Now hit the off switch

The race season is now coming to an end with the traditional end of season hill climbs. The sportive season is slowly grinding to an end although there seems to be more and more late season events encroaching into the middle of October. This is a shame as it tempts you to continue to train for far too long and not give yourself enough rest and recuperation time. October is often called the off season or as my old coach used to call it 'Slacktober'. This is a time of year where you take time off from any type of training and get yourself mentally and physically prepared for next season. Now I am not advocating taking a whole month off slouched on the sofa eating Krispy Kremes and gaining 5kg, however you really do need to let go of your hard earned peak fitness. Trying to maintain it will not make your next season’s results any better - it will make them WORSE. It simply isn’t possible to be in top shape every week for the entire year. Trying to do so will likely lead to mental burnout, injury or illness and could lead to full blown overtraining. Not a good place. So please abandon the idea of staying in race shape all winter. Instead, decide when it is you will want to have an excellent level of fitness in the coming season. It will probably take you something like 24 weeks to get back to top race shape so if you have more than six months until your next A-priority race relax your training for a few weeks 2-6 weeks is a good period of time. The Propello Development Squads are working towards the Tour of Wessex next year as their main A Priority event. This gives us a full 28 weeks from the start of November to train. This is PLENTY OF TIME. By all means continue to take regular exercise but DO NOT TRAIN and that means NOT HAVING A PLAN. Just do what you feel like doing every day and that should include many days of DOING NOTHING. When you decide to exercise keep it REALLY EASY. I will give you a challenge why not take a WHOLE MONTH OFF STRAVA?!! Turn the power meter OFF, take the heart rate monitor OFF. Record NOTHING. AVOID other athletes who keep training hard. You know the type. They are doing intervals and hard group workouts when it doesn’t count for anything. They are the turkeys at Christmas and won’t be around next spring. Be creative with your exercise. Do something different from what you might normally do. I try and rekindle my old passion for surfing while the water is still nice and warm and the Autumn swells are often good. Just do something different and HAVE SOME FUN! Training should be about delivering quality when it counts - on race day. If you are booked into an event any later than mid October CANCEL IT and DROP OUT. Enjoy your October and see you refreshed and gagging to start training on the other side! Rob