I’ve followed a few plans and seen big fitness gains each time. I know the general consensus from the Sufferfest is that base training isn’t something you need to focus on and it’s just a case of choosing the plan that best matches your goal event.
I was curious as to recommendations for the offseason, though. I’m a roadie, and the plan I’ve spent most time with is the Hilly Gran Fondo plan which always leads to an improvement on all my metrics. I don’t race, and I ride purely because I love being on my bike and for the fitness benefit. I finish my current plan at the end of September and wondered what the recommendation would be for someone like me who wants to continue to get fitter, drop some weight, and to get outside on my bike.
All purpose road? All purpose road x2? Should I include strength/yoga? Should I build my own plan using building blocks?
Open to suggestions, Thanks!
Let me start my post by saying: I’m not a coach and can only speak from my limited personal experiences as a hobby athlete.
It’s great to hear that your previous plans left you with some awesome gains to show. Before you jump right back into the next plan, ask yourself if you need a break or not.
Doing too many plans back to back could hurt your progress and highten your risk for injury and/or burn-out. As my own guide (can’t remember where I got the idea from), I like to schedule:
- 1 day off a week
- 1 week off every three month
- 1 month off every year
This doesn’t mean you have to stop being active; consider alternative sports and crosstraining.
Offseason absolutely screams Strength/Yoga and Mental Toughness. All three will help you become a better and more well rounded athlete. I think it’s a good idea to shift your focus a bit and let these three be a big part of your next training plan. You will come back even stronger.
May I even play devils advocate? I understand many users here are cyclists at heart, but I can’t help but pitch another idea; Try a low volume triathlon plan and do some cross-training. If you don’t like to swim, switch it for some golf, or ski, or… whatever.
If you don’t want to trade your bike sessions for something else, that’s totally cool. I absolutely love the All-Purpose-Road plan (again, with strength, yoga and mtp).
You can’t go wrong with this.
Alternative: May I point you to the Knighthood-Prep-Plan?
Please let us know which path you choose. Can’t wait to hear how you will proceed.
@Grant I primarily ride MTB but if you want to mix it up, try the building blocks. Also I found the Volcano climbing program to be very beneficial.
If this is the first month of the “Off Season” do what the Pros do: take a vacation from your bike. This doesn’t mean leaving it in the corner. It means “do other things”. Like take a hike, go swimming, work on strength (the SUF has an excellent program for cyclists). It does NOT mean sitting around drinking IPAs and downing a box of donuts! It does mean introducing yourself to the Yogini, Abi and her wonderful world of Yoga.
In the Second month you start to return to training. This means a FRESH Half or Full. Then pick the plan that best matches your A ride for next year with some distance riding thrown in. FF Prep followed by All Purpose Road or a four week block would work best.
Third month and beyond. Train for you A ride. If its a long sportive, use a 100 mile program. If its a longish gravel ride, 100 or 200 mile gravel program. Don’t stop doing Strength and Yoga.
Off season offers a great opportunity to give other activities a go. Personally I take up running a bit, as I don’t have to worry about the initial DOMS affecting my cycling. Likewise this is a good reason to start up strength training. Being a new stimulus, and incorporating eccentric muscle loading, initially you will experience more DOMS. However, after a few weeks that should subside and by that point you may be ready to start up a cycling programme again but at this point you can incorporate strength training into your programme as well. With the new stimulus added, as well as strength training helping to promote fat loss due to increased muscle mass, this could really help you towards your fitness and fat loss goals. I say fat loss rather than weight loss, as gaining muscle may mean no net weight loss, but will likely result in greater power output so watts per kilogram increase