After a hard and successful season, I was mentally spent and needed a proper vacation after many years. Sicily proved to be a great vacation spot for doing absolutely nothing and then a bit of something when I got bored. Also a great food location, I am the biggest pizza and cannoli fan so this was a first logical destination 😊
I took around 10 days of full rest than slowly started training, without any rush and pressure. This also means slowly transitioning to healthy eating habits, although I always eat nutritious foods, in the offseason I have a few treats and don’t think much about it. When I start training, my mindset shifts to fuelling my trainings properly and giving the body what it needs.
The first few weeks of going back to training are always hard
The first few weeks of going back to training are always hard, mostly getting back into the routine and recovering from trainings is harder. Also getting back that recovery routine takes a bit more willpower (stretching, massage, cold showers and etc).
This transition can be made much easier with variety of other activities like running, hiking, swimming and a good smart trainer. I would say it’s recommendable to have some other activities for cyclists since we do have a limited movement and it’s a good injury prevention. Since I started hiking a few years back, I never again had joint pains that tortured me for a few seasons.
Smart trainer makes for even a better training than cycling
I found that the combination of hiking and smart trainer makes for even a better training than cycling in the early winter training blocks.
I have a Saris settup that makes riding on a trainer really fun and enjoyable. Currently training on my Saris H2 smart trainer combined with MP1 training platform and integrating the Saris aluminium rollers for short trainings. MP1 platform was a real game changer for me. I have some early career traumas from the trainer when we couldn’t afford going to winter training camps, combined with injuries from too much static pedalling, so it took some time for me to get back to the idea of doing serious inside trainings. MP1 platform gives the riding a real feel, it moves even with the smallest vibrations from body moving and therefore spreads the power pressure made when riding through the many core muscles. Engaging the core muscles when riding is so important, they actually transfer the power so this is especially important in winter when building that base.
What I did was hiking and running for 2+ hours, then transferring immediately to my H3 trainer. Getting 4 hours of training in cold and foggy Sarajevo was never easier, and there was absolutely no mental challenge and this is what I needed in this time of year. Enjoyed my trainings and spent time at home, while my dog also got into a crazy fitness from all the riding and hiking 😂
Winter training camps for long periods of time, are they really necessary?
Yes and no. They are necessary to get the long hours, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend all winter away from home. Training plans can be altered into doing for example 10 days of long hours once a month. In my case, my coach found a perfect training plan that works for me, so gradually increasing the volume and working on my technical skills all winter long brings me big gains when the season comes. Also, I have a hard time saying no. There is no other way to focus completely on training and avoiding the obligations I have at home than going on a training camp. I’ve been away from home all winter for 7 years now, but that doesn’t mean a little place in the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina isn’t my little home away from home too.
Now back to training!