The off-season can be a glorious time where we as athletes look towards the next season with great hope, we set goals, and we build a tremendous motivation to get perform well at our objective competitions. However, with less pressure to perform well every weekend an athlete has the ability to let their mind wander into new territories of what things they could potentially improve, and how to go about making those gains. In this short but powerful article, I've laid out my 4 Fundamentals to Practice This Off-Season, to help keep you on track, focusing on what's important so that you can have the best season of your life next year, on and off the bike.
Learn to Drive with Your Mind.
Practice riding proactively by making clear targets before your rides, and working to hit them during your rides. Too often people ride reactively, meaning they ride letting the elements dictate their efforts. Examples of this are joining group rides with the only plan of trying to NOT get dropped. Or looking at climbs as the places to ride hard and struggle, while looking at the flats and downhills as places to rest.
Prioritize Flooding and Clearing Lactate in Your Training.
Spend more of your training time focused on developing and refining your lactate flooding and clearing system. The key to cycling fitness performance is how you manage key amounts of lactate. Become familiar with the zones that you can rely on to clear lactate while still producing a lot of power. At the same time, also become familiar with the high lactate zones and how much time you can spend in them before you must return to the high power clearing zones.
Use Cadence to Ride Faster.
Too many people make the mistake of using faster cadence to ride slower. Get off the cadence hamster wheel! Cadence is not for entertainment. Mastering the art of cycling cadence, and learning which cadences to use when. Follow the FORM cadence rules to determine the right cadence for the right time: Higher cadence (90-100 rpm) to accelerate and lower cadence (70-80 rpm) to maintain speed. Let’s stop spinning on the cadence hamster wheel using lots of energy and going nowhere….fast.
Nutrition is to Fuel Growth.
Change your nutritional perspective to adding nutrition to improve your performance rather than restricting it. Stop trying to get leaner and faster by eating LESS. Focus on getting the right fuel at the right time and you will find yourself performing better AND getting leaner at the same time.
Okay, so now that you have a full understanding of what the 4 fundamentals are that you should be focusing on this off-season, and why, it's time to go out and crush those goals!
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This article was written by 15-year professional cyclist and top 10 finisher in the Tour de France, Coach Tom Danielson.