September 30, 2019
by Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching
Summer is winding down and many parts of the country have already seen a shift of weather, signaling the end of a long road season and for others the start of cyclocross season. Whether you take a break now from structured training and racing or do it after cross, it's important to get the most out of your off-season. This is where the biggest gains can be made.
The off-season is an interesting term in itself. As a competitive athlete, do you really get down time? And is "off-season" the best way to describe this time of year? Are you really taking time "off"? TrainingPeaks refers to this time of year as the "transition phase", which is about 2-4 weeks in length when you do unstructured training as a means to recharge both mentally and physically. My husband, Benjamin Sharp (2012 United Stated Olympic Team Coach), refers to this time of year as training season, as compared to race season. Regardless of what you call it, the time of year where you take a break from competition and hit the reset button is a necessary part of the periodization process - especially if you want to continue to see improvement season after season.
So what exactly is the best thing to do over the off-season/transition phase or training session?
Address and rebuild your physiological profile. During the race season, it’s hard to gain fitness since you’re often racing and recovering. The training season is a great opportunity to get those foundation miles in and focus on the various energy systems you may neglect during the race season.
Address your nagging or lingering injuries. Do you have a little pain in your lower back/neck/shoulders/achilles/etc? Now is a great time to seek medical attention and give your tendons/muscles/body rest so that it can fully repair itself. Take the time to make an appointment with a physical therapist/bodyworker or doctor to get to the root of the issue and really dive in.
Lack motivation? Cross train! This is a great chance to run, hike, swim, practice yoga, strength train, cross country ski, or do basically any cardiovascular training.
Goal setting. What better time to take inventory of your 2019 season than now? What went well? What areas need work? Setting both process and outcome goals can help you stay motivated in the 2020 season and beyond.
Catch up with friends and family. Cycling can be all-consuming. You likely sacrificed some social engagements over the season. Make a point of spending time with your friends and family members without feeling like you have to fit some intervals in first.
Ben always says that everyone is making gains in the race season. But if you can go into the race season at a higher level by making improvements during the training season, you could be ahead of the game.
Commit to making 2020 your best season yet and come up with a solid training plan with your coach today.
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ABOUT ALISON POWERS
Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).
About ALP Cycles Coaching
ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Shawn Heidgen, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoach
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