Winter training, cross training…Keep it fun

My off season started earlier than many of my cycling friends’ off season. While there is still a few week of cyclocross left in the season, I decided to take a break earlier than I have in the past. I’m not racing into December (last race was mid-November), but I’m still training. Part of the off season is to take a break from your sport, in my case cycling. You don’t want to get burned out by being hardcore for 12 months of the year. You take a break because you need a break. In my case I continue to train, but I’m training much different than I have all season and different than I have in the past. I’ve incorporated running into my off season training. I’ve done this for a few different seasons:

  • to take a break from cycling
  • to “train” my legs for running (helps cyclocross too)
  • I actually feel good after a run
  • planning duathlon racing in 2012

As I’ve said in a previous post, I’m starting from scratch with my running. Start off easy and gradually work my way to longer distances and to getting faster. But I also need to make sure that I don’t lose my cycling legs. I’ve done a lot of research on training plans for run, for bike and for winter training…and there is a wealth of information out there. Many of the winter training plans have a common theme to them: go easy…lower intensity…don’t get burned out…incorporate other activities (xc ski, snowshoe, run). So, in addition to winter mountain biking or exercise bike, I’m mixing in treadmill running too. I have put together a training plan that I don’t think will get stale…3 days bike, 3 days run, alternating days. It might seem stale to some people, but for me, I need a structured plan during the winter months. It’s just to easy to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow”.

By splitting my time between bike and run, I can get a little creative with my training too. I can challenge myself to my own indoor duathlon with the occasional run/bike/run session…2 mile run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run. By using the exercise bike and treadmill, I can track both time and distance. Or, I can run an occasional 5K, each time trying for a personal best.
The bottom line is, keep things easy, stay motivated and mix up your activities. When winter is ending and spring is coming, then go out and start that hardcore training again.
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