Friday, January 28, 2011

Weight Loss

There's that dirty four letter word again- D-I-E-T.  Well, at least for me it is.  I've been trying to lose weight for over 3 months now with NO success.  I've tried reducing carbs, reducing portions at meals, cutting out all junk food (including cookies which I LOVE), reducing alcohol intake,  etc.  I can't say that I followed any particular diet per se, but I've been trying to lose weight desparately.  Yeah, I can make up all kinds of excuses why I haven't lost any weight over the past 3 months..but they're weak excuses.  Bottom line- low self-control. 

For those of you that don't know why weight loss is such a big deal for cycling..all you have to do is lookup "Watts per Kilogram" in Google and you'll see why it's so vital- at least for someone like me.  Actually, you don't even have to Google it, just do a search on my Coaches blog and you'll see plenty of articles written on the subject.  I look at it this way, why bust your hump working hard to build power over the Winter only to ruin your w/kg with a big fat a$$ in the Spring?  Seriously!  It just doesn't make sense to me.  I honestly believe that "weight loss" is just as important as "power gain" to a cyclist.  And, I'm only trying to maintain a weight that is appropriate for a cyclist my age.  I don't think losing 10 lbs. (going from 175 to 165) is going overboard by any look at my waistline will convince you. ha
Ok, so where do I (or should say WE) go from here?  (And, I'm not writing this blog just for my benefit, there are OTHERS out there that should be shedding some Winter lbs from their fat a$$es).  Well, the last thing you want to do right now is diet- of any kind, particularly Lo-Carb diets.  Proper Carb intake is as important now as it is during the racing season because of the higher intensity workouts you'll be doing (or should be doing).  Bottom line, you'll need the energy from Carbs for your workouts.  Eating "cleaner" meals will definitely help you lose some weight.  That is, no junk food...ditch the desserts and alcohol too. 

But wait a minute, didn't I just tell you that I was eating "cleaner" and that I pretty much gave up the desserts and alcohol and STILL can't drop any weight?  I did.  So, now what?  Well, in my opinion barring liposuction (just kidding) the only healthy alternative is to ramp up the activity level.  That includes more time in the gym (resistance training and working core muscles), cross training (like XC skiing) and possibly even some swimming to supplement the daily cycling workouts.  That's right, swimming.  I used to participate in Masters Swimming at the local YMCA 2 days a week when I was a Triathlete.  They are great workouts and will definitely help anyone shed some pounds.  And, for those of you that think that resistance training in the gym is going to make you BIG...forget about it.  It won't.  Besides, resistance training is a great "fat burner" because you'll continue to burn fat/calories even when you're done. 

So, if you're like me..start ramping up the exercise volume.  You don't have to kill yourself X-Training..have fun with it.  In fact, that's all it should be- FUN!

Power ON! Coach Rob

Progressive Resistance/Power Training

The big buzzword in cycling training these days is "Progressive Power Training".  Sounds good doesn't it?  I think it does.  Although it sounds NEW it's not, it's been around forever.

Whether you call it "progressive resistance" or "progressive power" training, the methodology is based on the same principle/concept- your body adapts to exercise and continually needs to be challenged with higher loads to grow stronger.  For cycling training there are many ways this can be achieved:

a. Increase the load (power) during your interval workout. Do the same number of intervals and sets each week, but increase your power.  e.g. instead of 2x15@ L3/L4 do 2x15@ L4

b. Increase the number of intervals. Use the same power for each interval workout, but increase the number of intervals each week.  e.g. instead of 4x3@ L5 do 8x3@ L5.

c.  Increase the number of sets each time you workout.  e.g. instead of 2x10x30s @ L6 do 3x10x30s @ L6

d.  Shorten the rest between the sets.  e.g. instead of a 5RI use 3RI.

e.  Lengthen the time under tension - or how long your muscle fibers are under stress. Instead of doing 5 hill repeats of 3 minutes ea., find a hill where you can do 5 hill repeats of 4 minutes ea.

My entire coaching philosophy revolves around this principle of "progressive power training" because it works.  As I said earlier, it's been around forever.  I used "progressive resistance" training ever since I picked up my first weight in 7th grade and started weight training (that's almost 40 yrs. ago).  I've been using this principle for the last 3 yrs. of my coaching business because I've seen my athletes improve FASTER than any other coached or non-coached cyclist.  That is, the ones that follow my Annual Training Plan (ATP).  (Trust me, just because someone hires a coach doesn't mean they follow the plan given to them.  I think some people hire a coach because they think there is some magic workout out there that is going to turn them from a Cat 5 to a Cat 1 racer in one season.  You may laugh, but it's true!)  The ones that don't follow the plan- "religiously", will NOT see results.  Well, they may see some results but not the ones they could be seeing.

