Sports exercise physiology books stress a period time while working with athletes from all sports spent doing “nothing” related to the sport. This period of time can be anywhere from a week to a 4 week cycle. Most don’t recommend more than a 3 or 4 week period of light to no training. This period of time is also for mental relaxation. This can mean the world after a long season of pressure in critical bike racing and century riding. For most road cyclist this period of time is somewhere between mid/late October and mid/late November. It all depends on when your first big race is. Thinking about a race a good four plus months out can mean the world and set the first goal of your season. Yes indeed, think abut next year’s racing. Once you have taken this “time off”, you should have planned or a coach should have planned your next year.
What do you do during a transition period? This is where some athletes go wrong from the beginning, either continuing to train and not stepping off the bike for a week or two, or taking way too much time away from exercise all together. I recommend, as a coach, to break up your time into segments. Let us say you are taking a 3 week transition period. Maybe the first week is off the bike and doing absolutely nothing related to exercise or cycling. The second week might be spent doing a few physical fun activities and a yoga class or two, but still no bike. The third week, you spin a few times, and start a strength program. By the fourth week, transition is officially over. You are back on the bike for shorter rides, you are strength training, and you might have a yoga class a few times a week. Use the transitioning period to build up to a full on regiment. Remember that once you are back training, it is going to be tough. The better base you build, the better your season will be. Finally, use this statement as a hypothetical scenario to add context to this all. If you could build a home in sand, mud, dirt, rocks or on a concrete slab, you would build it on the most solid foundation possible. You would build this base with intent to carry the structure for a long time. Think of your transition period as the prep work for the base period. A house built on a weak foundation crumbles, cracks, and gets swept away, but a home built on a strong solid surface may last for an eternity.
Head Coach The Lead Pack Cycling Group
USA Cycling certified coach