Some cyclists may look at the off-season as the time of year to kick back and wait for next season to roll around. However you shouldn’t completely waste this time, as there are a number of useful activities which will see you refreshed and ready to go when January arrives.
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It may seem bizarre that we are recommending you try a different sport, however a new challenge can really help refresh you psychologically. It can also maintain your cardiovascular fitness over the winter months when riding your bike may not be as appealing.
However it’s important to remember that despite having pre-existing fitness levels from the bike, certain areas of your body may not be prepared for the stress that other sports bring. This is especially prevalent when running, so make sure you take it easy and build up the intensity slowly and try running off road where possible to alleviate the stress on joints and muscles.
Core and flexibility
If running proves too brutal on your tender cycling frame then improving your flexibility and core strength may well be the way to go. It’s likely you didn’t set much time aside during the season to incorporate some yoga or pilates into your week. Not only will these activities improve your flexibility but also develop your core stability, which can be especially beneficial for maintaining an efficient pedalling technique and holding a strong aerodynamic position when on the bike.
Don’t stop riding
You shouldn’t completely abandon the bike during the off-season, with two weeks completely off the bike seeing notable performance losses. It is more of a case of altering the type of rides you are doing so you are able to peak for the following year. Remember it is the off-season, not pre-season just yet, so don’t burn yourself out too early.
Leave the bike computer at home
This may be a completely insane for some cyclists to hear, but not tracking every watt pushed and every kilometre covered during a ride can be really beneficial.
Even if its just for one ride a week, the off-season is the ideal opportunity to let some of the tech go and enjoy riding a bike for the reasons you got into the sport in the first place. Lets face it, your physical condition and the winter weather won’t exactly be conducive for gaining that Strava KOM either.
Rest and recovery
Just as important as mixing up your physical activity during the off-season, is also taking a break from sport altogether to rest up. It’s not just a case of solely resting weary muscles and bones, as it is just important for your mind. Don’t forget that rest days are just as important during the season itself, as the body makes its physiological adaptations and improvements when recovering.
Start planning for next season
If you can’t wait to get back on the bike, planning how you are going to structure next years training and racing schedule is a great use of time. It is also a great time of year to scout out training camp or cycling holiday locations as well looking back at the previous years training to see what worked and what didn’t.