TRANSITION PERIOD AND FACTORS TO WORK AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON.
The purpose of the transition period in a cyclist’s planning is to gradually lose shape, therefore, we will try not to leave our bikes behind before making the break at the end of the season. Low-intensity recovery rides, coffee rides, riding with friends or family for one and only purpose which is pure fun. this can be a win/win option before hanging the bike to gather dust in the garage for a few weeks in this rest period.
This rest period will allow the athlete to recover both physiologically and psychologically from all the stress generated by training and competitions in their body during the year. Without any doubt, it will be the ideal time to make a final evaluation of the training process and draw conclusions for the athletes near future.
If during this break we do not carry out any physical activity, we must be careful with weight gain, the energy expenditure will be lower, therefore we must eat fewer calories if we do not want to find ourselves with a disproportionate weight increase once we return to training.
Once this break has been completed, which will normally range from two to five weeks, always depending on the individual characteristics and athletic needs, it is time to start planning the new season.
At first look, the beginning of a new season can be an unattractive stage in the life of a cyclist, since the main objectives, illusions, and competitions must be still in a very long term in the calendar. In addition, if we add the fact of winter temperatures begin to drop, we have fewer hours of sunlight and our chances of going out on the road are drastically reduced, we find the perfect mix to postpone the start of this.
Despite all this, we have to start a new cycling season that allows us to start improving our physical condition with the aim of being able to reach our main goals for the year in optimal shape.
First of all, it is essential to analyze the individual context of the cyclist before starting training.
Carry out an analysis of the previous season, what things have been done correctly, and what have not worked in the planning.
For this reason, we must take advantage of this period to reinforce and begin to work on the weaknesses detected in the athlete during the course of the previous season.
An exhaustive data analysis of the athlete by his coach will become fundamental to guide the evolution of the athlete.
Once this initial analysis has been carried out, at the main level, we can start the season with the practice of different activities that the athletes enjoy. But as a coach, we must have control of them as much as possible and also serve as a tool to enhance the work on of the bicycle. These activities can be cross-country skiing, climbing, swimming, with special mention to:
- Strength training in the gym: Extensive scientific evidence showing that strength training with loads in cycling improves power at different thresholds: pedaling efficiency, maximum power, optimizes our percentage of muscle mass and reduces risk factors that can lead to injury.
- Trekking: Hiking is an appropriate activity for this time of year, as it is characterized by long duration work at low intensity in the same way, the base period is focused on covering high volumes at low intensity. In addition, unlike cycling, it is a high-impact sport, which is why it stimulates the cyclist’s bone mass.
Key contents of training at the beginning of the season
At the beginning of a new season, we must emphasize a series of factors that become key in the initial preparation of the cyclist.
- In this period, quantity must prevail over quality in training, therefore including too many days of high intensity per week will help create a very unstable base, greatly compromising our performance in later phases of the season.
- A sudden increase in training load in the first few weeks of the preseason will greatly increase the risk of injury.
- Develop during the first weeks of training the so-called endurance zones (Z1-Z2) of the athlete by monitoring the heart rate and progressively increasing training volumes depending on the evolution of the trainee.
- Strength training indoor – previous evaluation of the athlete – between two and three days a week. In addition, progressively introduce strength training on the bicycle, with neuromuscular strength work performing very short snatches.
- Start training and perfect nutrition in training, adapt the digestive system to the new foods: gels, bars, other supplements. Food that you will use in the main objectives of the season.
- Discipline and progression in training at this time of year is essential to be able to ensure adaptation processes and favor the principle of supercompensation.
We must face the preseason without any rush, we have plenty of time ahead of us that will majorly determine our performance during the competition season, therefore, carrying out an adequate base period will allow us to reach a better shape and maintain that for a long time.
Text: Javi Gamallo
Graduado en Ciencias de la Actividad fisica el deporte
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