The season is coming to an end. The final races are on the schedule, the Training is already being reduced or limited to the bare essentials. But Recovery is in prospect: the transition period (ÜP). It represents the link between the competitions of the past season and the preparation for the coming season. Anyone who has perhaps already competed in the first races in March, or who has travelled from race to race on weekends over the summer, is now looking forward to putting their legs up for a few weeks and leaving behind the - hopefully pleasant - stress of the past months. This is exactly the idea behind the transition period: mental and physical regeneration.
However, it is not easy for everyone to drop the discipline that has dominated the past months from one week to the next. Body and mind are used to regular exercise, many people's legs start to tingle again after less than two weeks and the head demands physical activity.
At this point at the latest, a big question arises: how should we train now? This is a question that divides the minds, because the possibilities are very contradictory: try to keep your shape, or consciously lose shape and thus possibly recover more lastingly?
If you decide to keep the shape with the wheel, there are again different approaches to choose from:
Continue training on the road as usual. This way little form is lost and the training is very specific. However, it doesn't hurt to bring some variety into the training routine and to develop some mental distance to racing. Furthermore, not everyone lives in a region with such a favourable climate that year-round training on the road is possible.
Furthermore, the cross-country season is approaching. Why not - with reduced volumes during the week, some running training and high-intensity races at the weekend - try to preserve or improve your form? After all, cross-country racing started out as winter training for road racers and only later developed into a discipline in its own right. So the training would be very similar to that of the road season - an advantage because you don't have to worry about how to convert the trained skills into performance on the bike. Furthermore, riding off-road trains the riding technique to a great extent.
HIT (High Intensity Interval Training)the buzzword of the past years. The idea is to maintain the best possible form with a greatly reduced amount of training. With intensive intervals - ideally in block form - the following training Threshold performance and anaerobic capacity maintained at a high level. Various recent studies prove that this approach can work. A few of these studies even show that this approach can Basic endurance developed. And all this in about half the usual time. To a large extent, this is also in line with the approach of cross-country training, because here exactly the stresses and strains occur that are HIT Training can be applied. However, of course, not specifically controlled, but rather designed as a driving game.
However, this is of course in marked contrast to the widespread view that the transition and preparation period should focus on the Basic endurance ...should be training. But exactly here we are at the point that has been discussed more often lately: does training the Basic endurance also automatically training in basic endurance range 1 (GA1)? Or can the effect also be achieved by training in other areas?
If one decides to take the other approach, i.e. one can live with a certain loss of form, one follows the "classic" approach of the transition period. On the one hand, this approach includes targeted training of the individual skills EnduranceOn the other hand, the work on this complex of abilities in the form of balancing sport. One should always keep in mind that this phase is the ideal time to work on deficits or prevent them. Because right now you should have the necessary time and peace and quiet to incorporate such habits, which are very helpful in the long term, into your everyday life. It is ideal to choose sports that are not only fun for the individual, but also require many asymmetric movements and thus offer a balance to cycling as an extremely symmetrical sport.
"Possible deficits", "prevent", many cyclists should spontaneously think of these keywords in their Trunk Musculature think. Anyone who has had the experience of back pain in the past weeks and months, or is in a "typical" cycling position (rounded back, shoulders pulled forward/up) when reading this article, should now start to change their posture in a physiologically beneficial way.
To conclude the cycling season mentally and in terms of the stress profile, team sports and setback games are a good way to end the season. On the one hand because of the often necessary physical confrontation, which sometimes places considerable demands on strength and willingness to assert oneself. On the other hand, however, neglected coordinative skills are also addressed - and last but not least, sports games are intensive training units that can be enormously fun, also because of the many participants.
But also other endurance sports lure with their charms. In addition to the "classics" of swimming and skiing, in the absence of snow you can also make the paths unsafe with scooters or skis. A popular option in temperate latitudes is also the participation in winter running series. This approach is not entirely dissimilar to "training through", but because of the different movements it is a pleasant change for some people.
Often neglected is also the Wheel technology. Wheelie riding may seem like a gimmick for BMX and MTB riders, but in fact the balance required for this is also positive on the road and in the race. Even emergency braking with the rear wheel taking off (stoppie) can be practiced well off-road with the appropriate wheel and create reserves for next year's races. Further suggestions for cycling technique training would be unicycling, general off-road riding with MTB or crosser, riding with fixed gear, riding with decoupled cranks (SmartCranks), cycling hockey, etc.
"Power" is an ability that can be derived from Cycling is spoken frequently. In fact, a lack of strength is rarely decisive for racing, as it can be compensated very well in road cycling - but a well-trained strength ability is never a disadvantage. If you think of growing muscle mountains with horror when you think of "strength training", you are not necessarily right - strength training can have positive effects even without significant muscle growth. For example, intensive strength training can significantly increase the proportion of muscle fibres that can be activated at will. But also the aspect of "muscle growth" feared by some cyclists can be used quite deliberately. After all, muscle mass is also a limiting factor for peak performance. However, if the ideal weight has not yet been reached at the beginning of the season due to the trained muscles, this would not be a cause for concern. The body is an excellent self-regulating system: underused muscles - non-functional muscle mass - are quickly reduced to the bare minimum during the competition period. Exactly this effect can be used in turn: start the season with a little excess muscle mass to build up a depot of Protein that can be removed without negatively affecting performance.
Since some muscle groups are hardly used when cycling, cyclists tend to develop unhealthy imbalances, as mentioned above. To counteract this, exercises for the trunk - or more modern: core - are often recommended, which is similar to the well-known Athletics training corresponds. However, the hull can also be trained very well with sports such as climbing and various other sports. If you want to focus more on the lower extremities, all variations of skiing are possible. You can also train relatively bike-specific in the weight room. The main exercises are leg press and leg curls on machines or knee bend and cross lifting with the barbell. In addition, bench press and pulling are also possible and the muscle loops relevant for cycling are already covered. However, one should prepare these strength exercises with intensive training of the stabilizing trunk muscles to prevent injuries. However, the transfer of the strength acquired in this way to the bike must again be consciously worked out, otherwise exactly the above-mentioned will happen - the muscles will be broken down again within a few weeks.
How you finally decide is of course up to you. The main thing is that after the transition period you are ready to prepare for the coming season. As you have already noticed, some of the suggestions are aimed at being continued in the following preparation periods, for example trunk and coordination training. In this way, the skills and abilities mentioned above will be further developed and maintained. Accordingly, it is advisable to keep these exercises or units during the season - and thus to loosen up the training a bit. In the coming year, this may result in training and racing being perceived as less stressful and actually being less stressful. This reduces the need for a recovery phase at the end of the season, or this phase can be used in a more relaxed manner.