When athletes talk about the “off-season,” often terms such as base miles, long slow training (LST), endurance rides and others get tossed around. These terms have become a catch-all to describe the training during a time of year when cyclists take a break from race specificity, and prepare mentally and physically for the coming season.
The right amount of focus during the off-season leads to a quicker transition to race-specific training, as well as increased confidence in an athlete’s preparedness to execute that training.
Perform a Post-Season Analysis
When the race season has come to an end and it’s time for off-season preparation, a detailed post-season analysis is critical. Reviewing past races, workouts, and key metrics allows for time to reflect on the successes and possible shortcomings of the season.
This is the time when important questions should be asked. Were primary goals reached? Where do strengths and weaknesses lie? Are there any specific areas that should be a focus in the coming season? Answers to questions like these will help to inform the training prescription both during the off-season and in the early build periods.
The availability of individualized training metrics, as well as data from workouts and races, is tremendously helpful in allowing athletes to hone in on what went well and what didn’t during the past season.
The data can be used to help paint the full picture. A critical review of peak powers during races and key training blocks, power profiles, and the Performance Management Chart (PMC) are invaluable in learning how to improve the quality of one’s training from year to year.
This level of review also facilitates a look into the gaps in training and areas that would be most productive to focus on during the off-season. These gaps will be the foundation of a more informed and thoughtful off-season.