Written by ALP Coach, Patricia Schwager
The “Mid-Season break” is a topic that is popular and often debated. Mid-Season break is a time to take (literally) a break from the daily training/ racing routines and usually occurs around June/July. Similar to “half-time” , it’s a time to re-set physically and mentally. The break can range from 5 - 10 days total in duration and means NO: structured trainings, racing, and a greater focus on non-athletic activity and other aspects of life that have been put on the back-burner over the focused months.
For many cyclists, the season is LONG, ranging from 6 - 11 months depending on the athlete. For some, it is achievable to plow through the season without a re-set, however it is not sustainable season after season (long-term). In my racing career, of the athletes who chose not to take the mid-season breaks (or couldn’t due to racing obligations), most everyone (myself included) was burned out by the end of the season. In most cases, the accumulation of training and racing without mid-season breaks year after year yields dangerous consequences ~ including the worse case scenario- burn-out and injury.
Some athletes can’t wait for the mid-season break, with a longing to put the bike away while a majority are nervous to take time off the bike for fear of losing fitness. There are numerous proven studies that show fitness won’t be lost within 10 days. Often times, cyclists come off the break faster, stronger and with no apparent loss of form.
A sample break might include: No riding bikes for 5 days (completely off the bike) with FUN, unstructured riding on the weekends (just ride!), easy non-bike activities during the week such as: yoga, walks, swimming hiking and camping, cruising to a local coffee shop …really anything that refreshes your perspective and makes you long to be back on the bike.
The Mid-season break is something very individual and should be discussed with your coach. Have a chat with your coach about planning in that mid season break.