TIME TO DO WORK
It’s January. The holidays are over. Your New Year resolutions are set in stone and your 2020 cyclocross racing goals are written down, too*. Cross season has been over for while and chances are you have taken a nice long break since you last crossed a finish line. Hopefully you’ve stuffed your face with a couple extra donuts and spent a few late nights doing things fast bike racers don’t do during the race season! If you’re the “type A” type and have kept the training throttle wide open since the last race…I’ve got news for you: you’re doing it wrong. An off-season break is very important. I won’t go in to the details as to why because there are folks out there who are way smarter than me who have already written at length about this topic. Google it or read this training tip here. If you haven’t taken a break yet you should.
Let’s assume you’ve taken a minimum of two weeks off from intense exercise. It is perfectly fine if your break was longer than four weeks. If it was less, no sweat, but let’s make sure you are mentally fresh to get back in the game. If you are not antsy to start exercising again then you likely need a longer break. How long? The answer will vary, but you’ll know when the time is right. Ask yourself, “Do I want to follow a training plan right now?” If the answer is yes, let’s giddy up and go!
At this point you have eight months to get ready for the next cyclocross season. That is quite a long time, however, the clock is ticking and if you don’t get started now you are missing out on a prime opportunity to build the right foundation for your best possible season. January through April is when you should be hitting the weight room, cross training and improving your flexibility. Now is the time to increase your overall strength that will certainly translate to more power, quicker recovery time, and injury prevention. All of this leads to better results, which only adds fuel to the fire to keep training and racing and also eliminates mental burnout.
If you want to be a better cross racer it begins in the gym with a strength-training program that should eventually incorporate flexibility, mobility and agility exercises. I can guarantee you, if executed properly; you will become stronger and faster. Getting good race results is an awesome cycle that will carry you through the whole season with excitement and positivity. But the work must start now.
For most of you this program will be the perfect plan to build the foundation for more serious on-the-bike training, summer racing and ultimately a successful cyclocross season. For others, this is a stellar framework for creating personalized plan with a coach. Either way, you need to start now if you want to have your best ‘cross season yet!
*If you haven’t written your goals down yet, you should!
About Brandon Dwight: Brandon was a professional mountain bike racer from 1999 – 2001 and professional cyclocross racer from 1999-2007. He is a four-time U.S. Masters National Cyclocross Champion. For more than a decade, Brandon has provided thousands of people with cyclocross skills and training advice. He lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two children.
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