Developing an ATP utilizing the progressive power training methodology takes a lot of work. It's both an art and science setting up and constantly adjusting it throughout the year.  It's a dynamic plan.  That's probably the primary reason why I only take on 5-6 athletes per takes time (something I don't have a lot of with work and my own training).  Following it is even harder, it takes a lot of patience, dedication and perserverence.  The workouts start out relatively easy so the athlete must be patient and not want to jump into a hard workout too soon.  Then the workouts increase in intensity.  Some workouts are true "ballbusters"- workouts that you definitely want to quit on.  Later on in the plan, the workouts increase in both intensity and volume.  A healthy mix of interval workouts withing the ATP makes the plan both fun and obtainable.  The best part is that the ATP can be followed either inside on the trainer or outside.  I prefer inside on the trainer because it's easier to be more consistent and follow the workout.

Lastly, as with all training plans, you must routinely test yourself to ensure that the ATP is working.  A lot of times, adjustments are periodically needed to the plan (either increasing loads or decreasing loads) to maximize training.  Yeah, I know, tests aren't fun- they hurt (if you do em correctly), but they're vital. 

Oh yeah, and PLEASE be patient.  You're NOT going to see improvements in power over night with ANY plan.  It may take months before you notice a strength/power increase.  Everybody is different.  But, if you stick with WILL see an improvement.  Trust me!  I prescribe to the same plan I give my athletes and it DOES work...even on an old body like mine. :)

Power ON!  Coach Rob

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cycling Nutrition

If you started your Annual Training Plan (ATP) in Nov-Dec, like I did, you'll be leaving the Base Phase of Training and entering the Build Phase.   The Build Phase, according to Friel, is where you develop greater anaerobic endurance fitness with intervals and sprints while refining muscular endurance and power.  What does that mean?  That means more VO2max and Anaerobic interval workouts and longer Lactate Threshold workouts.  That also means HILLS...HILLS...and MORE HILLS to start developing Power in those legs.  Remember all that strength training and speed drills you did on the bike and at the gym from Nov-Jan?  Now's the time to turn that Force/Strength (and Speed) into Power on the bike.  It's the Power that makes you go faster on the bike  (Power=Force x Speed). 

Never is/was Nutrition more important than now.  I never realized how important nutrition was for an endurance athlete until now.  Why?  I just completed a course in Sports Nutrition (as part of my USA Cycling CEU Coaching requirements) and figured I'd share some of that info with you and try to summarize it in a single chart (see below).

The reason Nutrition is so important NOW is because your body is going to need premium fuel to run that high-performance motor of yours- at the higher intensities that you're going to be running it during the Build Phase.  You feed poor fuel (nutrition) into that tank/motor of yours and you're NOT going to last during your workouts.  Even if you do last, you're not going to be maximizing the Power Output you would if you put premium fuel (nutrition) in the tank.  Remember: your body (muscle in particular) adapts, and gets stronger, based on the stress/load you impose on it.  If you're only able to produce say 300w for 5 min. intervals (with improper fuel/nutrition) during training instead of 350w, then your muscles are only going to adapt to the lessor power output.  Proper Nutrition (including Vitamin and Mineral supplements) will also boost your immune system and help you ward off all of those cold viruses, flus, etc. that are running rampant in the office.  I swear some offices that I've visited on travel recently made me feel like I was in a huge petri dish of a Bio Lab.  Nothing but sneezing, hacking, coughing, sick people.  BLEH!  And, trust me, the last thing you want to do right now is catch a cold/flu that is going to sideline your training for a week or two.

Proper Carbohydrate intake is necessary to resynthesize glycogen used during exercise before the next training period begins.  This is NOT the time of the year to be going on an Atkins (low-Carb) diet.  (More on that in a future blog).  In addition to the correct amount of Carbs needed, timing of Carb intake is important.  Proper Protein intake, Fat intake, Vitamin and Mineral supplementation, and Water also play an important role in the body.  Lets face it, we're just not getting the proper nutrients from "processed" foods we eat these days.    

