October is a month without much activity for European cyclists. In most countries race season ends now or has already ended.
From now on there is winter break for almost 5 or 6 months depending on what country you race in. There are some things that I have learned that are nice to do at this time of the season that might help you to achieve better results in the next season. I have also made some mistakes in my career that I will warn you not to do…
Evaluate your training diary
Evaluate your season with your coach or cycling buddy. Talk about the expectations and goals you had before the season started and discuss whether the outcome was satisfying. What went better than expected and what could have gone better?
Try to figure out why things did go well or why they didn’t.
I think it is a very good idea to look at your training reports in your training diary because that tells more about how you felt, how much you trained and suffered than just looking at the result list. Also it is worth to find out if your peaking strategy for specific races worked out.
Take a break from cycling training
A very common mistake is when a rider ends a season with a good result in a race.
I remember once I won my first race the weekend before the season ended: I started to train very hard immediately after the season ended to maintain my good form and prepare for the next season. That went well for about a month and then I finally could hear that my body was screaming for rest.
At that time I had to take a break from my cycling training instead of starting up slowly on my winter training. The lesson I learned was that it is necessary to reduce your training amount significantly when the season ends, because it is not possible to maintain the same high level of performance all year around.
Make a plan for the next season
Now you have the time to write down goals and make a detailed plan for next season. I normally recommend that you select two or three specific race days (or periods) where you want to be at your highest level. Find out how much time you can spend on training and how you can get the best results with the time you have.
When you know what your goals are and what time you have to achieve your goals, it is time to make a detailed training program. I will recommend that you discuss your training program with a cycling coach to get a second opinion on your plans. It is important that both your goals and your training plan are realistic. Otherwise you will very likely get disappointed.