Training & Nutrition - Conditioning in the off-season
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11-08-02, 11:28 AM
Which, for me, is now.
I don't race (mebbe try 1 next spring, I dunno), but in my on-going efforts to truly become a legend-in-my-own-mind, I ride pretty hard and try to improve most aspects of my cycling performance continually.
I was talking to some road racers who are all in "recovery mode" right now, and plan to remain so until January. It didn't occur to me to ask "why?" at the time (duh), so I'll ask here. To elaborate, they aren't completely slack, but they're mostly riding pretty easy, doing some Cyclocross racing, but apparently not really pushing it, or looking for gains. The focus is on maintenance, not improvement.
Anybody know what the thinking is, here? I can understand the mental need for a season of recovery, but is there also a physical benefit?
And in other news, Edmund Burke, dead of a heart attack at 53. He was cycling when it hit. :confused: :(
My understanding is that real racers work toward peaking for an event, series of events or a season. Absent that incentive, there is little reason to risk injury, physical burn-out or loss of interest in the off season. Maintenance however, does make sense since thay don't want to start their conditioning from scratch at the beginning of the season.
College kids do a lot of home study during the academic year. They may read a bit during summer break, but seldom cram for an exam in their core curiculum which won't come around until school is again in session.
That's how I understand it anyway.
As it was explained to me last weekend by some "recovering" racers, the idea of going slow (70% of max. HR) is to develop the cardiovascular system by helping the growth of new capillaries. The idea being that you work on developing a base level of conditioning the promotes the formation of new blood vessels prior to working on your strength and endurance.
I'm not a racer but that's what they were telling me.
11-08-02, 04:47 PM
There's an article on just this subject over on bike.com:
11-10-02, 08:16 PM
Thanks, guys. This is interesting stuff, and new to me. I'll give it a try and we'll see how it goes next winter/spring.
11-18-02, 10:26 PM
I am strictly a recreational rider, so I don't have a peak of my season. I am have just returned to cycling this season, and am thrilled with it. I am also thrilled with the level of cardio fitness that I have gained, and I don't want to lose it.
This brings up a few of my off season goals:
Indoor Cycling Classes twice a week
Weight training three times per week
Random cross training on the Elliptical Trainer or Stairmaster
Last year, I spent more time during the off season walking. I think I will spend more time with activities that will allow for a higher heart rate.
I think racers ride easy in the off season "just because". To race successfully, you have to train a bunch. You also have to train with intelligence and discipline. And you have to train hard. Well all of that is hard to sustain from an emotional perspective.
In the off season, a racer can unwind and just put in easy miles, enjoy the scenery and relax. Also I think they get out and realize why they love cycling. I think doing this is almost less important from a physical basis then an emotional one. It just gets hard to go out and drag your carcass out for yet another hard training ride.
I have seen people who trained hard all the time. They never seemed to stay in the sport long. After awhile, the bike becomes an instrument of torture.
For myself, I am a recreational rider. I realized that I would probably never make a dime off of riding. I get into pretty good shape at times. But I enjoy my rides. Sometimes it is FUN to go out and ride hard. When it isn't, I don't do it.
A couple of my cousins were successful competive swimmers - they got through college on scholarship. Well, if you know about swimming it means putting in 3-4 hours per day each and every day for years on end. Neither one even gets into the pool anymore. Swimming ceased to be anything but hard work for them long ago.
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