Kick back to kick on: How to spot when you need to take a break
Pro rider Joe Laverick takes a look at why and when it's right to take a break and give our minds and bodies some rest
Autumn cyclocross, hill-climbs and e-racing might make it feel like the season never ends, but allowing yourself some off-season downtime should be top priority, insists Joe Laverick
Autumn is rolling in, the days are getting shorter, and the empty Belgian beer bottles have been swept tidy after a thrilling road world championships. There are only a few road events left on the calendar, meaning that the off-season is just around the corner. What to do next?
The best answer may well be nothing at all. Though you may not feel like you need it, taking an end-of-season break can reap big rewards in the long term. Toiling on through the off-season without a rest is, more often than not, a one-way ticket to burnout and/or overuse problems down the line.
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Consider my personal situation. For 11 months of the year, everywhere I go, my bike comes with me. I’m a full-time cyclist living most of the year in Girona in the northeast of Spain. Whether it’s a quick trip home to visit my family back in the UK, or just wanting to take a mini city break, pedalling always plays a part.
Being a pro cyclist isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life. I don’t have weekends, nor can I book a couple of weeks off in July to go on holiday. I’m not complaining – we have it pretty good. However, at some point, everyone needs to take a break. Both physically and mentally, taking a step back for a brief period of time can help you take multiple steps forwards in the future.
It’s not so very different for you, I suspect. Whether you’re a WorldTour racer or a sportive sensation, you dedicate a significant portion of your life to training and targeting a goal. This inevitably places you under a degree of physical and mental distress. Taking an end-of-season break helps release any built-up pressure, allowing you to relax and repair.
You can read the full article in the October 7 issue of Cycling Weekly - on sale now. Cycling Weekly magazine is available in store and online (free postage). You can also subscribe to Cycling Weekly and get great fitness features every week. Subscribing for three months means you save on the cover price and get it delivered to your door.
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Joe Laverick is a professional cyclist and freelance writer. Hailing from Grimsby but now living in Girona, Joe swapped his first love of football for two wheels in 2014 – the consequence of which has, he jokes, been spiralling out of control ever since. Proud of never having had a "proper job", Joe is aiming to keep it that way for as long as possible. He is also an unapologetic coffee snob.
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