BTW, just because you're entering the Build Phase does NOT mean that your strength training days in the gym are over.  It just means that instead of working out resistance training and working core muscles 3 days a week, you can limit them to 1-2 days per week.  Oh, and don't forget to get proper're going to need it with the tougher workouts around the corner.

Power ON! Coach Rob

Monday, January 17, 2011

LIVESTRONG.COM Power Based Cycling Group

I just started a LIVESTRONG.COM Power Based Cycling Group.  Just go to and open up a FREE account.  Then, from the Home Page click on the "BE INSPIRED" tab and click on "GROUPS".  Finally, do a search on Groups by typing in "Power Based Cycling" in the search box.

 In addition to the LIVESTRONG.COM Power Based Cycling Group that I just started, you'll see that the LIVESTRONG site has a lot of good stuff/info/articles.  And, best of all- it's FREE!  I'm hoping the Power Based Cycling group will be a way for cyclists with Power Meters to discuss and share information on training, nutrition, racing, equipment, etc.  Yes, I know there are Power Based Specific Forums out on the internet (I frequent those), but this is more of a nutrition, training, equipment, racing, etc. group all wrapped up in one.  Plus, it'd be cool to have something more local.  I'd start my own forum on the websites I have but they're too much of a hassle to maintain with all the trawlers/spammers out there.  Even if this group doesn't least I introduced you to a new FREE site on the web with plenty of useful information.  I use the FREE calorie tracker and check out many of the fitness/nutrition articles.

Power ON! Coach Rob

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What Supplements are you taking...if any?

If you are NOT taking any Nutritional Supplements for cycling training you're foolish.  Why?  Because most of the food that you buy and eat these days is just not supplying the nutrients you require on a daily basis as an athlete- especially if you're training hard.  Our environment is filled with chemicals, radiation, pesticides, depleted soil, fertilizers, etc. that not only affects the food we adversely affects us directly.  Not to mention your daily stresses from work, home, travel, etc. and the processed foods we buy/eat.  No wonder we're getting sick all the time and no wonder the cancer rate is so high.

If you ARE taking a Supplement, what are you taking?  Are you taking a Multi-Vitamin?  (BTW, I hope you're ALL taking this as a minimum.) Are you taking a Protein supplement for recovery?  I have to admit I don't take a Multi-Vitamin every day.  I should but I don't.  I don't because I'm just lazy.  But, there is one time of the year when I can honestly say I start taking a Multi-Vit daily and that is when I start ramping-up the intensity of my now through March.  I buy all of my Supplements at GNC.  Sure, you can buy supplements online much cheaper but you don't get good advice online you get at your local GNC store- at least I don't.  GNC brand is not the best brand of supplements but they're ok..and they work.  The best part of buying stuff at GNC is that they have a 30 day money back warranty/guarantee.  If you don't like the stuff you bought you can bring it back within 30 days and get a full-refund.  I just did that the other day.  I bought a product that I didn't like..brought it back and they gave me a full-refund on the spot..and I didn't even have my receipt.  So, what do I buy at GNC? I buy a lot...probably too much.  But, like I said, I primarily buy and use it during the hi-intensity workout phase of my Annual Training Plan.  I take these supplements so that I recover fast after workouts, stay healthy by boosting my immune system, promote joint health, have more energy during workouts, etc.  They are:
a. Dymatize Nutrition, Elite Recoup, Advanced Amino Recovery
b. GNC Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60
c. GNC Mega Man Sport Multi-Vitamin
d. GNC TriFlex Sport Glucosamine, Chondroitin & MSM
e. GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil (Omega-3 fatty acids)
f. GNC Multi-Mega Minerals

Also, if you're an elite athlete (and subjected to random drug testing) be careful of the Supplements you take.  Just because they are sold over the counter does NOT mean that they aren't on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list.  Here is the 2011 list:   Even if you're NOT an elite athlete you should still be aware of substances that are prohibited.  Did you know that Diet Pills are prohibited even during training if you want to lose a pound or two?  Yup.  Check the ingredients on the back of Diet'll see at least one of these on the WADA prohibited list.  Did you know Caffeine is prohibited? (In large amounts only).  The reason these substances are on the prohibited list is NOT just because they are performance enhancers (and give an advantage to an athlete during training/competition), some are on the list because they are unsafe.

