March 22, 2013
Year Round Development by Stephen Gallagher, Forme Coaching Head Coach.
Part of every cycling year is the usual ‘pre-season’ training followed by the ‘race season’, which is where you want to put into practice the hard work and developmental gains made during the off season. However, the time between race season and pre-season training is where you can potentially lose those gains or it can be a phase of major influence allowing you to again raise another ‘step’ or ‘level’ in your fitness.
This is often a time when motivation is lost to train and the effort of the previous months has taken its toll on your mental and physical ability to go out and do structured training. The key here is that you don’t need to have the same discipline or forethought in your training as in previous phases, nor do you need to have the intensity or duration. This is a phase of MAINTENANCE and continued, unstructured training that will help you find that new higher ‘peak’ fitness when race season comes round again.
So why do this?
A lot of people will come to the summer and autumn, hang their bike in the garage for 6 weeks, or longer sometimes, before dusting off the winter bike to get back into training. This starts your build up in fitness again at a lower level and will take you longer to reach fitness than if you had continued with a ‘maintenance’ phase. Also, your peak come race season may not be any different to last year. Why is that? The reason is that long lay off you had, losing many of the benefits built up over the past 6-8mths of dedication and sacrifice. What I am proposing is not overly scientific or structured, but a basic continuation of exercise or training during this down time post season.
Basic steps to take
- Maintain aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week.
- Continue a healthy lifestyle without it being obsessive. Excess weight gain and lowering of immune system can be detrimental come pre-season training phase.
- Stay injury free with new activities.
- Any exercise or training should be fun and without stress.
- Intensity can be continued to maintain fitness, but this must be controlled and not at an effort that will bring round large physiological or psychological strain to the athlete.
So, your objective at this time is to maintain a basic fitness that will help your body continue year round development and help you reach new heights in fitness come race time again, keeping exercise fun, unstructured and maintainable.
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Stephen Gallagher, the Forme Coaching Head Coach, is an Irish professional cyclist, who last rode for the British continental cycling team Sigma Sport-Specialized. He previously rode for the An Post-M.Donnelly-Grant Thornton-Sean Kelly Team team. His most notable wins include the FBD Rás Tour of Ireland in 2008, Tour of Taiwan and he has represented his country at the Commonwealth Games as part of the Road World Championship winning team.
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