Mid-Season Training Breaks for Cycling

The Importance of Cycling's Mid-Season Break

Skip a mid-season break and risk burnout

by Patricia Schwager, ALP Cycles Coaching

The "Mid-Season break" is a topic that is popular and often debated.

The mid-season break is a time to (literally) take a break from the daily training/racing routines and usually occurs around June/July. Similar to "half-time", it's a time to re-set physically and mentally. The break can range from 5 - 10 days total in duration and means NO: structured training, racing, and a greater focus on non-athletic activity and other aspects of life that have been put on the back-burner over the focused months.

For many cyclists, the season is LONG, ranging from 6-11 months depending on the athlete. For some, it is achievable to plow through the season without a re-set, however, it is not sustainable season after season (long-term). In my racing career, of the athletes who chose not to take the mid-season breaks (or couldn't due to racing obligations), most everyone (myself included) was burned out by the end of the season. In most cases, the accumulation of training and racing without mid-season breaks year after year yields dangerous consequences - including the worst-case scenario - burn-out and injury.

 Some athletes can't wait for the mid-season break, with a longing to put the bike away while a majority are nervous to take time off the bike for fear of losing fitness. There are numerous proven studies that show fitness won't be lost within 10 days. Often times, cyclists come off the break faster, stronger and with no apparent loss of form. 

A sample break might include: No riding bikes for 5 days (completely off the bike) with FUN, unstructured riding on the weekends (just ride!), easy non-bike activities during the week such as yoga, walks, swimming, hiking, camping, cruising to a local coffee shop...really anything that refreshes your perspective and makes you long to be back on the bike. 

The Mid-season break is something very individual and should be discussed with your coach. Have a chat with your coach about planning in that mid-season break.

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Patricia Schwager began cycling in 1998, racing as a junior. After racing on the domestic level and completing her Diploma as Pastry Chef, she got her first pro contract in 2006. 2015 will be here 10th year of professional racing. Patricia has a lot of experience racing in the European peloton. In 2013 she started working with Shawn Heidgen (Current ALP Cycles Coach) as her personal coach. In 2014 she changed her focus to racing in the US. Patricia is a 6 time national Swiss champion and has represented her home country, Switzerland, at the World Championships 12 times.

For 2015, Patricia will race for Team Tibco. Along with racing she’s looking to share and pass on her knowledge in her new role as an ALP Cycles Coach. Visit her online at http://patriciaschwager.com