#secrettraining: Cyclocross Season is Over: Now What?!

The first item on your postseason agenda is to take a break. A real a two week with no bike kind of break. A break to do and eat what you want, when you want, how you want and with who you want, as long as it doesn’t involve pedaling a bicycle!

For most of you, the cyclocross season has been over for nearly a month now if not more. Hopefully, you took a nice break for a couple of weeks. If not, no worries. I’m sure you were taking it easy. If you weren’t, it might be good to take a week off the bike from any mid to high-intensity exercise.

Over the years when cyclocross season was wrapped up for me, I was usually quite cooked, both physically and mentally. I knew it was important to hang up the bike for a bit and do something else. I usually took up to two months off the bike. I even recall one season when I did not ride for three months. Sure, I would hike, run, lift and ski, but I did not pedal a bike at all. I created my own personal rule that I would not ride unless it was over 50 degrees and sunny with no wind. Talk about being a softie.

It was easy for me to take a few months off the bike because I was not racing on the road or trail in spring or summer. I knew I would have plenty of time to get back into better shape for the next cyclocross season. I feel like most riders who focus on cyclocross season should skip all formal training in January and February, and start a plan in March. Here is my suggestion: when the weather’s nice you should kit up and ride, but only if you want to. If the weather does not cooperate then do an easy run. Hike a trail. Go cross-country skiing. Get bendy in a yoga class. Drink another beer. Eat another donut. Just stay active for 3-5 hours a week. 

Besides staying active for a few hours a week, here are three things you should start incorporating into your weekly #secrettraing routine.

3 #SecretTrainings for February

1.) Planks - Have you ever seen a rider rocking back and forth while pedaling? They are either extremely fatigued (like at the end of a long race) or they have a weak core. For amateur riders, it’s generally the later. Start doing a short plank session after your exercise. A strong core means more power. Check out our guide to completing a 5-minute plank here >>

2.) Foundation - a strong back means more power and less risk of injury. I learned about Foundation training many years ago and bought Dr. Eric Goodman’s first DVD. I still use it frequently. It was a game changer for my troubled back. Do this 12-minute "routine every morning, no back pain ever".

3.) Strength + Mobility - Do some air squats and push-ups a few times a week after one of your cardio sessions. For example, after you get back from a ride or run do 3 sets of 20 air squats x 20 (or max) push-ups. For a great guide to how to an air squat check out this link. We suggest you start our slow and steady.

Additional Items on your To Do List:

1.) Fix any injuries or aches and pains your body has incurred over the season. You can’t get fitter and faster if you’re injured. Take care of it now while you can.

2.) Review your last season and make notes about what was good and what was bad. From equipment choices and tire pressures to race venues and results, it’s time to take note. Write down the good, the bad and the ugly. Then figure out what you need to do to make it all good.

3.) Write down all of your cyclocross racing strengths and all of your weaknesses. Next to each strength write down what you think you need to do to maintain or improve that strength. Do the same for the weaknesses column. I’ll touch on this as the year progresses.

4.) Write down your goals for the year. It could be to have your best result yet, bump up a racing category, lose 5 pounds or learn to bunny hop. Whatever it is, write it down. If you write it down, then it’s real.

For another perspective read this training tip on taking a post-season break from FasCat Coaching here.

Copyright 2018, SecretTraining

Every month there’ll be a new #secrettraining plan built upon the previous month(s) that puts to practice exactly what I’ll be preaching about here. If you’re just discovering #secrettraining and we are already a few months into the program, don’t worry. You can jump right in and we will help you get up to speed as quickly as possible. Remember it’s all about quality, not quantity 

About Frank Overton

Frank founded FasCat Coaching in 2002 and has been a full time cycling coach since 2004. His educational background includes a Masters degree in Physiology from North Carolina State University, pre-med from Hampden-Sydney College. Frank raced at a professional level on the road and mountain bike and currently competes as a "masters" level gravel and cyclocrosser. Professionally Frank comes from medical school spinal cord research and molecular biotechnology. However, to this day it is a dream come true for Frank to be able to help cyclists as a coach.

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