The race season is coming so it’s time to get everything ready in the cycling pre-season to start with a bang. This episode covers 5 ways you can prepare your body and your mind, plus some skills for good measure.
We are building up to the road cycling race season almost everywhere in the world. Some riders are underway, while other have less than a few months to get cracking. While Feb is traditionally a low time in motivation, I thought a quick pre-season checkup would get you salivating for some racing.
Part of this is to also help you start the season right and get through your first race because you don’t want to be playing catch up once the season hits.
It’s also good for the countdown, to help you tick off weeks and count down the days. So to get you to the line as ready as ever. The big challenge here is being fit, but not being at your absolute peak form.
The first cycling races in the season are so difficult because you’re fit, just not race fit. Switching from solo or group rides at 30km/hr to cycling races at 40+ km/hr is not only a question of speed. It’s a paradigm shift from riding friendly group rides to entering a war on bikes. Let me explain: If you haven’t included high intensity intervals and riding in your training yet, you will very likely experience ‘lack of race speed’. And you will experience it the hard way.
You will never get the total intensity of races in training. you will want to be cranking out the short stuff – stepping it up in group rides and thinking about your first taper.
I’ve got 5 ways to make sure you’re ready in the cycling pre-season, and can hit it as strong as possible:
1. Weight training
Strength maintenance phase: 10-15 reps of 2-3 sets, once per week except for race weeks and the week before.
2. Race Fit
Coming off base will leave you with no time if any at race pace. Quadrant Analysis
3. Mental Prep
Getting your head in the right place. The beauty of a linear training model is that the intensity is built over time, allowing you to physiologically to adapt, but more importantly allowing your mind to wrap itself around what actually going on in the middle of your first few V02 Max sprints.
Same can sort of be said when it comes to the first few races of the season. The adjustment to getting your head back into race mode is usually a slow one – unless you’re a seasoned veteran that been there and done it all before. We can sometimes forget small things such patience or to never accelerate in undisturbed air.
Take some time to think about the last few races of your last season. Usually, by the end of the season, your mind is sharp, and your experience and race knowledge are sitting in your random access memory, not lost on your hard drive somewhere.
Pick out the 3 or 4 rules that worked for you at the end of last year. The way to cement these is by visualisation. A skill like any other – it takes time to perfect so start early.
4. Training Load
Match your training load to the race requirements. It may not be the same intensity, but it will get you through.
Hopefully, you listened to the skills podcast I recently did, but the off-season is a place to be thinking efficiency skills, but moving into race season what about the ones you need to stay with the bunch.
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Photo Credit: Appleyr on Flickr