Carmen Small’s off season training load
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One of the questions professional cyclists often get asked is what kind of training load they do after they've had a break during the off season. We've put this question to Carmen Small who lives in Durango, Colorado during the off season. This is what she wrote...
My favorite thing to do in the off season when making the transition back to official training is cross racing. Fort Lewis College puts on a series of races in and around Durango that I like to do. It's a good way of getting back into training hard but not structurally. The first race always hurts because it's like ripping off a bandaid, the fitness is not there but you seem to push yourself because it's a "race." It's also great because it's supporting the college and their athletes. The races are a great community event. There is cross practice on Wednesday afternoon, another fun time to get out when the weather is bad it makes it a lot easier when the motivation is down because it's 30 degrees and snowing.
Transitioning into more formal training, I would say my favorite would be long endurance rides. One of my favorite's is doing 3 or 4 hrs plus SFR's (slow frequency rotation). These are done on a climb with low cadence so it's a way of doing some on the bike strength training. This time of year is a great time to improve strength on the bike and fixing some of your imbalances.
Since I live in a cold place I really have to maximize when it is nice outside. So I end up being flexible with my training and not sticking to a strict training regiment like I might when I am in season.
Riding the trainer is not my favorite thing so I don't like to spend hours doing base riding, so I tend to do pretty specific workouts when I get on the trainer or rollers. One of my favorite things which passes the time quickly is: Warm up for 10 to 15min with some cadence drills. Then I complete 3x15min of alternating zone 3 for 3 minutes and zone 2 for 2 minutes with 5min of rest in between. The first set I focus on cadence, having my cadence at or above 105rpm, second set I do a low cadence around 70-80rpm, and the third I do "normal" cadence but push it into zone 4. Then I take 10min of normal riding and finish off my doing 4x30sec max sprints with 2min rest and then cool down.