So, as a minimum, take a Multi-Vit.  You'll be surprised how you manage to stave off that cold/flu that's got everybody in your office sick.  And, take a good Protein supplement for faster recovery.

Power ON!  Coach Rob

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How do you measure training effectiveness?

I'm always wondering why there aren't more riders training and racing with power meters.  For a lot, I'm sure it's because Power Meters (PMs) are still cost-prohibitive.  For others, I'm sure it's because they just don't know anything about em- although the stronger riders would never admit that.  For the rest, I'm sure they just don't know or care.  But, the more intriguing question I have lately is if cyclists don't train with PMs, how do they know if they're getting stronger?  So, I asked one of my elite athletes I coach the other day, "for your friends that don't train with a power meter, how do they measure the effectiveness of their off-season training?".  He said, "they base it on their in-season racing performance".

At the time, I thought it was a good enough answer.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I thought- how stupid is that?  Somebody is going to wait until they've performed at least 5 mos. of Winter training, that includes outside rides in cold/nasty weather and indoor ball-buster interval workouts on a trainer, to see if it was effective or not?  For me, I want to know in 4 weeks time whether my training program is working or not.  Because if it's not, I still have time to adjust it for maximum gains.  And, how would I know if it is or isn't working?  With regular/periodic testing on my PM of course.

Besides, what if I did perform well during the racing season?  Would I know for a fact the reason I did so well was because of my off-season training program?  Could I have performed well because my racing tactics had improved?  Could I have done well because I lost weight and it was a hilly course?  Could I have done well because my nutrition was better than the previous year?  Could I have done better because the competition wasn't as good?  Could I have done better because it was a hot day and I genearlly ride better when it's hotter?  There are so many variables.

For me, the PM and HR monitor are two tools that I just wouldn't ride (or train) without.  They just tell me everything I need/want to know.  Things like: how is my fitness level, how is my power output, am I getting sick, my hydration level, too hot, etc.  It gives me IMMEDIATE feedback on my training rides.  Just last night, I started an interval workout after working 12 straight hours at the office.  During those 12 hrs. I was drinking coffee all day long (just to stay awake).  So, I was fatigued but loaded up with caffeine so I didn't feel as tired as I actually was.  I got back to the hotel room and jumped on my bike/trainer and started a workout.  It was warm in the started at 71F and within 20 minutes was 75F.   At the 25 minute mark of the Sweetspot interval workout I noticed my HR was 183 bpm. Wow!  That's VO2max range (L5 level) for me.  But, when I looked down at my PM, my Power Output was only in the Sweetspot range (L3/L4).  So, rather than continue the workout..I shut it down at the 30 minute mark.  Why? 

According to Joe Friel, "having a high heart rate when power is low is likely to occur when aerobic fitness is sub-par. This also may be the situation after an illness or when highly fatigued. It may even be an indicator of overreaching and is likely to show up after a lengthy block of crash training. If so, rest is the most likely solution. But it could also be that more aerobic training is needed."  For me, I know it's not a lack of aerobic fitness because my aerobic fitness is actually pretty good this time of year.  So, in addition to being highly fatigued it could be an indicator of me getting sick or overreaching.  Everyone at work is either sick with a cold or recovering from a cold.  Regardless, I think I was smart in stopping.  Just tonight, I continued with another workout and everything seemed normal.  That is, there was a big overlap between my HR Zones and my Power Zones..what I normally see during training.

I could go on and on regarding the benefits of tools such as a HR montior and PM for racing and training.  As far as I'm concerned, they are tools that should be in every riders/racers toolbox.  If not, you could waste an entire off-season of training not only doing the wrong workouts..but over or under training. 
BTW, gotta check out the e-book from Dr. Medhus.  Power ON! Coach Rob

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quarq Coach

I'm becoming an authorized Quarq Coach/Dealer for 2011.  So, in addition to being an authorized Power Tap Coach/Dealer and offering Saris/Cycleops Power Meters to my clients (at a discount) I'll be able to provide Quarq Power Meters as well (at a discount).  Check em out at
The Quarq Power Meter is a crank-based power meter as opposed to the Saris/Cycleops Power Tap which is wheel/hub-based.  So, if you have your favorite set of wheels you can keep them.  Or, if you have a Time Trial bike and you like to frequently change wheels, i.e. disc vs. deep dish, you can choose the Quarq PM.  You can't do that with the Power Tap since the Power Meter is built into the hub/wheel.

