How to Avoid Overtraining at the Beginning of the Season

The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer—signs that for most cyclists, race season is drawing closer. After months of being confined to basement trainer sessions, the sunshine can cause many riders to inadvertently increase their training too quickly.

Riders commonly slack off in winter. Once the snow melts and the weather warms, the temptation to try to regain last year's fitness as soon as possible can be difficult. Yes, you should take advantage of the more pleasant weather, but doing too much too soon can negatively impact the rest of your season.

To get back in shape the right way, use these four tips to gradually increase your mileage so you can avoid injury and stay sharp throughout the year.

More: What is Overtraining Syndrome?

Increase Your Training Load Gradually

Generally, it's recommended that you increase training load no more than 10 percent each week. For less experienced cyclists, it might be a safer option to follow a five to eight percent increase. Because training load is a product of training volume and intensity, it can be difficult to calculate.

The type of training you do has an impact on how much you should increase your mileage too. Riding eight hours in a week in zones 1 to 2 is very different from riding eight hours with VO2 max intervals sprinkled into the mix.

By using a Performance Manager Chart and by monitoring both your acute (short term) and chronic (long term) training load, you can take both volume and intensity into account when increasing your training.

More: How to Prevent the 6 Most Common Cycling Injuries

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About the Author

Elizabeth Martin

Elizabeth Martin earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado. She joined her school's club cycling team in 2008 and has experience racing road, track and cyclocross. She is a certified USA Cycling coach and American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and is currently working as a cycling coach for Zoom Performance in Des Moines, Iowa. She enjoys helping individuals of all abilities reach the next level. Visit her website at Getzoomperformance.com

Elizabeth Martin earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado. She joined her school's club cycling team in 2008 and has experience racing road, track and cyclocross. She is a certified USA Cycling coach and American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and is currently working as a cycling coach for Zoom Performance in Des Moines, Iowa. She enjoys helping individuals of all abilities reach the next level. Visit her website at Getzoomperformance.com

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