The off-season can be paradoxical at times. One minute you’re glad to have some time off the bike to pursue other activities, like eating chocolate cake, and the next all you want to do is get back on the bike! After a long season skipping along to the, at times, monotonous beat of wake up – ride – sleep, it’s good to take some time out and get back to nature so to speak. Taking some time out can also give you some much-needed perspective on the season just passed. Was it as bad or as good as you thought, could you have done anything better?
As I have been my own coach this year, maintaining objectivity and self-evaluating myself has been important and at times very difficult. The basics of training haven’t been that complicated and it has been more a case of working out what does and does not work for me. The hard part comes when it isn’t working. Being honest and admitting something isn’t right and making a change can be tough when you’re ‘in the moment’. The off-season gives you the time to relax, regain perspective and finish the picture you’ve been painting all season. It’s also a great time to start sketching the outline for the coming season.
Of course it isn’t all serious work to be done. The off-season is a great time to engage in the aforementioned chocolate cake eating! And other indulgences that may have been lacking from your diet throughout the season. Guilt-free pizzas do taste the best. Doing random activities that you may have passed up during the season to ‘save the legs’ is also great at relaxing the mind and body. There does come a time when the bike gets dusted off but it doesn’t have to mean efforts and structured training. A few days or maybe weeks of cruisey rides that get you out on the trails and enjoying riding the bike again can be vitally important at laying a foundation for the next season.