I don't know much about the reliability of the Quarq, as compared to the Power Tap, but I've heard the accuracy is just as good- if not better.  (Could be the reason why their Power Meters are currentlly on back order.)  The MSRP of the Quarq is $1800 (which is more than the Power Tap $1300) and does NOT include a Computer Head Unit.  But, if you're the lucky owner of either a Garmin Edge, Saris Joule or other Ant+ Sport (Wireless) Computer Head Unit you can use that.  The only negative, as of now, with the Quarq is that there is no calibration software/program/, if it becomes out of Cal you'll have to send it back to Quarq.  I heard they are working on an iPhone App for Calibration in the near future?  iPhone?  What's with that?

The only other crank-based Power Meter on the market is the SRM Power Meter which MSRPs for about $3500.  Ouch!  Although I've heard the SRM is the "Cadillac/Escalade" of Power Meters.  Not only is it the most reliable it's the most accurate on the market.  (Gotta love that German Engineering.)  Could be the reason why all the Top Pro teams have them (SRMs) on their bikes.  I can become an authorized SRM Power Meter Coach/Dealer but why?  Who can afford it except these Pro Teams with million dollar sponsors.  Hell, SRM probably gives them to the Pro Teams for FREE...just for advertising.

I'm still waiting for the Garmin/Metri-gear pedal based Power Meter to hit the market..but then again, I've been saying that for 2 yrs. now.

I'm ready to put my Quarq Cinco PM order in.  If any of the athletes I coach, or coached in the past, want one at a me and I'll show you the prices and options.  I'll be ordering the end of this don't wait.  Also, there is a 4 week back-order as of now which is why Quarq is only taking deposits right now.  I think they want a $600 deposit up front.

Power ON! Coach Rob

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Are you training effectively?

Here's a quote out of Chris Carmichael's book- The Time Crunched Cyclist that pretty much sums up training in a nutshell, as far as I'm concerned: "Effective training comes down to applying a workload to an athlete that is both specific to his/her activity and goal appropriate for that person's current levels of fitness and fatigue". 

Much too often, I see riders train with a workload that is either too hard or too easy.  For most, the training rides are too slow and too long- not to mention too easy.  There's only one or two athletes that I've coached in the past that are just the opposite.  They want to go balls to the wall 24/7- on every training ride/workout.  (However, having said that, the guys/gals that ride hard are doing MUCH better during competition- and during group rides than their slow counterparts.)  Chris continues to say, " The load has to be great enough to stimulate a training response from the body, but not so great that it creates more fatigue than the body can cope with."  That's my only concern with guys/gals that want to go HARD all the time.  I don't want them fatigued and overtraining.

The other thing I see (or hear of) are riders that train with a different bike.  Their training rides are performed on a different bike than what they compete on.  i.e. I've seen many a road bike rider riding a Mountain Bike thinking that the MB training will make them a stronger roadie.  Or, how about this one..the Time Trial (TT) Specialist that trains with/on their road bike instead of TT bike.   Not only are these riders training with a different bike (in a different riding position), they aren't training for their specific activity. i.e. why would a Criterium Racer ride 2-3 hr tempo/endurance training rides?  Likewise, why would a century rider spend a couple hours per week doing Sprint workouts?  Just doesn't make sense.  That's what Chris is referring to when he says, "...specific to his/her activity.." 

So, let me ask again, are you training effectively?  Is the training specific to your event?  How much time are you training? Is it enough time?  Is it too much time?  Are the workouts too easy/hard?  Are you recovering properly after HARD workouts?  Think about it.  Hopefully, you've made all the correct training decisions.  If not, change your plan.

BTW, Triathletes, Chris Carmichael wrote a book for the Time Crunched Triathlete.  Check it out!

Power ON! Coach Rob

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Multi-File/Range Analysis (MFRA)

I never ride my bike without a bike computer.  However, when I ride I rarely look at my computer- which displays just about everything except what I'm eating that night for dinner. I'm serious.  My bike computer(s) displays: Power, GPS coordinates, Heart Rate, Altitude/Elevation, Speed, Cadence, Temperature, CdA, etc.  I think the only time I look at my computer is when I'm going fast to see what my max speed is (I love to go fast) or when I'm ascending a long steep hill to see what my heart rate and power are (to make sure I pace myself properly so I don't cook my legs).

