With the current cycling season soon to be behind us it’s time to focus our attention on how you can make next season a great one, and the process begins now.
December can be a strange month with the weather in most parts of the world (certainly the northern hemisphere) providing anything but optimal riding conditions. The months of December and January do however provide us with an excellent opportunity to lay down some plans for the season ahead. Of course if you’re fortunate to be reading this from further south, the advice can be used at any time of the year to suite your training and riding cycle.
We wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our coaching advice and experience with you to ensure that you get next season off to a great start and are able to train unhindered riding to the best of your abilities.
Why not make next season your best ever?
Can you remember a time when you last felt really fresh on your bike? In fact do you remember what freshness feels like at all any more?
We all love to ride, feel good, be fast and yep you guessed it beat those Strava segments along the way as well. The question is do we provide ourselves with adequate opportunity to recharge both mentally and physically allowing us to progress to a new level of fitness, speed and personal fulfilment during the following year.
Before we go any further it’s first important to expel at least one of the myths that prevents us from taking some time out. The main protagonist definitely seems to be that nagging inner voice telling us that we’ll loose much of our hard earned fitness during this time off of the bike. Well we are not going to lie to you, yes you will lose an element of your so called fitness during a little down time, however the upside of taking time out far outstrips the very temporary drop in fitness, being fresh wins every time. It can be helpful to know a few more facts about how we benefit from rest to silence those inner voices that are relentless in calling us to train just a little more when what we really need is rest.
We are creatures of habit and it’s easy to sit back and say, well I feel fine, like usual having ridden another 10,000km this year. In fact I feel just like I did earlier this year, there’s no change. Well perhaps a key point is hidden in that last sentence, “I feel just like I did earlier this year, there’s no change”. If we always feel how we perceive is usual, how do we actually know if we are going to get the maximum bang for our buck next season. Is it time to try some different this year?
I know what you’re thinking. But I just ride for fun, I don’t need to be better or faster next year, I’m happy just how I am! Well agreed there is no need to be better but from personal experience it seems rare to come across a cyclist that doesn’t not only get more fun out of cycling when they are in better shape, but also has an internal feeling of deep satisfaction as a result of achieving something that may previously been beyond reach. It’s important that our cycling delivers these feelings of self worth.
It’s at this point that recovery comes into play. It’s very difficult to ask things of your body if there’s still a hefty amount of fatigue lingering around from last seasons efforts. It can also be very tough early on during next seasons training to discover that you just can’t drive yourself as you did last time around because mentally you’ve not had time to refresh and prepare for those hard training efforts that will ensure you enjoy your season and events you have planned. So much of cycling comes down to being mentally fresh and focused so it’s very important to treat upstairs with the same respect as we would do our aching limbs.
Breaking the routine of training can be tough because we like patterns and structure making it hard to step away for even a short period of time. What have you got to lose right now? Give it a go, take a step back get some extra sleep, take time to do the things that you enjoy doing, give some other sports a go but keep it fun give yourself a break from any metrics and heart and power meters. Perhaps take this opportunity to introduce Yoga or Pilates into your routine especially if it’s of the restorative type to begin with.
Giving your body and mind some well deserved down time really will pay off in the longer term and will ensure you start next season fresh and fully motivated to achieve your goals. What have you got to lose?