From Coach Steve at Tri-ecoach.com
The goal for off-season is to stay fit but not work too hard at it! Your body and head need to recharge, and any physical problems you’ve dealt with in-season need to be resolved before you ramp up next spring. If you’re racing CX this fall you’ll really need a break! =)
Some of us who ‘can’t kick the habit’ still need to do some training every day even though race season is months away, and that’s OK. Skip most or all of your intensity work for a few months. Put in less time. Base fitness will not drop off much if you stay consistent. Attempting to maintain peak fitness through the off-season is not realistic and unwise. For those riders who need complete time off I recommend not going for more than 1-2 weeks with no training.
Reflect on your race season; what could have been better; what can you do to improve going forward? Perhaps your acceleration/sprint is a weakness and you need some time in the gym for core and weight work. Maybe your climbing is not great; you need to race lighter next season, so limiting the overdone holiday feeds is in order. Hit a scale every once in a while to keep it real.
Add some variety to your off-season training to keep it interesting. Pedaling is pedaling when you don’t need to be tuned to a race specific bike. Mix it up. Improve your bike-handling skills with time on a mountain bike off-road. When it gets cold and ugly on the trails and roads I’ll be on my mountain bike (on pavement) more than on the road bike. I’ll go slower on the MTB, so don’t get as cold, and my road bike doesn’t get trashed on messy roads.
Most riders will be weather and/or darkness limited on weekdays and have to do some pedaling indoors. There’s nothing wrong with jumping into a spin class to get the heart rate up a bit. Solo on a spin bike at the gym, no problem, there might be some ‘visual vitamins’ to keep you pedaling longer!Stationary bikes at home with music, video, Computrainer entertainment, it’s all good. Call me old school, but all I have for indoor pedaling at home are rollers. If you’ve never tried rollers, you should. They will tune your form to a degree you can’t get any other way.
Cross train: your aerobic system doesn’t know the difference between a pedaling session, XC-ski day, even a swim or run. Cross country skate ski is a Colorado favorite, engaging upper body muscles as well as abductors and adductors that don’t see much work on the bike. Whole body muscular fitness developed during off-season leaves you more balanced and less susceptible to injury in-season. All riders should do some core work year-round.
And of course I recommend hiring a coach to make your off-season productive! =)