For me, the beauty of the bike computer is being able to download the data after the ride..and analyzing the power data either that day, a week, month or year later.  I especially like comparing similar ride files a year later to see if my fitness level (or power output) has improved or not.  Training Peaks WKO+ Software's version 3.0 has a new feature called Multi-File/Range Analysis (MFRA) which does just that- it analyzes similar ranges from multiple files. 

In the graph above, I compared a 14 mile out/back leg of Ironman Coeur D'Alene (on my Computrainer) from 14 January 2010 to 2 January 2011.  I wasn't particulary interested in seeing if my fitness level improved, because in order to do pretty much have to keep power output steady (while keeping all environmental factors equal) and compare heart rates.  I rode both legs at what I believed was a fast tempo pace.  I intentionally kept my Heart Rate below Threshold for each ride.  Even though my Power Output (and Heart Rate) was higher today (compared to last year), what I did takeaway from this analysis is the fact that my Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) was probably the same for each ride.  I'm guessing a 6 (out of 10).  That's a good thing and definitely a motivator that my training plan for 2011 is getting me in better shape than 2010.

BTW, this ride (see ride profile below) is a great Tempo ride for the base period of training.  It's got four 2-minute climbs and two 5-minute climbs of approx. 6% grade.  Unfortunately, not too many rides like this left on the menu for me.  I'm already in week 2 of Base 3 training and ready to enter the Build Phase.  The beginning of the Build Phase will be a hefty amount of Sweetspot and Threshold interval training.

If you're a Power Meter user I highly recommend buying Training Peaks WKO+ Software ver. 3.0.  It's without a doubt the BEST software for storing/analyzing power meter data files.

Power ON!  Coach Rob

Are your 2011 Cycling Goals achievable?

If you haven't already made your cycling goals for 2011- there's probably not a better time than NOW.  However, before making your goal(s)..ensure that they are achievable.  There's not a recreational cyclist I know that doesn't want to be racing in a higher Category than what they're already racing in (unless they're enjoying being a sandbagger).  The problem is, a lot of these cyclists have no idea HOW to reach their goals.  Even if they do know how, I'm willing to bet that 90% never achieve them because they don't put the time (and hard work) in that's required to achieve those goals.  There's always some kind of excuse or reason such as: work, family, travel, health issues, etc.  I'm not saying that these things aren't legitimate reasons for not being able to stay on your 2011 cycling training plan.  They are!  What I am saying is: if you know that these things are legitimate concerns then they should be considered as part of your goal setting/making.

Let me give you an example.  Say a Cat 3 road racer is making Cat 2 a 2011 goal/objective.  Assume, the Cat 3 roadie currently averages approx. 6-10 hrs. per week of training. i.e. comprised of a 3 hr. ride at least once on the weekends and at least three to four 1 hr. training rides during the week.  Can the Cat 3 roadie reach Cat 2 by putting in the same amount of hours per week?  Probably not.  According to most reputable cycling sources, the average Cat 2 roadie puts in anywhere from 15-25 hrs. of training in per week each year.  That's a lot of training hours..especially around here (Doylestown, PA) in the Winter.  So, at the low end (15 hrs) of the training requirement we're talking at least two 2-3 hr. rides on the weekends and 9 hrs. of work during the week.  That's almost 2 hrs. per day during the week.  Does the Cat 2 wannabe have that much time with 2-3 small kids, a job that keeps him/her on the road 2 weeks out of the month, someone prone to winter colds, etc.?  Probably not.  Does the Cat 2 wannabe also know that the average power output of a Cat 2 racer is a lot higher (4.6 w/kg compared to 4.0) for a Cat 3 racer?  Even if the Cat 3 roadie knows all they know how to train correctly?  Most don't.  I just hear a lot of cyclists (that I don't coach) say, "well who the hell has that time to train during the week with a full-time job, 3 kids, a house to maintain, etc."?  Hey, not my problem.  You're the one that wants to be a Cat 2 roadie.
If you've already set your goals for 2011 just make sure they're realistic.  If not, then you're only setting yourself up for failure.  You can always change your goals..they're not set in stone.  Just make sure you have the time that's required to achieve your goal, that you've made a realistic training plan, and that you're committed/dedicated to seeing your training plan through.  Most importantly, make sure you know how to get there (to your goal).  If you don't know how to get there..hire a coach.  I'm sure they'll not only help you get there, they'll help you get there faster. 

Power ON!  Coach Rob