To the disappointment of many and the exhilaration of a few hard-riding fools – the debate about whether or not to go ‘off-season’ is continuously leaning towards consistent training verses an abandonment of strict discipline in favor of late mornings, leisurely base miles, and general enjoyment. It has historically been a time when a racer pulled out the old winter bike, enjoyed a comfortable coffee with mates, and generally didn’t focus much on a training regime.
No, I’m not reminiscing about the occurrences after binge-eating Mexican food. What I’m talking about here is REAL wind… you know the pushy, back-talking, grabby atmospheric stuff that you sometimes encounter during your training ride. The wind that trashes your mph average and leaves you frustrated, sore, and exhausted.
It has only taken me 8 years to figure out how to not over-dress during the winter. I’m kind of slow at some things apparently. I’m not fond of cold weather: especially of damp, windy, and gloomy bike rides. I’m also incredibly stubborn in my loathing of any sort of trainer work-out. So: I ride outside anyway and naturally, I want to bundle up like the kid in the ‘Christmas Story’.
There’s some discussion bouncing around the internet between whether building slower-pace winter base miles or shorter, harder intensity efforts is the way to go to prepare for race season. Josh Horowitz, coach and trainer, says that Off-Season Training is just a myth. It’s all very interesting and can get technical with discussions of elevating your VO2 Max, increasing blood flow to the muscles, etc… Sounds great, but which training regime is best?