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Part of every cycling year is the usual 'pre-season' training followed by the ‘race season’, which is where you want to put into practice the hard work and developmental gains made during the off season. However, the time between race season and pre-season training is where you can potentially lose those gains or it can be a phase of major influence allowing you to again raise another ‘step’ or ‘level’ in your fitness.
This is often a time when motivation is lost to train and the effort of the previous months has taken its toll on your mental and physical ability to go out and do structured training. The key here is that you don’t need to have the same discipline or forethought in your training as in previous phases, nor do you need to have the intensity or duration. This is a phase of MAINTENANCE and continued, unstructured training that will help you find that new higher ‘peak’ fitness when race season comes round again.
A lot of people will come to the summer and autumn, hang their bike in the garage for 6 weeks, or longer sometimes, before dusting off the winter bike to get back into training. This starts your build up in fitness again at a lower level and will take you longer to reach fitness than if you had continued with a ‘maintenance’ phase. Also, your peak come race season may not be any different to last year. Why is that? The reason is that long lay off you had, losing many of the benefits built up over the past 6-8mths of dedication and sacrifice. What I am proposing is not overly scientific or structured, but a basic continuation of exercise or training during this down time post season.
So, your objective at this time is to maintain a basic fitness that will help your body continue year round development and help you reach new heights in fitness come race time again, keeping exercise fun, unstructured and maintainable.