At the beginning of the off-season it’s very important to stay active but away from the demands of training. Primarily for the concerns of over training. I look forward to this time as it gives me the opportunity to recharge my batteries and quit worrying about the demands of training and racing commitments.
I take about 2-4 weeks away from structured cycling training at the beginning of the off season. This doesn’t mean I stay off the bike. It just means I spend more time away from the bike.
To stay active I usually prescribe aerobic activity that keeps athletes on the move. Hiking, running, cross country skiing, swimming or any activity off the bike that elevates your heart rate. There are exceptions especially for those racing CX.
My 2 favorite activities are running and hiking. Running and hiking allow me to get outside, be active, raise my heart rate and support my competitive nature.
I know many masters athletes come to the sport of cycling due to lifelong running injuries and this is why I mentioned the other aerobic activities.
For those cyclists who have never been runners and would like to try running this off season then use the following tips to get yourself started.
- Go to a running store and get fitted to a great pair of running shoes.
- Warm up and stretch before and after your run. Stretch calves, quads, ham strings, shoulders, back and neck.
Get ready to go – Runner’s World
- Start of easy by following a couch to 5K program. You can also use a run walk program where each week you reduce the amount of time you walk and increase the amount of time you run by 5%.
- Form is very important in running to prevent injury. Run proud! This means you should be running up right. No slouching and no leaning forward.
- Your foot strike is important. When running the popularly held correct foot strike is that of a mid foot strike not heel toe. A mid foot strike is when you land evenly across the ball of your foot and then gently roll back to your heel.
Perfect running form – Runner’s World
If running doesn’t sound like something you want to try. And none of the other aerobic activities sound like something you want to try then go hiking.
- Just like with running it is strongly advised that you get fitted to a good pair of hiking boots/shoes before venturing out on to the trails in a ratty old pair of tennis shoes.
- Using the same form in hiking as in running will help make your hiking more enjoyable and limit your exposure to injury. Of course as in hiking there will be trails that require you to scramble over rocks, boulders and steep hills. In these cases you will need to lean forward to maintain balance.
So what it boils down to is getting outside enjoying the crisp fall air and staying active!
So at the beginning of your off season get outside, stay active and try something new!