athletes · competition · cycling · training

On pacing yourself post holidays

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I loved this when it appeared in my Facebook newsfeed yesterday. I’ve got a timer running until spring.

86 days now and counting!

Most of us have lots of energy and enthusiasm for our spring racing goals and we’re ready to pounce once the December holidays are over.

But there’s a downside in going too hard and building too much fitness too soon.

Here’s an argument for pacing yourself:

“Right now though, with your motivation sky high, all you want to do is head into the basement get on the trainer and pound out some killer workouts to get that fitness up. Go time!

But hold on there, killer. Take a look at your objectives for the coming season. They are probably a good three, four or even five months away. Why do you want to be super fit now?

I often hear athletes telling me about all the awesome off-season training they are doing on the turbo trainer: “I’m on the trainer for hours, smashing it!” And where are they when we get to May, which is really the start of the competitive season for us in Canada? Burned out. No doubt about it: no matter how motivated you are, riding on the turbo is mentally taxing. Be careful not to burn up all that motivation in the off-season.

Plan out your season and use the winter to maintain your fitness and work on some weaknesses. Don’t use it as a time to tire yourself out. Bottle some of that motivation, store it up, and when that summer slump comes, remember how excited you were for the upcoming season. Your objectives are around the corner and now it really is go time!””

Cycling Magazine

I’ve done it both ways, started in spring super fit and also started off out of shape after a winter of not doing enough.

Recall I blogged about the advantages of fall riding, spring riding has corresponding disadvantages.

Racing season is ahead of us, rather than behind, and people can twitchy and competitive. Cyclists can be extra frisky and groups will have a huge range of fitness levels, from people who’ve been riding all winter to people haven’t touched their bikes in months.

Those who can go fast are wanting to speed ahead, and those who are struggling to keep up might not be in the best moods.

Winter can be a great time to focus on skill development rather than just brute fitness. Many cyclists also use the winter season for cross training and for building strength.

I’m going to cross country ski and run and snow shoe.

Enjoy the winter. Don’t rush it. And spring will soon be here!

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