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Coach's Column with Alison Dunlap

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |November 16, 2010 7:31 PM

Question: After racing an entire cyclocross season how do I make the transition back mountain bike training?

Alison: Making the transition from the cyclocross to the mountain bike season can be fairly easy if you follow a few simple rules; rest, rest, rest!

The biggest mistake cyclists make is not taking enough rest at the end of the cyclocross season. Most riders will transition into their cyclocross season directly from their road or mountain bike season. It is easier to maintain race fitness and fine tune it for cross racing, then to take a few weeks off after your road/MTB season, and then try and play catch up once you do start racing cross. This means that at the end of your cross season, it is crucial that you take a few weeks off the bike for some rest and recovery. 

When your cross season is over, take a good 3-4 weeks off from structured training. I still recommend riding at least 4 days a week. But donít do any intervals or group rides. Instead, do rides you enjoy and rides that are fun. This is your one chance to take not only a physical break from training, but also a mental break. If you finish your cross season with Nationals in mid-December, you wonít have a lot of time before the start of the mountain bike or road season. It is super important to take full advantage of the few weeks right after the cross season ends to rest, relax, and recover.

Once youíre ready to start training again, I suggest taking two weeks to work in some long endurance rides to get your fitness level back up before starting any intensity. After two weeks of endurance rides you can start into your interval training and shift your focus to the upcoming season. Failing to take time off will lead to a meltdown part way through the summer, and I guarantee it will happen at the most inopportune time. 

Remember that with training it is better to focus on quality than quantity. And donít be afraid to rest. Rest does a body good!

Happy trails!

Alison

Alison Dunlap is a certified Level II USAC Coach and has been working with athletes for five years. She runs a coaching business called Alison Dunlap Coaching, and has mountain bike camps in Moab, UT through the Alison Dunlap Adventure Camps. Alison is also a two-time Olympian, MTB World Champion, and 13-time National Champion.

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