2 weeks off - best practices

.Hello all! Had my last race of the season last weekend and the time has come to take a break. Ive never actually done a week or two completely off after the season, but I had a FULL race calender this year and am also planning a HEAVY base this winter. So planning to take two weeks completely off the bike starting Monday. My questions are:

  1. What can I do to make the most of this time? Would Yoga/ stretching everyday be beneficial? Maybe super light, casual riding even? What about diet - ease up on carb intake and focus on maximum vegg and fat intake?

  2. After the two weeks, how should I prep the body to start hitting it again? A couple easy z2 rides before hand? Primer/opener rides before hand? Or go into the ramp test cold turkey :grimacing:

Appreciate any feedback. Thanks all!

I am not good at being off the bike but I do try to be completely off for a week or two once a year. Just change the pace…do something else and give your body a break.

In 2020 after having a frustrating year I needed a fresh break to recover. I took 3 weeks completely off the bike and didn’t even touch or look at it. I was on the verge of not even liking cycling anymore :grimacing:. The 4th week I did a couple easy trail rides near my house for fun. The 5th week I started SSB1 low volume and added an extra day towards the end of the block. This was all working towards High Volume plans for 2021. After SSBLV1, I then worked through SSBHV 1 & 2, Short PB HV, SSHV2 and XCO Specialty. I had my best all time power and performance in 2021.

There was definitely a benefit in allowing my body to recover before I threw in heavy training. Something I failed to do in 2019 and paid for it in 2020. This year (race season ending Oct 2nd) I plan to do something similar but I’m no where near as burnt out as I was last year. I think I’ll do 2 weeks completely off the bike then introduce a few weeks of unstructured riding when I feel like it. I’ll probably start TR structured training Nov 1st building into the 2022 race season.

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I struggle with time off boredom myself but when Ive been forced to I’ve done a lot of walking.

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That’s my worry, i just get bored when i don’t get to ride. I also feel pretty sluggish throughout the day if i don’t do something, atleast. I do habe a 1.1 mile commute to work by bike but that’s it. I suppose the best thing is to just suck it up and let the body recover.

This sounds non-PC, but don’t gain 15 lbs. Trying to lose that weight and get back into training at the same time can speed up your trip back into the hole.

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:joy: Definately trying to improve body comp throughout the base. Our season is front loaded with road races and 1 or 2 stage races so hoping to lean out and get the weight low for those first.

“Diet starts tomorrow. “

The mantra of my off-season…

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Anyone that did take a break for a week or two, how much of a drop in ftp did you see when you came back?

After my extended time off last year (see above) I saw a 10% decrease in FTP.

I had an enforced 5 weeks off in April/May 2019 after a major opp, then some so called ‘treatment’ (chemo).

IIRC rather than testing I dropped my FTP by 45w but I lost 3kg overnight (so I think that works out at a 11% drop which felt right). About 6months after 'treatment ’ ended and a little lighter again 20min tests showed me nearly 11% again more than I started. During that enforced 5weeks of I did a lot of walking (gradual at first, then building up) and in the longer term that seems best practice, for me at least.

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For me, time off leads to some losses, but they come back awfully quick (a few weeks). The aerobic (endurance) part won’t go anywhere with just a couple of weeks off, but your power at and above threshold will suffer some. But, letting that fitness go and building again can lead to long-term improvements. Again this is just for me, but although your FTP may fluctuate based on how much threshold and VO2 max work you are doing, with repeated cycles of this you will develop a bigger “tank of gas” so to speak, i.e. instead of having just a couple of matches to burn, you’ve got a whole book to throw at the race.

Just my experience. True time off for a couple of weeks shouldn’t be discouraged as much as it is IMHO.

If you really want to recover, then just chill and don’t do any structured things (diet, stretching yoga etc). Taking a break is physical and mental. You will just be stressing yourself in a different (and maybe gentler) way, but it misses the boat on a break.

I personally don’t really take breaks bc I like to keep structure, but ride a bike less or without any intensity for a week or two when I need it.

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What KW was saying. Off season break is as much mental as physical. You don’t need to optimize doing nothing. Just do nothing. Pay attention to other things. Get hungry to work again.

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I know i have to do nothing…but boy, mornings are boring now😂 i do see the benefit though, especially the “bigger tank of gas” as mentioned above, which is what im hoping for. Already looking foward to start training again in a week or two, though.

This question was briefly addressed on the latest podcast episode - might be worth a listen.