Coaching: The best ways to approach your cycling in October

Posted on: October 2nd, 2017

coaching cycling October

While you don’t need to train flat out now, you do need to make the right choices with your approach. It is crucial you don’t fall into the pitfalls at this time of year because you might pay for it for a long time to come.

By Paddy Doran

Peak Endurance Coaching

Now that most riders have had a short break from racing and sportives, thoughts are turning to next year’s events.

So how can you make sure that you can be in the best form to achieve your goals for next season?


Typical approaches at this of year

1 The “Ah I’m wrecked after the season approach”

These riders decided “I’ll have a big long rest and recover, hang up the bike and hit the social scene. Late nights plenty of drink and wild living until January, then I’ll get lots of miles in”.

2 The “I’m going to take it really serious for next season” brigade

They begin training immediately the current season ends and try to retain and improve on the fitness gained. They assume a very strict lifestyle; no drink or late nights – live like a hermit and train like mad. Four nights on the turbo each week, intensive spin classes and lots of hard miles at the weekends

3 The “I’m going to celebrate, reflect and plan to improve” group.

They decide to plan for next season in a balanced and intelligent way. And they keep themselves fit with a progressive training plan and enjoy a balanced lifestyle.


The likely outcomes

Scenario 1: You might have a really enjoyable winter. But you will most likely lose most of your fitness and have a very poor season next year.

Scenario 2: Your head and body will probably be spent by mid-February at the latest. You’ll be lucky to be still racing in mid-March.

Scenario 3: This will give you a good chance of making improvements and achieving your goals
So you have decided which approach to take, what’s next?


How to plan, properly

When are you planning to peak? Let’s take the very popular Easter three-day races as an example.

That is now about six months away. So there is a lot of time to improve your fitness with progressive balanced training.

Plan now; try to get some coaching input from a coach or the experienced people in your club who might help you to develop a suitable programme.


Ideas for activities

Between now and January you can improve your general fitness and lay the foundations for strong performances when it matters.

This can be achieved by participating in other activities as well as the cycling discipline that you compete in.


Endurance cyclists

This includes road, MTB, track and sportive riders. In the early part of the winter – October November and December – you can vary training as much as possible. The ideal would be a mixture of some of the following.

Running, hill walking swimming, mountain biking, cyclocross and road cycling, indoor ball games, weights or circuit training.

Focus on the activities that you enjoy most and have the skill to participate in. Balance training with rest recovery and relaxation.

Plan a weekend or two away for a change of environment – road cycling or walking or go mountain biking. Ride mountain bike or cyclocross races but do not take them too seriously at this stage if your priority is to perform well during the summer months.

Go walking or running on forest trails or parks. Join an aerobics/circuit/weights or swimming class in your local gym or school.


Sprint cyclists

Riders training for sprint events like track sprint, kilometre, 500m TT or downhill mountain bikers will need to take a different approach with an emphasis on strength training to enhance power and speed development.

This should be carried out with an expert in the area of strength and conditioning.


To turbo or not to turbo?

Turbo trainer’s s are a very useful training tool when used well.

However, I can think of so many other ways of getting a workout that is more enjoyable and probably just as beneficial.

From December and January they certainly have their uses.

But I don’t see a great need to use them before then other than for track riders who may be competing on the international track scene during these months.

Turbo trainers can be quite boring, and in my experience riders who use them excessively often seem to have shorter seasons and more overtraining problems.

Joining a spinning class where there is a social element to the session is useful and more enjoyable than sitting in a room alone pedalling to nowhere.


Golden rules

Remember how you take care of yourself over the next few months is going to determine how you perform next season.

Insufficient build up during this period will result in poor and inconsistent performances next season.

Preparation for the big performances begins now.

Note: this article is written with junior and senior cyclists in mind.