You’ve had a long season and the accumulated fatigue of training and events has taken its toll. You still enjoy riding, but you no longer crave it. It’s time to rest for a while. These days, off-season training seems to start the moment the last season finishes. There is no reason to jump right back in, however, and there are great advantages to taking your time to prepare for the winter.
First, get plenty of rest. The season was likely a long one, and if you raced into autumn on your cyclocross bike or in some fall runs, you’ve certainly earned some complete down time. Don’t ride, don’t run and don’t swim for a few weeks – at least two weeks and up to three of them if you like. If you get a chance to attend a few Yin yoga classes do it… and get plenty of sleep. Some people find that if they don’t work out, they have trouble sleeping. Stay the course, and let it be. Just like with training, you will adapt and within a few nights you’ll be sleeping normally.
While you’re not putting in the long training miles, take some time and pay attention to your equipment. Give your bike a thorough check-up and deep cleaning. Inspect your frame, fork, seatpost, handlebar and stem for cracks, and check your wheels’ brake tracks for excessive wear. Consumables like chains and tires are often at their limits by now and need replacement. It’s also a good idea to replace brake and shifter cablesets each season. Now is also the time to replace your shoes if you need to. Getting used to new ones is much easier on your muscles and joints when they’re not in top shape and finely tuned.
Just like it’s important to maintain your equipment, it’s also important to maintain your body. Pay attention to and address any nagging health issues you might be dealing with. Get a check-up and replace worn orthotics, cycling cleats or running shoes – any wearables whose failure or excessive wear could cause chronic injury.
CHECK YOUR PLAN
Your end-of-season break is a great time for review and planning. Take some time to look at your goals for the past season and see if you met them. Examine your strengths and weaknesses, and make a plan for improvement. Set your targets for the next year, and if necessary, revise your Three-Year Plan (you made one, didn’t you?). If you have a coach have him or her help you – that’s a coach’s job as much as it is yours.
YOU CAN DO IT!
With a bit of planning and plenty of rest, you’ll arrive at the beginning of your winter training season healthy, motivated, and ready to rock.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
How are you spending the winter off-season on bike? Add your comments below!
Adnan is a USAC-certified Level 1 cycling coach who believes that in sport, as in life, it is important to strike a balance between the various aspects of what one does. Adnan has been a competitive cyclist and triathlete for nearly 25 years. His full-time coaching practice can be found at AeolusEndurance.com.