Off-Season Advice

Hello, I am at that point in my training and the season where I think a 2 week “break” would be highly beneficial. I am not really keen on just taking 2 weeks completely off the bike, UNLESS that is the only way. My hope is, I can still ride 4-6 hours a week, recovery rides only, at 55-60% of Max HR. Is this going to be detrimental to an off season? Thanks!

Thanks for the Link Chad, I actually read this while doing some google searching about the topic. I guess I’ll just put it specifically and bluntly, if I’m riding 4-6 hours/week but at a Z1/Recovery effort, is this going to be a good off-season, or am I selling myself short and would be better off doing nothing for 2 weeks? Thanks!

I’m no coach, but without at least a bit more about your recent training history, I don’t think there is enough context for someone to do more than list generalities.

If the proposed is 50% or more reduction from your recent history, maybe that is enough break. If it’s more than that, it seems like too small of a decrease to be effectively a “break”.

Keep in mind the physical and mental aspects as well. If you had a particular difficult and taxing season, more rest may be beneficial. The axiom “it depends” is ever present and same for your question. If the goal is a break, I think less work is better than more. When it doubt, sit it out.

I’ve been tracking RHR for 5+ years, and lately it has been elevated by about 5bpm… Take that for what its worth, but coupled with higher RPE at similar w/kg. I also introduced running rather quickly about 6 weeks ago, without much of a build up period, while averaging the same amount of time on the bike. Probably averaging around 10 hours per week throughout this year. With these factors I know it’s time I take a break, but I love to ride and I love exercise and the thought of 2 weeks completely off the bike is hard to swallow, so I’m really hoping I can get the same affect by lowering the weekly hours and dropping the exertion levels down to recovery status, ~55-60% Max HR.

What you are describing sounds like stacked “recovery weeks” to me. Maybe that is a “break” in some context and could well work for you, but sounds like it’s more than that to me.

Not saying you have to sit on the couch for two weeks either as there may be a happy medium in there. 2-3 super easy rides under 1 hour and maybe even ones focused on “fun” or other outcome other than “training”.

You describe some notable signs of stress and if your goal is a true reset that is the purpose of many breaks, I think you need to aim for less than what you proposed, but that is my uneducated guess.

Hey, I am in a similar boat and for now, I noticed that I just enjoy exercising when I mix up various activities. I wanted to continue my specialty phase in sustained power build but then I didn’t feel motivated to do a training plan. I now hike, run and do a bit of riding (2 rides per week on avg) to maintain my biking fitness. I do plan to take 2 full weeks off from the bike in January so that I can be better motivated and be well-prepared to start structured training!

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IMO an off season break should consist of whatever will make you come out the other side motivated to get back to training.


Ive got one last cx race of the season and after that, my plan is at least 2-4 weeks of whatever makes me happy. If I want to do a z1/2 ride, ill do it. If Id rather sit on the couch and be a bum, ill do that too! I dont feel like I specifically need a physical break, but mental for sure. Definitely seeing some burnout. Told my coach dont even bother posting workouts or looking at my TP account for the month, Ill let you know when Im ready to start back up. I got a new MTB and havnt really had much time to ride that with the structured workouts Ive had with the CX season, so I plan on having some fun with that at least once or twice a week.

Only advice I can give is to watch your diet. At the end of hockey season in college, I would literally do nothing physical for almost a month. I was used to eating 3500-4000 cal/day and maintaining weight. I seemed to keep the same diet, only not so much on the weight maintenance. Just be mindful that its easy to dig yourself into a hole.

It seems like you know what you need to do but you’re not liking the idea of doing it? You said 10 hours a week. Was that all year? At what intensity? Did you get sick or travel at all? Ie were there any unplanned breaks?

You’ve added a bunch of running on top? If I were you I’d take at least a solid week off. Do nothing, get fat, go a little crazy. Then maybe in the second week do some running or have some fun unstructured short rides, maybe leave the power metre at home, go out and smell some roses take some scenic pics. Week 3, you’ll be chomping at the bits. Start adding a little volume and a little intensity and take it from there.

I think it’s important to be able to walk away for a minute. It’s an addictive sport and it’s just as important for mental health as it is physical. On top of that you’re investing for your future fitness by benefiting from the break and avoiding any future burn out.

That’s my two cents. For what it’s worth.

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I had an insufficient break - only 1 week, well actually 6 days as my SO wanted to go MTBing!

I watched this: Off-Season Training: Why and How You Should Detrain on Purpose - YouTube

…a few weeks ago and thought it was a great guide for people doing different volumes of work. In short, you could only take off a relatively small period fully off if you’re not a pro smashing 20+ hour weeks, but when you’re back do lower volume and lower intensity for a while, and gradually ramp up.

I mean it’s a super basic concept, right, but explained really well!

You’re really not going to lose much of anything fitness wise with two weeks off your bike. But it will allow you to shed any fatigue and stress that’s built up. Do you like walking, get some easy walks in our in the wilds if you can, it’s good for the soul.