The end of the cycling season is a tough time for many cyclists. The weather turns cold and the days shorten. Cyclists everywhere are forced inside to trainers and rollers for winter training. But the fall cycling season is the perfect time to get your house in order for the coming off-season.
Since you should be tapering into your off-season, you have more time to think about your next season objectives. Set your goals and objectives for the next season. Sit down and evaluate the past season and see where you can make improvements in your preparation and fitness. You are on the bike less, so you can do all these things that you have been neglecting in favor of putting in training miles!
To help you strengthen your off-season preparation, I'm going to give you a couple of tips to get you started. Click through the break to find these 5 things the best cyclists do at the end of the cycling season and learn how to turn autumn gloom into spring success:
- Your body changes during the season: flexibility, muscular strength and endurance and joint range of motion all change.
- Staying in the same bike position for years on end can lead to lost power, poor performance, and potential injury.
- You should think about getting your bike refit to you at least a couple times per year, and fall is the perfect time to start doing that.
- You'll more thoroughly appreciate the benefits of a new fit when you've got a chance to spend some free time in the saddle without specific training plans.
- Don't avoid hard efforts while breaking in your new position, just realize that easier riding will help to ease your body into a new (often more aggressive) position and reduce your injury risk.
2 – “Bank” some extra miles
- Fall is the perfect time to “put miles in the bank.”
- I've advocated that cyclists don't need traditional base training, but there's still a place for endurance training in your training program.
- Endurance training is the overarching basis for all of your cycling fitness and typically relies on your ability to rack up miles and saddle time.
- You've spent most of the season doing a heavy schedule of intervals and high-intensity workouts, so your body and mind are probably tired.
- Take some time away from your power meter and your Garmin and ride for fun. Plan out a route that you've never ridden. Turn down the shaded, leaf peppered dirt road that you've passed a hundred times before. Pick up your head and look around on one of your regular training loops.
3 – Evaluate your cycling season
- Many cyclists think that if they don't race or have a goal that pits them against others or a time limit, they don't need to evaluate their season. They couldn't be more wrong.
- No matter what your goals, evaluating your strengths and weaknesses is an important step at the end of the cycling season.
- Here are a few basic questions you need to answer: Looking back at your season goals, did you meet them? Did you meet your season long objectives? What parts of your fitness held you back, and which parts allowed you to succeed?
- You can check out my podcast on “Analyzing Your Cycling Season” for more details on what to look for and how to do it.
- Once you've evaluated your season and figured out where your weaknesses are, it's time to plan how to minimize them.
- Of all the cyclists that I consult with, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses.
- Core strength and stability: It's so critical to your cycling success, so listen to my podcast “The Truth About Cycling Core Strength” for some more in depth info.
- Muscular strength and endurance: It is your body's ability to put force into the pedals and resist fatigue of longer efforts.
- The end of the season and the off-season are the perfect time to build muscular strength and endurance. You can develop this by doing specific intervals on the bike and by building strength off the bike.
- Check out my Strength Training For Cyclists podcasts. You can find part 1 here and you can find part 2 here.
5 – Switch up your training
- If you've been following the same training program for a couple years, your body is getting wise to it.
- Because the body is designed to be self-correcting, once it has adapted to a stimulus, it doesn't need to adapt anymore.
- You need to periodically switch the kind of training you're doing in order to continue to challenge your body and force it to adapt.
- Consider switching up your goals, switching up your goal events, or simply changing how you train and the days you train on.
- Ways to switch up your training: add higher intensity intervals to your training, add some strength training to your program, include an additional long endurance ride containing intervals or add a cross training component to your program.
If you've got a question about how to prep your off-season, head on over and ask me! Don't forget that if you're struggling to meet your training goals, you can pick from a ton of great training options in my downloadable training plan store, including my Unbreakable Core Stability module, Full Season Training Solution, and Advanced Full Season Training Solution. You can also get a ton of great training tips FOR FREE by signing up for the Tailwind Coaching Newsletter. You'll also get a free bonus training plan, updates, and exclusive discounts like the Unbreakable Core Stability discount!
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