When the road season wraps up, and everyone in the cycling world becomes contemplative. Riders count their trophies, lick their wounds and think about what they can do better next year. The pros give one final push – fighting for contracts, hoping to nail an elusive win, or gaining the chance to represent their country at the World Championships.
The mind and body has a funny way of knowing when time is up. The nervous system shifts from sympathetic – fight or flight – to parasympathetic – rest and recover. Fatigue sets in, motivation disappears and the body goes into intense recovery mode.
Often at this point, coach Ben Day’s riders chose stop talking to him so regularly. Instead, they devote their stress-free time to their family and friends. The weight of pressure comes off of their shoulders and they indulge in forbidden foods, normally restricted activities and treat themselves to a drink or two.
Ben sees this as an essential part of the training process. You can’t keep pushing all the time and expect to get the same results from your training. Taking this step back and freshen up pays dividends in terms of form and commitment. The off-season is not an excuse to sit on your butt though – it’s actually a great time to do some homework and prepare for the next season.