Photos urban road

 By Tony Gifford

Autumn and winter is often the time of year when many of us look to take time off the bike. Think of this break as a transitional period, or ‘transition time.’ This is time to recharge your batteries and prepare yourself for the rigors of next season’s training regime.

Road racing and time trials generally drop right off during the winter months enabling ‘transition time’ to become the springboard to:

  1. Building and maintaining core strength
  2. Build upon and maintain fitness levels
  3. Use muscle groups not developed or exercised during the race season.

Most importantly, transition time helps prevent injuries that might arise from over use. We’ve probably all been guilty of that crime during our racing careers. 

The transition period is often built around a four week cycle to include time off the bike and light riding. Notice that I use the term: riding, not training. Your transition period is also a great time for relaxing the mind after the pressure of a long season of racing or endurance based sportive events.

For the majority of riders I recommend that the transition period runs from: mid/late October or even into November, although, this may depend on when your race season kicks-off. And yes! Now is the time to seriously think about next year’s race training programme.

So what should we do during our transition period? The most common mistakes that riders make are: continuing to train, or by taking too much time off from exercise all together.

As a cycle coach, I would strongly recommend breaking up your time into segments. For example:

1. If you plan on taking a 4 week transition period then I recommend spending the first week doing nothing cycling related and rest as much as you can allow yourself.

2. During the second week, you should start to include some light exercise. Cycle specific yoga classes are becoming popular around the country and are generally well-attended classes for all shapes, sizes and abilities of riders.

3. The third week should encompass a few really easy short rides that will not tax your body or mind, there’s time enough for that. But possibly look at including a leg strengthening program into the equation. Again, don’t over-cook yourself, you are still in your rest period. Keep it gentle

4. Week four is the beginning of the end of your transition period and you should start out by including regular, but shorter rides to remind yourself just exactly why we ride.

Once back into your full training programme never loose site of your goal of building your base training. The better base period you build upon, the better your season will be.

Consider this: if you were building a house, you would want to include the strongest foundation possible to keep it standing for a long time. Your transition period is the preparation work for a strong base period of training.

Build your house on weak foundations and it might just develop some serious cracks, or worse still, come crashing down.

 A strong foundation will ensure that your house will last and weather the storms.

For further details on your transitional training period please contact: