Year Round Intensity to Maintain Gains
For most cyclists, the yearly amount of training isn’t enough to warrant a full off-season. Typically a few weeks of transition at the end of a competition/training season is enough to recharge the mental and physical batteries. This gives you some perspective and a chance to focus on other things for two or three weeks and then you can start training again with renewed enthusiasm. You worked hard to achieve your fitness, so you don’t want to throw it all away and then have to start over each fall/winter.
Even if cycling is your passion, a singular focus for 12 months can be a bit overwhelming. At the end of your season, take a few weeks to step away from the bike. You can use this time to reflect upon your season. Did you accomplish your goals? Did you have fun? What do you want to accomplish in the upcoming season? This is also a good time to tackle any projects you may have put off during the cycling season. This way you can start training again without these little tasks hanging over your head. At the end of this two to three week transition phase, you’ll be motivated and excited to ride your bike again, which is just what you want.
Aerobic Conditioning is Easy to Maintain
As you continue your training from year to year, it is relatively easy to maintain the endurance component of your fitness. The bulk of your riding throughout the year is spent riding at an aerobic intensity and this component of your fitness typically doesn’t decline much with the aging process. This comes in the form of long weekend rides, gran fondos, centuries and even races.
Use It or Lose It
On the other hand, high end fitness, lactate threshold and VO2 power, decline with age, so it’s important that we don’t take them for granted. With that in mind it’s important to consider mixing these types of intervals into your training throughout the year, even in the fall and winter. Historically, people have looked at these colder months as the time to focus on aerobic work. However, with less daylight and colder temperatures, most people spend the bulk of their training time indoors, so it makes sense to use that time efficiently. On top of that, you don’t want to lose all that progress you gained in the previous season, so fill your indoor training months with steady diet of lactate threshold and VO2 intervals and you’ll start the new season in fantastic shape.