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By Jeff Kerkove, Team Topeak-Ergon US
The off-season is bitter sweet. Regardless of sport, it’s a time to recharge from the grueling season of regimented training, strict diet, extensive travel, and so on. Personally, when the season ends I feel like something is missing in my day-to-day. I’ve been on a program or focused on training a better part of 20-years now. I thrive on it...look forward to it. It’s a daily need, almost like a drug.
Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace the off-season making the most of the down time. Lasting anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months, this down time brings a moment to branch off and take on the other activities. Personally, I enjoy fly fishing, hiking, bikepacking, nordic skiing, riding with my wife and teammate Karen, and just lounging around.
Every cyclist will have his or her own way to recharge and get amped up for the coming riding season. Here are a few of my tips for making the most of the off-season.
Use this down time to not think about training, intervals, or having to ride. Leave the HR monitor and power meter at home. Ride when you feel like it and ride with others. For me this is where bikepacking, group rides, and adventure rides come into play.
Just because the heart of your season has come to an end, this isn’t a time to let the wheels fall off the fitness bus. Keep moving…whether that be on or off the bike. Take the time to recreate with others or partake in your other passions. Go for a hike. Maybe a trail run? How about the gym? Whatever gets you moving….go do it!
When you’re mentally ready, start thinking about the season to come. Start mapping out goals, events, and training. I like to think of it as “Prepare to prepare.” Map out what it will take to achieve your goals…whether that be a race goal, a charity-ride, knocking out your first century, or making it across Iowa during your first RAGBRAI.
Go out to dinner with friends and family. Have that second or third drink. Just eat a whole pizza? Who cares, you deserve it! Partake in the finer things in life. One part of recharging is being happy and enjoying simple pleasures. Enjoy yours!
Believe it or not, I’ve become wiser as I’ve aged. I’ve learned a lot from other athletes and coaches. Rest and recharging is import in mind, body, and spirit. Take this time to make your next season the best one yet!