It is coming. It sneaks up on us every year. That first race. We told ourselves that we were going to be ready. We drew up a plan, bought a new training journal, and made a list of goals. Unfortunately, the off season is filled with holidays, friends, family, and fatty foods. None of these things are truly bad. However they can put a hamper on our best laid plans.
With our friends and family requesting our presence, and commitments filling our time, training can be nearly impossible. This is a time when your own creativity can help you meet your goals.
The majority of cycling disciplines (at their core) rely on our aerobic engine. Training that engine should be a priority during the off season.
Below are some training tricks that can help you. Before you start, you will need to know your upcoming events and the longest duration (time, not distance) you will be competing. Find a date in the future that you will hit that longest duration (date of race) and work backwards, subtracting time trained at your aerobic capacity to the current date. For example, if I am planning to do a 3 hour road race in June, I will plan to ride 3 hours at maximum aerobic capacity in April and subtract 10 minutes every week till I get to the current date.
Block out your training: Find the times that will work best for your personal training. Sometimes that means you will miss your Saturday club ride. At certain times of the year I get up at 4:30 am to be on the the road by 5:15 am. This affords me two hours of uninterrupted training.
Do Doubles: Some days squeezing an hour in before work and adding 45 minutes on the trainer after the kids are in bed is the way to go.
Build a camp: If you have multiple days off and you need to work on climbing, get up early (being up early is good for meeting other obligations, too) and drive to an appropriate cycling terrain on consecutive days. If you build multiple camps over a period of two to three months, you will see your fitness grow by leaps and bounds.
Since the majority of cycling disciplines (at their core) rely on our aerobic engine, there are a multitude of alternative aerobic activities that can help us build our aerobic foundation. Go for a run, it's easy to get out the door quickly and be back before anyone notices your gone. Does your work have a gym or offer membership somewhere? Take a spin class or kettle bell class before work or at lunch.
Maximize your training time: If you are set on meeting specific goals, don't go do the epic ride with your buddies and stay away from the super slow ride that does not give you any training benefit.
If all else fails you can race into fitness. Make sure to adjust your goals, planning to do better the second half of the season. Don't stress, cycling calenders usually have a long season with multiple disciplines and lots of racing options.
Crank Cycling can build you a training plan and even offers cycling camps. Let us know how we can help you reach your goals
See you on the road, Coach Jesse