I was catching up with my sports nutrition coach, Kelli Jennings at Apex Nutrition, this week and I wrote about getting stuck in ruts and it inspired this article. I hope it helps you to make profound changes in your off-season! One quick reminder before I jump into this list I want to remind both competitive and recreational cyclists, runners and multisport athletes that the most important training you will do all season begins now! Welcome to the Off-Season.
10. Buy a new bike or Upgrade the bike you have
- I am only half joking when I recommend buying a new bike. I know its a big investment but there is nothing like the motivation that comes with purchasing a new bike. If you have been putting in the time training consistently it maybe that the bike you are riding isn’t the right one for you. The off-season is an excellent time to buy a bike as many Local Bike Stores are not selling much due to colder weather. If you can’t afford a new bike how about a set of new wheels or even tires. You might be surprised how a new set of wheels and tires can improve how your bike feels when your training.
09. Try something new
- If you have been using the same training plans and regimens season after season its time to shake it up. If your a cyclist try running this off-season. Take up yoga or a Martial Art like Tae Kwan Do. Both of will develop flexibility, functional strength and give you something new to do. Basically get out of your comfort zone and do something new and active. Couch potatoes and stagnate athletes don’t win races.
08. Register for an event or race you have never done before
- Nothing like registering for that first race to get motivated quickly! Been racing for awhile but not sure what to do next? Register for a state, regional, national or world championship event. Then tell your friends that you are registered and what you hope to accomplish. You would be surprised what fear of embarrassment can do for training motivation.
07. Get outside!
- Don’t be afraid to get outside to train this winter. Just make sure you dress appropriately and bring friends who are willing to suffer with you. Actually training outdoors in the winter can be fun and you will burn more calories due to the cold. Besides a trainer and treadmill are poor substitutes to training outdoors.
06. Ride More, Run More
- With all of the modern training methods and plans there is NO substitute for miles. Look at how much you rode last winter and add 20%-30% more time to this years schedule. It will pay off big time come this spring. Just adding 5-10 minutes to each of your workouts could mean the difference between 1st and 3rd place.
05. Hit the gym
- Don’t be afraid to lift weights. Strength training has become more and more popular with coaches and sports scientist in the last couple of decades. Just make sure that you use multi-joint exercises, low weight, high reps and high sets. Remember your an endurance athlete not a body builder so keep your gym time limited to 2-3 a week for 30 minutes to no more than an hour per visit. Also add core work out using stability balls, body weight and yoga poses that mimic the types of movements that you will face when riding or running.
04. Don’t be afraid to train with intensity
- Common practice for all endurance athletes is to take it easy in the off-season but still train consistently and plod out the miles. If you are like many amateurs and have limited time you must ride and run in zones 3-4 at least once a week in the first couple of months in the off-season to develop the fitness you are going to need to compete come this spring.
03. Plan The Work and Plan the Work
- Very few people are successful by wingin’ it. Take the time to learn how plan your training to peak for big events and races. Not sure this is something you want to take the time to learn? Purchase a training plan. Training plans can really help organize your work and take the guess work out what you should be doing and how hard you should be training.
02. Train consistently and with purpose
- Training consistently is the most important thing you can do as a endurance athlete that wants to see improvement. Taking a day off here in there will impact your performance over time. This does not mean that you go out and try to hammer out hard work out after hard work out. This means that you work your plan and you finish what you started. Also go into each and every work out knowing what your goals are for that work out and for the season!
01. Hire A Coach
- If any of the above tips makes perfect sens but you are to busy to figure it out for yourself HIRE US! If you have never worked with a coach you are really missing out on a great learning experience! A coach can guide you, help you, motivate you, teach you and show you how to get you where you want to go as an athlete. Usually quicker than you will be able to do yourself.