Successful transition into the offseason-
Fall is approaching, the days are getting shorter and if you are like most racers around the country, you’ve probably hung up your race hoops for the year. The transitional period is upon us, or the time between your final race of the season and the start of preparations for next year. This period should be used to physically and mentally recharge from the demands of the race season, challenge the mind and body in new ways and reflect on the previous year to reevaluate your goals and execution. Let’s take a look at some tips on how to make the most of your transition time.
Refresh and recharge-
These is the time of year that your body and mind is pushing the limit of burnout. The race season is long and seems to start earlier and earlier each year. You’ve likely pushed through setbacks and have peaked two or three times and now is the time to catch your breath. Take at least three days off the bike following your last race to put your feet up and recover. Unless you are fortunate to live in a warmer climate, in the words of Game of Throne, winter is coming. Use this time of year to put in adventure miles, dust off the old mountain bike and hit the trails or jump into cyclocross race or two. You can go hard, just keep it unstructured and fun. This is the perfect season to use the last of your race season to rack up the Strava KoMs. Be sure to take a couple days completely off the bike during this period and if you feel fatigue building, make sure you reassess and recover. Once the weather starts to turn, I recommend taking at least two weeks off of riding completely. The best time to take off is usually between mid October to mid November, as this will give you plenty of time in the base phase for next year.
Taking some much-needed time off the bike can feel great and be much needed from a physiology perspective as well, but if you are like most cyclists, two weeks of inactivity will turn you stir crazy! While the bike is collecting cobwebs, this is a great time to pick up some other form of exercise. Cyclists are notorious for having low bone density, so add in some running or hiking to get some impact in, as well as fitness. Take a yoga class or two; not only will you improve your flexibility, but your stabilizing muscles and core will get a much-needed boost! Play a team sport such as a pickup game of basketball with some friends. Whatever it is, try to make it fun, new and challenging!
While taking time off the bike, you might find you suddenly have much more time on your hands. Take some of this time to reflect on your past season. Did you achieve all your race goals? What were your limiters? What were some of the good and bad aspects of your training this year and how can you improve for the following year? Take some time to answer these questions honestly and thoroughly. Use the answers as the compass for your road map when planning the following year.
Putting it all together-
The fall is for fun. Remember why you started racing and training in the first place and get back to your roots! Allow yourself to rest and pull your body away from the plummet towards burnout. Recover, have fun riding and the take a bit of time off. During that time off remember to stay active by implementing a new sport or hobby. Take a little bit of time to do some reflection and planning, it’ll make a huge difference when you start to think about next year’s preparation. By having a successful transition, you’ll be able to jump back into structured training feeling healthy and with newfound motivation!