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Winter/Off-Season Training - confused

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Winter/Off-Season Training - confused

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Old 10-31-05, 12:04 PM
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acrafton
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Winter/Off-Season Training - confused

So, I am wrapping my first season as a roadie and am very pleased with my progress but am really confused as to what to do for the next few months. I have read the horror stories of people that trained 'too hard' during the winter and then blew their season. I understand I need some down time both mentally and physically but not sure how much. I am not a racer and did not race but rode 100-160 miles per week consistently since last april and followed a training plan for a specific goal (improving century performance) and tracked performance over the summer.

So now what? Stop for a month, continue as is (and risk what). Get a coach. . .Very confused. . .

Adam
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Old 10-31-05, 12:24 PM
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While I suppose anything is possible, I never knew anyone to train too hard during the winter. Usually it's the reverse.

There's no reason at all you should stop. If you can keep riding, go ahead. 100-160 miles a week is a perfectly fine level of moderate excercise that won't put you in any danger of "overtraining". I only hope that I can manage that much.
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Old 10-31-05, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by acrafton
So, I am wrapping my first season as a roadie and am very pleased with my progress but am really confused as to what to do for the next few months. I have read the horror stories of people that trained 'too hard' during the winter and then blew their season. I understand I need some down time both mentally and physically but not sure how much. I am not a racer and did not race but rode 100-160 miles per week consistently since last april and followed a training plan for a specific goal (improving century performance) and tracked performance over the summer.

So now what? Stop for a month, continue as is (and risk what). Get a coach. . .Very confused. . .

Adam
Throughout the history of the world, most people engaged in hard physical labor every day of their lives. If they stopped to worry about "overtraining" they would have died. Today, we barely work hard at all. The average American, even an active one, is in no danger of chronic overtraining. To avoid it most of probably need only to eat well, get enough sleep, and occasionally cross train (walk, run, swim, row, dance, play basketball, etc.).

I think you have been reading a lot books and internet posts that are designed for elite professional athletes. That can be somewhat confusing. You might want to read stuff that is aimed at ordinary amateur athletes who are aiming for good performance and good fitness, not at elite athletes training for racing performance.
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Old 10-31-05, 01:53 PM
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I agree with lws. Most of us are in no danger of overtraining, if only because we don't have the time to do it! A lot of the books and internet posts are aimed at elite athletes, professionals and hardcore amateurs. These are people who devote enough time and intensity to their training to actually risk overtraining. This can be confusing to us normal amateur athletes. We ahve different goals and needs.

My unprofessional advice is to get enough sleep, good nutrition, and try to cross train occasionally. I'm 50 years old and ride more than you do. When I ride hard enough and long enough to seriously deplete my reserves, I might take a rest day or active recovery day.
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Old 10-31-05, 02:10 PM
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if you don't race then you don't really need to worry about peaking. a serious rec rider like yourself can keep a relatively high degree of conditioning year round.

because a competitive cyclist, for example, needs to reach a much higher degree of fitness while racing, it's very difficult to maintain that for months on end. plus if there aren't any races (i.e. off season) it's a lot of wasted effort to train like mad over the winter. that's why the focus changes to longer less intense rides. but they still ride.
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Old 10-31-05, 04:55 PM
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Ok - very helpful. But what of the articles/posts/books (including carmichaels) that prescribe several months of 'base building' prior to the start of the next season. I have a base. Do I need to let up and then rebuild it?
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Old 10-31-05, 05:33 PM
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Not at all. Indeed accumulating base miles is generally not considered hard training. Just ride.
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Old 10-31-05, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by acrafton
Ok - very helpful. But what of the articles/posts/books (including carmichaels) that prescribe several months of 'base building' prior to the start of the next season. I have a base. Do I need to let up and then rebuild it?
You're fine, don't worry about it, just go ride. Personally, I see more people dropping out due to mental "burnout" issues than physical. If you've raced 50-60 races this year, you're might ready for a mental break. That's due to the cyclical nature of racing. But if you've been making steady progress, no need to stop it now. If you're still feeling gung-ho and have good enough weather to ride, just do it.

BTW - monitoring resting-heartrate 1st thing in the morning will give you a clue to physical overtraining. If it stays low, you're fine.
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Old 10-31-05, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by acrafton
Ok - very helpful. But what of the articles/posts/books (including carmichaels) that prescribe several months of 'base building' prior to the start of the next season. I have a base. Do I need to let up and then rebuild it?
Heavens no! You want to hold on to that base and maintain it. My personal experience and my observations of pros recovering from injury, indicates that a base level of fitness can be built up over YEARS. Look at Lemond, coming back from a serious gunshot wound, or Armstrong's recovery. They couldn't have become world-class athletes again if they were really starting over from scratch. It's evident that the years of base they had built up, still stood them in good stead.
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