2. Rest more 4. Polarize your training
The rest period for high-intensity sets should be lengthened. For example, an in-season workout of 6 x 5 minutes at threshold intensity might be designed with two minutes rest between each repetition. For the off-season, you can adjust this session to 2 to 3 x 5 minutes, with four or five minutes rest.
Maximum power intervals also have benefit in the off-season. For these workouts, full recovery is required, so adjusting the number of efforts will make these workouts appropriate during the off-season. 4 to 5 x 15 seconds of maximum effort is enough in the off-season to maintain neurological recruitment. Recover completely before you perform another interval. Your training at this time should either be hard or easy. (Polar opposites.) Riding tempo, or medium, efforts accumulates fatigue in the body and the nervous system, which you are trying to avoid during an off-season break. Design your indoor sessions to either be an easy, recovery session with some technical components or, if you want to do some intensity, a short, hard session with a lot of rest between efforts. You don’t have to ride with any intensity during your off-season break if you don’t feel like it, you can just rest and get back to training when you are ready. After all, the point of an off-season break is to rest. However, a little bit of intensity will keep you fit, work on your technique and keep it interesting. Do what feels good – just don’t do too much.
Melanie Mcquaid is a three-time Xterra world champion. She lives in Victoria.
Cycling gyms are a great place to help make indoor training more social