Once again we are heading into the off-season with reduced daylight hours, weather changes, holidays, etc. On top of that, many of us work a 9-5 day making it difficult to get outdoors, regardless of whether you are in sunny Southern California or snowy New England. The challenge, now even as it was in the late 80's when I was on the National Team, was to to maintain fitness and prevent typical winter weight gain throughout the off-season when daylight hours are at a premium.
Whether it is snow, wind, bitterly cold temperatures or even just plain old rain, as we've experienced in California this week, you need to focus on maintaining muscular strength and endurance. This can be accomplished a variety of ways, lifting weights in a gym or at home, doing plyometrics (using your body weight and/or exercise ball), etc.
On those days when you do ride but are not able to get outdoors, there is still the indoor workout. I can remember my dreadfully boring 45 to 50 minute turbo trainer workouts in the basement of my house at 5:30 am because it was the only time I would be able to train.
Today, technology makes indoor training far less boring. There are virtual training aides that can keep you entertained and help you get a workout at the same time! One company, Ride-Fit, is getting a lot of attention from the cycling world not only for the variety of their training videos but also for the breadth of devices they support. You can check them out by clicking HERE. By the way, their videos make great holiday gifts, if you are unsure what to get the cyclist in your life or if your significant other wants to know what is on your list!
Maintaining some sort of cardiovascular and muscular fitness is important. Whether you do it outdoors, in a spin class or in your basement, make sure that you stay active so that when the season comes (which is all too soon), you don't start from the very beginning.
On another note, although the season may seem a long way off, many rides are starting to open up for early enrollment. For example, registration for the California Death Ride, which happens in July, opens on December 13 and will fill up in minutes. I've updated the Cycling CEO event calendar online with 2013 rides so check them out and start making your plans and setting your goals for 2013!
Please contact me if I can help and share your comments below.