Mid-season tends to be the time cyclists (and triathletes) dump their strength training. But if you want to progress, you need to keep showing up.
As we’ve discussed here before, mid-season strength training is a MUST if you’re looking to see improvements in your movements and on-bike abilities on a year-to-year basis.
While many endurance athletes will move to a “maintenance program”, in fact, the vast majority of us are costing ourselves big performance improvements by not sticking with a heavier lifting program mid-season.
I get it.
I’ve been there myself.
The tired legs after rides.
The lack of energy Monday mornings.
But it shouldn’t be that way.
There's A Time & A Place
Many of us ride or train way too hard, and way too frequently, leaving us with fried nervous systems, stressed metabolic systems, and an increasing training stress that leaves us beaten down, rather than bouncing back.
While we do in fact need hard trainings and slight overloading of the organism (you) in order to progress, all too often we do too much.
This is true for hard efforts on the bike, where we either strictly “follow the power numbers” instead of listening to the body and how it FEELS (learn more about this in Episode 83 with Hunter Allen), and especially so in strength training (Episode 53- Soreness does NOT determine if a workout was good).
There is a time and a place for these hard workouts, but they are few and far between.
Taking the time to learn how much training stress you can handle in a given ride, week, and training block, while seeing quick recovery and adaptation, is absolutely a must for every athlete- endurance or not.
But many of us just simply follow a 3 build, 1 de-load (and usually it’s not that much of a de-load) approach, slogging our way along, instead of taking the time to look back and investigate what works best for US right now, and then doing more of that.
But it takes time, effort, and energy that, let’s be honest here, you don’t have because your training is beating you down so much that you barely get through each day with your life obligations.
What You Need Instead
Instead of thinking you need to go hard each time, just show up and do the work.
The LEAST amount of work necessary, in the LEAST amount of time, to get you your desired results.
For those who feel that heavy strength training or lifting is too much during the season, that’s ok, you know your body best. However, these is a lot to be said for giving it a shot for 2 solid weeks and seeing how it goes.
These sessions do not- and should not- take up a lot of time or energy, but just enough. You can read more about Mid-season Strength Training for the Time Crunched Cyclists in my previous article.
If you’re not one to hit the gym, or if you know you’re not quite ready for the heavy stuff, I’ve got you covered!
Check out my May 2021 article for PezCycling News “4 Key Exercises to Build Strength During Riding Season” Which features 5 home-based exercises to help you stay on track.
Progress is not the easiest thing to come by, which is one of the many challenges that we endurance athletes both enjoy overcoming and find to be the bane of our existence.
However, when you understand the truly important 1-2 things that are driving your “fitness flywheel” from a training standpoint, you’ll be in to focus in on getting just enough training, in the least amount of time, allowing you to progress simply by showing up and doing the (right) work.