Off Season or After Season. Reset and Refresh

Every athlete does their "off" season differently.  Some riders desperately need time completely off the bike at the end of the race season whereas some are still raring to go and you have to hold them back.

For me, I rarely feel the need for time completely off the bike, but I do enjoy letting athlete-me not be number one priority for a bit.  Because I stay in a winter climate over the winter I know I will get to do a tonne of skiing and cross training all winter.  The fall is when I actually get to ride my bike, usually a trail bike just for fun and without any prescribed structure or objectives.  

By changing the way, I ride I can still get the mental break I need as long as what I do is about fun and adventure not forced from a fear of losing form.  Losing form is a good thing.  Detraining a little enables us to build back to a higher point.

Typically, my season ends with the World Championships.  I take September and part of October as self-directed training, meaning I stay active, but take a break from structured training.  I call it “soul candy” training where you do what you want to do, when you want to do it and for as little or as long as you want each day.

The trouble with this type of off-season is that it can be easy for an athlete to actually do too much.  We tend to forget things like rest days when the weather is amazing or friend’s plans don’t follow your typical day off.  Perhaps a good guideline for rest is to make sure you take a day easy or off every 3-4 days and make sure you have 2 weeks that are well below your average training weeks.

When I do resume training, sometimes I feel like I am actually losing fitness for a couple weeks.  This can be on purpose. The focus of these weeks is just getting yourself back into a training routine, reintroducing different activities like running, gym and swimming while ensuring that you actually are rested and ready to resume harder training again.

The benefit of this type of active off season is that you maintain a decent base level of fitness so that you don’t spend 2 months training just to be fit enough to train hard again.  Also, it is a time to just remember why you started riding and racing, why you love it and, like me, to share what I do with my husband and friends.  For us riding is as much a lifestyle as work and the after season is a chance to ride without my training objectives taking priority.

If you’re an athlete that likes or needs a complete break, 2 weeks can do a lot to allow you to be mentally fresh and physically ready to resume a training routine.

How long you take off will depend on how long you need to build form for your first competition and to have the training base needed to allow you to train and maintain form throughout the race season. 

There is no one-right-way to off season as long as you enter training excited, rested and physically ready to train. 

In the mean time Hike, Bike, Explore, Camp, whatever you love.  Get inspired and try something new!




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