Mid season break

I’m looking for thoughts and recommendations about how to structure a mid-season break. Perhaps a bit late since I’m starting the rest now, but mostly looking for thoughts on the best way to recharge given the details below.

Finished a complete base/build/specialty peak on Feb 17th
Took a week off, then did base for two weeks to ease back into things
13-Mar started a modified build phase with races mixed in (11 races between mid March and mid June)
Worked towards a mid-season peak this past weekend (15-Jun)

This is what my TSS chart looks like from the peak in February through the peak in June

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I have four or five more race weekends (8-10 races) starting in July and running through August and my next desired A race is at the end of July.

I’m pretty burned out physically and mentally right now, and am really looking forward to taking the next two weeks as a mid-season break. I’ll be back racing (stage race in support of a teammate) the weekend of July 6th so plan to dig back into training July 2nd and hopefully not be completely useless to the team

I’d like to greatly reduce volume and time for the next two weeks. Going from a 6 week TSS average of 608 and maybe only doing 200-300/week spread out between 2 or 3 rides and getting back to off-season frequency of weight training

So…questions, advice, etc.

Am I reducing volume enough? Not enough? Just right? Particularly given that I want to be back in shape to race meaningfully I’m walking a fairly fine line here

Am I better off maintaining intensity to get the TSS (rides like Broken Finger and Lion Rock) and maintain a little of that fitness or should I stick to easier rides (Mokelumne +1)?

I’m going to be fairly fluid with this over the next two weeks based on how my body and brain are feeling - but I’m interested in how others would approach this type of rest and why

Go out and ride your bike for fun. The rest will take care of itself.

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I just finished something similar. Took all of last week after Tulsa as a ‘Fvck it’ week. No power, no heart rate, didn’t touch my road bike. Was on my mtb and cx all week just having fun riding single track. It was awesome.

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I’m pretty time constrained (and weather constrained) to indoors during the week, but absolutely plan to just to have fun outside on the weekends. Still trying to figure out if I’m better off flexing a little or leaving it in the little ring the whole time

Sounds like you’re mentally fried from structure as much as anything. I agree with @JHow and @pwandoff, take a week of unstructured riding if you want (or not), and get the mental break. When you’re ready, which might be a few days, might be longer, I’d come back at that reduced TSS for another week, but I would structure it like a “taper” in that your volume and time on the bike is reduced, but the intensity is more in line with where you normally train. If you do 3x5 (90s VO2max intervals on 1:00 rest) as a normal workout, maybe reduce that to one set of 90s on 1:00 rest. Or 3x20min sweet spot, reduce to 3x8. Overall, keep some of the intesity, but take a major step back on volume.

I think that will give you a good mental break first, then a good physical break while keeping you from feeling too flat when you start back up and approach your final races.

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I would do the first week very little intensity, 2nd week pepper some in, but just enough to make sure you aren’t losing too much. You’ll lose a little bit of fitness, but in a long season you might end up in better fitness than before the break in a few weeks after bringing the structure back.

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I like the idea of taking the first week as low volume low intensity and then easing back into the intensity the second week - keeping the volume low but adding in some short sharp stuff

Thinking that’ll lead to 3-4 hours on the bike this week totaling around 200 TSS and then maybe 3 hours next week with 250 TSS

Numbers totally subject to change based on how I’m feeling - but I do enjoy having a good plan

I’d suggest a few days completely off, followed by a few days of low intensity in the first week. Second week, gradually turn the intensity back up.

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If you want to keep your fitness, and if you can handle it, you might want to do shorter intense workouts during the week to keep your fitness (VO2 snap in particular) but keep TSS way low. Ride for fun as much or as little as you like on the weekend.

I would think that all-in, 2 weeks is not enough time to significantly hurt your fitness given how much you’ve trained so far this year so just do what feels good :).

Yeah, I’d lean this way too. Don’t think I emphasized that enough in my response. I’d take the unstructured week to ride when you feel like it, and only at low intensity. For me, when I’m mentally fried, that usually means a couple of days totally off and then I start getting the itch, that’s when I get back on for low intensity and progress from there as discussed.

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Haven’t touched the bikes since I got home from the race late Sunday evening - going to hop on and ride some endurance tonight. Legs still a bit trashed but missing my endorphins

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Keep it EASY. Like boring easy.

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Was considering Collins but maybe I’ll do Collins -1

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Looks good to me!

@JHow, have you thought of asking for a new training plan as per your Fvck wk? I’d support it.

Did Collins -1 last night, was definitely the right choice. HR was fine, like normal, but the RPE was way higher than it should’ve been for the first 25-30 minutes

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Everyone is probably different but if you feel like you’re getting to the point of needing a break, then take it sooner rather than later if you still have future races coming up as you want to go into those races firing on all cylinders as you’ve worked hard to get to that point all season.

If your aim is to do well in these future races then try to keep turning the legs over as much as possible. Perhaps swap out some sessions that you hate for ones you really enjoy. As others have said, go for a bike ride, collect the data if you want but don’t worry about studying it whilst you’re on the move or when you get home. How about taking it easy for one week rather than two and then seeing how you feel and go from there? If that does the trick then brilliant, you can keep going with the training and smash your races and then take a full break at the end of August.

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For what its worth this is what I ended up with for these two weeks

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and this is what my TSS chart looks like with those two weeks inserted (built out through the end of my race season)

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I’m still not fully recharged mentally or physically, but was excited to do some intervals last night (albeit relatively easy ones) so I think I’ve turned the corner

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If Thursday rolls around and you aren’t feeling it, just spin and then maybe hit it again on Saturday. Being refreshed at this point is probably more important for you given your overall fitness (and that you’ve accomplished a great deal this season with your C1 upgrade!).

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hey, hope your break is going great!
just unplug and go ride your bike. Record all the data but don’t look at the power numbers. Ride different roads, try new things. Mental recharge is huge.

Physically, don’t go do 7 centuries in a row, but a long ride is mentally refreshing too if you like that; don’t steer off it if it’s just one or two.

Let us know what worked best for you!

Brendan

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