You read I Love Bicycling’s posts on training for an event, and you have been diligently doing your intervals as per Joe Friel’s recommendations. There’s no doubt that you are getting faster than your buddies. But you have a vacation coming up and you are stressing out that you’re going to lose all of your fitness.
Take a deep breath, and enjoy your family vacation. The break will help you prevent overtraining.
Cyclists Need a Pitstop
What if we approached rest during a season of training like F1 drivers approach pit stops? F1 drivers know that they will need to stop for fuel and a change of tires a couple of times throughout a race. Teams and drivers strategically plan for this. Reassure yourself that when you are taking a week off the bike, it is not necessarily a week of training lost.Your competitors will also have to take a week off at some point or another.
Think of a rest week as reducing your risk of injury instead of lost fitness.
If you get hit with a bad cold, you could easily be out two weeks. The bonus of taking a week off, is that your body will have had time to rest, recover and adapt to the previous week’s training load.
Routine Maintenance Off the Bike Mitigates Overtraining
Maintaining your body off the bike is extremely important both physically and mentally. Adding strength, mobility and stability through cross training mitigates the potential injuries that you might sustain if you are otherwise not committed on doing so.
ILB contributor Jem suggests that cross-training and time logged off the bike does not contribute to fitness on the bike– You will not find many people disputing this claim, but what is the cost to your fitness if you end up sick, injured or burnt-out as a result of neglecting other parts of your health and wellness?
Plan Your Mid-Season Breaks
If you plan for these breaks and are strategic about it, pitstops can win the race. Most of us have family, friends and obligations. Use vacations, weddings and other times that you may be forced off your bike as a mid-season pitstop. Try and slowly build intensity and duration of your training up until you go on vacation. That way when you are visiting museums, broadway shows or sitting on the beach enjoying an afternoon snooze you won’t feel so guilty.
Training is like money in the bank. Everyone is saving, and everyone is constantly banking fitness so taking time off the bike is hard. Follow these four easy steps to avoid burnout and enjoy your vacations:
Step 1: Maintain your body throughout the season
Step 2: Listen to yourself and your body
Step 3: Plan your training around specific events during the year
Step 4: Stick to the plan or make small adjustments to avoid burnout