Training Correctly during the off-season
For the road off-season, mountain biking is often the go-to place for roadies who want to maintain their conditioning in the fall and winter months. This can work if there are decent trails nearby. However Cycle-cross is another alternative, but I would caution on that one and decide if you want to train and compete CX or if you want to do that as a roadie. The trap allot of competitive road cyclist fall into is that they become equally competitive in the CX group, and bonk as the season for road gets started, or they just don’t last the season. If CX isn’t your primary discipline, and you still want to race, then go out there not to win, but to maintain condition simply.
However, for certain individuals, it may work out, but my experience and that of all the top European and international teams and the coaches that coach those riders, has led me to recommend as well as those coaches (without question) indoor cycle training mixed with indoor strength and conditioning is the way to go.
I recommend diversity in training that still includes the road bike – year round. It is important to have a break from competition after the road race season. The “off-season” program should consist of simple rides without breaking your body (or chasing those Strava KOM’s). Work on cadence and of course my area of skill, pedal smoothness. Start to work yourself or with a coach on your periodization plan, and start to consider what races or what goals (if your not racing) you want to meet on the bike. Maybe its just a matter of completing 3 BIG fondos for the year, or merely being able to hang with stronger riders on your weekend rides, OR simply just feeling stronger as a riding enthusiast.
So, Instead of mountain biking, cycle-cross, your off-season workouts could include various short indoor cycle trainer workouts, strength and core conditioning and light running. Naturally, I’m biased to the specific performance center for your indoor needs, but you can do your work at home. The benefit of coming to a performance center like Pro Bike FC is that you are working on your bike and being coached on riding skills, which means that not only are you going to stay conditioned, but your riding skills will continue to improve. I am a HUGE advocate to continued performance testing no matter what level rider you are. Get regular FTP tests as they are the best guide to understanding how you are improving and what zones you should be in.
Now, for all those spin cycles officious out there, don’t get mad, I’m not bagging on spin, but for the cyclist that wants to improve their cycling specific skill, then spin is not the way to go. It gives you great aerobic conditioning, but as we all know, you can have a very high aerobic capacity, but be a terrible rider. Riding is not just about being fit, it’s about learning to do it properly.
Roll on, Pedal Right and as usual, give us a calls at PBFC to chat about your cycling needs, no matter if your a cat 1 or a super keen cyclist, we love to hear, help and work with all skill levels.