By Swiss Miss, TrainingPeaks Certified, and ALP Coach Patricia Schwager
The 2015 road racing season is coming to an end. A lot of racers start to think about the off-season and look forward to taking a break from training and taking time off the bike. Most do not want to think about racing or doing structured workouts. Many athletes don’t want to think about preparing for 2016- it seems too far away. However, after the season, is before the season. The off-season is a very important time or part of the year, even if you are not competing during this time.
During the off-season, you can gain a lot by doing the right things, and this will help lead to a successful 2016. The goal of the off-season is to build upon all the hard work you did over the previous year. Doing the wrong things during the off-season/ winter or letting training slide won’t improve your cycling or lead to better success than you had this year.
The first step in your off-season is to take a proper break off the bike. The reason for this time off the bike is, your body and mind need time to recover from racing, training and all the stress related to it. After 2-3 weeks off the bike, you will feel fresh, motivated, and excited to ride and to work hard to make yourself a better and faster bike rider.
After this post-season time off the bike, the next step is making a plan and structuring it through the winter months to make sure you are working on your weaknesses, getting stronger, building up fitness, improving skills, etc. Doing a good job in the winter months to prepare for the next season is the key to success. If you only think about getting back into structured training in January, then you are already a big step behind. In order to have success, you need to have a year round plan and not one for only a few months of the year.
Making progress, making yourself better and stronger, and gaining confidence takes time and patience. You can’t cram great fitness in 3-4 months. A long term plan will pay off and help to reach your goals. Getting stronger simply takes time, there is no shortcut.
Want to meet and ride with ALP Cycles Coaching? Join ALP Coaches Alison and Patricia for an “open” ALP Ride -Saturday September 26th, 9am at the Boulder Justice Center. With the focus on climbing (and the third day of the Climbing Challenge), we will ride from Boulder to Eldora on a route that is sure to challenge comfort levels and provide a fun challenge. We will work on climbing technique and how to tackle steep dirt roads. This ride is open to ALP and non-ALP athletes. We will have water, Osmo, and ride snacks. We hope to see you.
An important part of this long term planning is to have a plan that fits with the other things in your life, such as work, family, hobbies, weather, etc. It’s important to have someone that understands you, your lifestyle, and will guide you- this person is your coach. Working with a coach will make you better. Working with a coach for more than just one race-season will bring you a lot more benefits. It takes time to build the relationship between coach and athlete. Good communication between athlete and coach is the most important part in order to have success.
Your coach has to get familiar with your routine, strengths, weaknesses, how much recovery you need and how much training-load you can handle. The demand that work, family, and other stresses places on you is another big factor too. The better and more detailed feedback an athlete can give, the easier it is for the coach to write a good training plan. After a season of working together, things should be dialed in.
The best you can do now is to keep working with your coach over the off-season and into next season. Your coach will keep you on track and make sure you are preparing right for the race-season. Your coach can help you out with ideas how to make you stronger and really work on things over the winter that you probably wouldn’t do on your own. The new race season will be even better because you and your coach can build upon the previous season. There is no new beginning because you and your coach know each other and understand each other.
All these facts will help you to bring your performance a step higher!
ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that it has 3 female coaches, Alison Powers, Jennifer Sharp, and Patricia Schwager. Each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person.
As an athlete of ALP Cycles Coaching, you will receive monthly training plans, phone calls, e-mail updates, and “hands on coaching” with athlete training rides and/or workout sessions. You also receive discounts toward ALP Cycles training camps, skills clinics, clothing, and race/team tactics lessons.