I woke up this morning to a crisp fall air and quickly retreated under a blanket with a hot cup of coffee. For many people, the changing of the seasons also represents the changing of goals. Unless you’re a cyclocross racer, you may be getting close to starting your off-season.
What is the off-season?
The off-season denotes a time in which you are not racing. Even the off-season should be broken down into distinct periods. First, you should complete your off-season transition period. The transition period is a time in which you should take time completely off of the bike. This time away from training is critical in order to allow your body to rebuild and replenish. This time off can help to heal or minimize any over-use or chronic injuries that you may have just managed throughout the year. You might not even be aware of the fact that your body is on the edge of fatigue or damage, but sometimes allowing your body to heal from these small, almost undetectable ailments is exactly what your body needs.
Also read: How to keep improving your cycling as you age
The time away from training also allows for mental rejuvenation. Endurance athletes are inherently stubborn. We like to claim that “we don’t need time off.” We love our sport, and riding our bikes every day seems to keep us sane. The truth is though, everybody needs some time off. Without time away from your training you will become more numb or immune to the workouts. Your focus won’t be as sharp and you risk burnout later in the season. It’s better to force yourself to take time off in November than it is to burn out and need time off in July.
Finally, after you take time off the bike, it’ll be time to start building up again. Even this build phase is still a part of the off-season because it’s time that you aren’t racing. In other words, when you plan time for your off-season you need to plan time for de-training and then a build phase.