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Don’t take the off-season literally. Instead, think of it as your pre-season. In fact, to make the most of your cycling, think of your entire cycling year in different seasons, says Coach John Hughes.
Here’s how he lays out the cycling year:
• Pre-season. (2-3 months) The purpose is to build general fitness after a short end-of-season break.
• Base Period. (3-4 months) The purpose is to continue to improve your endurance, capacity to transport oxygen, blood supply to muscles and ability to burn fat.
• Build Period. (1-2 months) The purpose is to increase power while maintaining an endurance base.
• Main Season. (3-6 months) The purpose is to enjoy riding and maintain the fitness, including the power you’ve built, and reach your goals.
• End-of-Season Break. (2-4 weeks) The purpose is to recover physically and psychologically from a year of cycling.
“What you should do during the pre-season depends on your cycling objectives, whether you ride primarily for your health or for recreation,” he says. “This eArticle is both for people who ride primarily for health and also those who ride for recreation. The eArticle describes different off-season activities and then combines these into:
• A 12-week off-season exercise program to keep you healthy during the winter months
• A 12-week, more intensive off-season program for recreational riders to build your endurance, power and speed, preparing for base training
For both groups of riders, Coach Hughes provides information on effective aerobic training, cross-training and indoor workouts that meet the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine. He also provides a detailed 12-week resistance training program, with the exercises illustrated on his website.
Like all of his eArticles, Coach Hughes’ 27-page Off-Season Training eArticle provides all of the information that you need for a productive off-season, structured into easy-to-follow 12-week programs.