By Swiss Miss, TrainingPeaks Certified, and ALP Coach Patricia Schwager
The off season is here and that means time off, time for vacation, or time for activities that you can’t really do during race season. Unless you are racing CX races- then your situation is different.
There are some things you should and shouldn’t do during the off season. Even though it sounds like an easy time, the off season is an important time. Believe it or not, things you do during the off season have a big influence on your next race season.
Spending your time on the couch for a whole month isn’t the right thing to do and neither is riding/working out like crazy.
I have had to learn it the hard way- I admit that. I’ve made mistakes during my past off seasons. Mainly because I can’t sit still and just like to be active. Resting can be hard too!
-Your last race of the season might be in the books for a while but keep riding! It is a good idea to get in some longer rides during September and even into October. Make use of the (hopefully) nice autumn weather and your good fitness from a summer of racing and training.
-The next step is to take a real break (2-3 weeks). After a long race season, it is important to rest your body and mind.
-It depends on when your first race will be in the new season, but your structured training should start again in November.
-The idea is to build up your fitness for next season step by step. Your coach should be able to provide you with a good plan that fits your needs and help you to prepare for next season.
-Next to riding your bike, this plan should also include strength and cross training. This is essential as it builds up full body strength that got lost during race season. Next to improving your fitness, it will also challenge your mobility and balance and helps to prevent injury.
Interested in a training plan, but not full on coaching? That’s ok! We have you covered. ALP Coach Coaching has created a 12-week off season training plan complete with strength training exercises, videos, and on bike cadence and leg speed drills. You will not find a more detailed and in depth 3 month training plan. The goal of this off season strength and training plan is to make you are more complete athlete with challenging full body strength and coordination exercises and workouts, and on the bike workouts to increase your leg speed, leg strength, and endurance. Check out the TrainingPeaks training plan here.
-Off season is the perfect time to work on your weaknesses (bike handling skills, leg speed, etc). Talk to your coach if he/she doesn’t already address this point!
-Work on your bike handling and riding skills. This can be very simple, go to an empty parking lot and set up some cones or water bottles. Work on skills like: picking up water bottles, cornering, track stands, bunny hopping, riding figure 8’s, taking off jackets, arm warmers etc., riding no-handed, 180 turns, the list goes on. Being able to master these skills will make you feel more comfortable on your bike and make you a better bike rider.
-If you have to adjust things, like your bike position (for example), use the off season to do it. The same counts for getting used to new shoes, new cleats, pedal systems, saddles. It is never a good idea to dial in or change important equipment once race season has started.
-Try to avoid weight gain in the off season. It is ok to enjoy some goodies but don’t overdo it. Being a little bit heavier during winter is no problem as long as you can lose it come spring time.
-Analyze your past race-season and set goals for the next season. Sit down and reflect on the past season, what went well, what went wrong and where can you improve or work on. Set your goals for next season and write them down.
As an ALP Cycles athlete, you will get a review and goals questionnaire. This helps us coaches a lot because feedback from our athletes is very important. We will go over the completed questionnaire and discuss the answers and options with our athletes. We do this because our goal is to make coaching even better for the approaching race season.
Enjoy your off season!