You love to race. You are committed, relentless and diligent. Yet despite your dedication, by this time of year there is a part of you that is burnt out both mentally and physically. You still enjoy it, but a long season of ups and downs has you ready for a break.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, if this is true it means that a few months spent away from your road bike may be just the trick. The offseason of November – January represents a perfect opportunity to try something different.
- The bulk of the Midwest road racing season is wrapped up
- November – January offers a chance for veteran racers to try something new
- Several key activities can pay dividends, even while your road bike sits
Many road racers find that taking an off-season hiatus from their normal training can be a valuable tool to help them return even stronger next season, with renewed energy and focus.
For some, this hiatus can mean a period of detraining and a break from cycling altogether. For others however, a hiatus is less of a break from cycling and more a break from structured workouts, normal racing gear, and their usual style of riding. This type of hiatus can give athletes the same mental benefits as cycling inactivity but also adds performance and fitness increases.
Below we cover some ways to execute this type of plan and why.
Get On-Track by Heading Off-Road
Many off-season cyclists use their fall and winter to focus on off-road racing. While trail races, duathlons and cyclocross present different distinct disciplines from road riding, athletes who incorporate them can see some significant upticks that carry over to the road. These disciplines will maintain your fitness, enhance your handling skills and can help you with cadence and pedal efficiency. Perhaps most importantly your sense of burn-out will fade away as you find yourself enjoying cycling in a completely different way.
Serious strength upticks are difficult to obtain in the middle of a season. The offseason is a great time to focus on weight-training, swimming, running or other sports. Each of these disciplines offer benefits that will crossover to your time on the bike and substituting them for road racing can help you avoid repetitive motion injuries while staying in shape.
Hop on a Mountain Bike and Ride for Fun
While focusing on target heartrate zones and mapping your pedal stroke can shave seconds off your race times, it does little to nurture the soul. A simple trail ride in the outdoors can build you up mentally while also serving as a reward for a long season and reigniting your love affair with cycling.
Think how nice it will feel to leave the heartrate monitor at home, find a trail and head out for a nice ride. Take your spouse and children with you and reacquaint yourself with the great outdoors and trail-riding.
The Bottom Line
Regardless how you plan to tackle your offseason the important thing is to have an offseason. Training at high intensity over long periods of time can not only lead to injuries, it will certainly lead to boredom and burnout. What’s more the offseason is a gift, a chance to work on fundamentals and focus on details that you simply can’t achieve during the season.
If you’d like help defining your off-season any of our coaches would love to sit down and help you build a plan. Together you can craft an offseason routine that is customized to your goals, time constraints and passions. Remember, winning 2017 starts in 2016. Get started today.