Thanksgiving is next week, and Hanukkah and Christmas are not far away. This time of year many riders take an off-season break of a month or more and don’t even start thinking about riding plans for 2016 until after the New Year.
After the last big event of the season, even the pros take a few weeks off but by now they are training for 2016. The first UCI World Tour event, the Santos Tour Down Under, is January 20-25.
Although my clients aren’t pros, none of them just sit on their butts, watch football and eat too much this time of year! (I don’t, either.) After each client’s last event, the rider takes a few weeks away from formal training, but I encourage them to keep active on their own. By now each is doing pre-season training for 2016.
I’m not a harsh taskmaster. I give every client time off for each of his or her major holidays. Even if the rider wants to keep training, from now until January the client’s training plan includes specific breaks to spend considerable quality time with the family, because downtime and relaxation is important for all of us for both physical and mental well-being.
But it’s also important not to take the “off” in off-season literally and do absolutely nothing this time of year. I’ve come to realize that the off-season is really the PRE-season.
During this pre-season period, each client works on the following, with the specific workouts tailored to his or her needs:
- Building base aerobic endurance, the foundation for all the riding your do during the year.
- Developing an economical pedaling style through drills on the road or on the trainer.
- General strength training to prepare muscles, ligaments and tendons for power training come spring.
- Core strength exercises because the core is the fulcrum for powerful legs.
- Flexibility exercises to improve comfort on the bike.
- Cross-training for variety and fun.
To help you put together your own pre-season training I’ve written these eArticles:
Productive Off-Season Training This 27-page eArticle covers all of the above areas and combines them into two 12-week programs. Each program is in four-week blocks so you can adapt either to your schedule:
- Program for Health and Fitness Riders trains riders for 15- to 25-mile (25- to 40-kilometer) weekend rides by the end of the program.
- Program for Recreational Riders trains riders for 20- to 45-mile (30- to 70-km) weekend rides by the end of the program, with optional longer rides to prepare for 40- to 90-mile (60- to 145-km) rides in the Base phase.
Off-Season Conditioning Past 50 This 26-page eArticle includes:
- Review of the physiological effects of aging.
- Training modalities to combat these.
- 12-week off-season training program with a range of options.
The American College of Sports Medicine has specific recommendations for year-round exercise including aerobic fitness, strengthening muscles, building core strength and flexibility. The programs in both articles meet the ACSM recommendations.
Year-Round Cycling This 15-page eArticle covers equipment, clothing for different parts of your body, what to eat and drink, techniques for riding in sloppy conditions and more. It includes a section of resources with further information on many of the topics discussed.
I’ll be discussing pre-season training with George Thomas in an upcoming Over the Top Cycling podcast.
Remember: the off-season is really the pre-season!
Coach John Hughes earned coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. John’s cycling career includes course records in the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200-km randonnée and the Furnace Creek 508, a Race Across AMerica (RAAM) qualifier. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris. He has written nearly 30 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John's full bio.