With the Aus­tralian win­ter now on its way there tends to be a lull in the do­mes­tic race cal­en­dar and for many ath­letes it is a great time to take a break. The ‘Off Sea­son’ is def­i­nitely a nec­es­sary phase for ath­letes to sched­ule into their Sea­son plan in,

Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents - WorDS: JEnnI KInG Pho­ToS: roBErT Con­roY

The pe­riod of time spent in the off Sea­son phase will de­pend on a num­ber of fac­tors. If an ath­lete has been build­ing fit­ness for a ma­jor goal race over a long pe­riod of time and there are no more goal races for quite a while, then the ath­lete will ben­e­fit from an ex­tended time away from the bike. Some­times up to a month is nec­es­sary. As an ex­am­ple, the top GC rid­ers, who have trained for the Tour De France each year, gen­er­ally take quite an ex­tended break fol­low­ing the Tour, ne­ces­si­tated by a lengthy build-up and then a mas­sive over-load dur­ing the event it­self. on the other hand, ath­letes who have tar­geted sev­eral goal events scat­tered through­out the year usu­ally ben­e­fit more from regular ‘mini-breaks’ of a week or two fol­low­ing each of th­ese goal races. This ap­proach works well for those ath­letes who race both the Do­mes­tic Sea­son as well as head­ing over­seas for the In­ter­na­tional sea­son or who have 2-3 goal races spaced through the year. The off Sea­son is a per­fect time to catch up on all the things you might nor­mally not have the time and/or en­ergy for. For the younger ath­letes that I coach this will quite of­ten serve as time to ‘let their hair down’ a lit­tle and get out to some of those late night par­ties, with­out hav­ing to get up for an early morn­ing train­ing ses­sion the fol­low­ing day. For some of the older ath­letes it might sim­ply serve as more qual­ity time with the fam­ily. re­gard­less of what you choose to do dur­ing your off Sea­son, in my opin­ion it is an im­por­tant part of your an­nual plan, nec­es­sary to recharge bat­ter­ies and get that mo­ti­va­tion go­ing for the fol­low­ing Sea­son. Fol­low­ing a pe­riod of time com­pletely off the bike, it is best to sched­ule in an­other pe­riod of time eas­ing back into things slowly and in­clud­ing a lot less struc­ture than nor­mal. Most coaches will call this phase of train­ing ‘Gen­eral Prepa­ra­tion’. A good in­di­ca­tor of when it is time to start on this phase is when an ath­lete gets to the point of ac­tu­ally miss­ing their bike and crav­ing that feel­ing of push­ing the body once again.

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