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After the Season is Before the Season

September 17, 2015

After the Season is Before the Season

Why you should keep working with your coach in the off-season.

by Patricia Schwager, ALP Cycles Coaching

The 2015 road racing season is coming to an end. A lot of racers start to think about the off-season and look forward to taking a break from training and taking time off the bike. Most do not want to think about racing or doing structured workouts. Many athletes don’t want to think about preparing for 2016 – it seems too far away. However, after the season, is before the season. The off-season is a very important time or part of the year, even if you are not competing during this time.

During the off-season, you can gain a lot by doing the right things, and this will help lead to a successful 2016. The goal of the off-season is to build upon all the hard work you did over the previous year. Doing the wrong things during the off-season/winter or letting training slide won’t improve your cycling or lead to better success than you had this year.

The first step in your off-season is to take a proper break off the bike. The reason for this time off the bike is, your body and mind need time to recover form racing, training and all the stress related to it. After 2-3 weeks off the bike, you will feel fresh, motivated, and excited to ride and to work hard to make yourself a better and faster bike rider.

After this post-season time off the bike, the next step is making a plan and structuring it through the winter months to make sure you are working on your weaknesses, getting stronger, building up fitness, improving skills, etc. Doing a good job in the winter months to prepare for the nest season is the key to success. If you only think about getting back into structured training in January, then you are already a big step behind. In order to have success, you need to have a year round plan and not one for only a few months of the year.

Making progress, making yourself better and stronger, and gaining confidence takes time and patience. You can’t cram great fitness in 3-4 months. A long term plan will pay off and help to reach your goals. Getting stronger simply takes time, there is no shortcut.

An important part of this long term planning is to have a plan that fits with the other things in your life, such as work, family, hobbies, weather, etc. It’s important to have someone that understands you, your lifestyle, and will guide you – this person is your coach. Working with a coach will make you better. Working with a coach for more than just one race-season will bring you a lot more benefits. It takes time to build the relationship between coach and athlete. Good communication between athlete and coach is the most important part in order to have success.

alp9.21Your coach has to get familiar with your routine, strengths, weaknesses, how much recovery you need and how much training-load can you handle. The demand that work, family, and other stresses places on you is another big factor too. The better and more detailed feedback an athlete can give, the easier it is for the coach to write a good training plan. After a season of working together, things should be dialed in. The best you can do now is to keep working with your coach over the off-season and into next season. Your coach can help you out with ideas on how to make you stronger and really work on things over the winter that you probably wouldn’t do on your own. The new race season will be even better because you and your coach can build upon the previous season. There is no new beginning because you and your coach know each other and understand each other.

All these facts will help you bring your performance a step higher!


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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

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, 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


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