As the chill of winter descends upon the mountains, cycling endurance athletes often find themselves transitioning into the off-season, a period often overlooked but critical for long-term success. While the temptation to lose a bit of focus, indulge at holiday gatherings, and to hibernate from training may be strong, this key downtime can be used as a golden opportunity.
At Boundless Coaching, we coach our athletes to embrace the seasonality of training and use the winter months to recharge, set new goals, and explore alternative training modalities. This proven approach helps keep the fire of motivation burning bright during the holiday season and into the 2024 season.
The off-season marks the perfect time for athletes to reflect on their achievements from the previous year and set new goals for the upcoming season. Whether it's conquering a new race or mastering an existing race, establishing clear objectives provides a roadmap for progress and keeps the flame of motivation alive. We recommend that our athletes reach for a goal that seems slightly out of reach, but within reason with proper training and motivation.
Variety is the spice of life, and the same holds true for training. Break the monotony by exploring different modalities like trail running, cross-country skiing, ski touring, and snowshoeing, and fat biking. Embracing adverse weather conditions not only enhances physical resilience but also fortifies mental toughness—a crucial asset for any endurance athlete.
Along with tackling new training modalities, also find time to get comfortable in the gym. Building strength is a cornerstone of any successful endurance athlete's regimen. Use the off-season to address weaknesses, enhance stability, and lay the foundation for a robust performance in the upcoming season.
Remember to focus on people in your life that support you through-out your training during the year. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, don't forget to prioritize family. The off-season is an opportune time to reset not just physically but also emotionally, strengthening bonds and drawing inspiration from loved ones.
Lastly, keep the flame of excitement burning by identifying an early-season race. Good examples include Unbound Gravel, Sea Otter Classic, and the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo (A classic 24 hour mountain bike event). Knowing that a goal lies just beyond the winter months can be a powerful motivator, propelling athletes through the toughest training days.
For Boundless athletes, the off-season is not a period of dormancy but a strategic phase to lay the foundation for future success. By setting goals, trying new techniques, managing stress, and embracing the spirit of the holidays, our athletes are poised to emerge from the winter stronger, more resilient, and ready to conquer the challenges that lie ahead.
About the Author:
Derek Murrow is a coach at Boundless Coaching. He has completed the Leadville 100 seven times along with countless other endurance events. He is passionate about helping athletes achieve their own individual goals, creating sustainable habits for improving overall healthspan for the long run, all while balancing busy family and work commitments.