It’s the 2nd half of January 2019 and for most of us mere mortals cyclocross season has been over for nearly a month now. 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 you’re not supposed to do. If you’re the “type A” type and have just kept the training throttle on full gas since the last race, I’ve got news for you: you’re doing it wrong.  An off-season break is important. I won’t go in to the details as to why because there are folks way smarter than me who have already written about this topic at length. Google it. Or read this training tip here.

If you haven’t taken a break yet you should. At this point in the year two weeks should be fine because even if you have been training hard, it’s still nothing compared to the physical and mental stress of race season.

Let’s assume you’ve taken a minimum of four 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 plan?” If the answer is yes and you’ve taken two weeks off: giddy up.

As mentioned previously it is now mid-January and you have a bit more than 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 have your best possible cyclocross season.  January thru April are the months you should be hitting the weight room, cross training and improving your flexibility. Now is the time to increase your overall strength that will translate to more and longer lasting power, increased 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.  Want to handle the bike better? That begins in the gym with yogaglo, our Nino’s circuit training and various other strength and mobility exercises. Getting good race results is a viciously 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!

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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