – local and Championships
  2. Wind Tunnel – for performance and just plain curiosity. I toured the tunnel at Aidan Charles' CCNS studio in Middletown, CT. So cool. I think I'll save up for that one, and at $475/hr I think it's achievable.
  3. Most other items are expenses I'd have anyway, like food and supplements. Now it's just a matter of making good choices.
  4. There are smaller items that I should have taken care of sooner. I finally got a foam roller. It helps break up muscle facia and works so well I can't believe I didn't get one sooner. Do you have an item like that? Go get it. Ready, Set, Goal!



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