Off-season Training?

The race season ended for me on November 11, when I raced the Sunflower Cyclocross event. I planned to keep racing through the winter but work imploded, taking all of my focus from racing. I decided at that point that I would park the bike and start an off-season routine. So far, that has consisted of regular resistance training and very little cardio. I tried to continue the running program I was following for ‘cross, but running was causing too much knee pain. I’m able to run 2-3 miles, but anything more is too much. Twenty minutes barely constitutes a cardio program…

I typically park the bike for a several weeks each year to allow a mental reset. The rigors of a highly structured training program really wear me down. I’ve experimented with duration ranging from 3 months to 3 weeks. The latter was not enough, resulting in loss of focus midway through the season. That year, my racing ended in May!

While searching the Internet for ideas, I ran across and interesting article by Chris Carmichael. Essentially, his point is there should be no off season. Instead, cyclists should have a short period of unstructured training, built around general goals, such as total riding hours per week. This approach allows athletes to retain a high percentage of fitness while eliminating the stresses of a regimented routine.

Sounds interesting. So much so I plan to add 3 days of cycling to my weekly schedule. I will ride on T, TH, and Sat and, following Carmichael’s plan, I won’t have a specific routine. I plan to focus on LSD of 60-90 minutes, spinning technique including one-legged spinning, and spin-ups (110 to 175 RPM then back to 110). LSD will hopefully be performed outside and the more specific drill inside on the trainer.

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