The off season is magical. Christmas, festivities, closing the year, it truly is the best time of the year. Not only should you utilise the off season as a time to recover, but also to plan and prepare for the upcoming season.
After a long and gruelling road season, one way to maximise the off season is to turn to another discipline in cycling such as cyclo- cross or mountain biking. The off season is most typically referred to as the period of time immediately after the racing season. For many people this may be only a month or two in length, whereas others may have only a few months of racing paired with an extensive break from racing. In any scenario, the off season often means at least a short amount of time away from the bike or cycling specific workouts, or at least it should. Never take the term “off season” quite literally as the bike sits dormant, neglected in the corner. In reality the this period should be anything but “off”.
A perfect opportunity to start anew, and literally rebuild the your physiological profile. The physical demands of racing and training can be high and though athletes may want to “maintain” their current fitness at or near
Although it may be much easier to quantify the stress of training, mental stress should also be considered. Training and racing also require a great amount of mental acuity as coaches and athletes should evaluate how the off season can start off on the right foot and be a rejuvenation of the athlete holistically. The first few weeks of the off season are great time to let everything go, but soon thereafter the coach and athlete have a major opportunity to lay the foundation for a successful season. The off season is a great time to work on some the limiters that may not be as feasible to work on during the few months leading up to a big event.
A common practice for cycling athletes is the application of cross-training. This may include other forms of cycling, but ultimately could be any other form of exercise that the you enjoy. Strength and resistance training can be a great way to improve areas of the body that may have been neglected over the course of the season, but may also serve to contribute to an athlete’s specific strengths while addressing weaknesses. Circuit training and similar forms of resistance training offer an excellent way to build strength while maintaining an aerobic component. Other areas of need may be flexibility which may be significantly improved through static and dynamic stretching and/or yoga or similar practices.