We like our athletes to begin their OutSeason in either late October or early January. Our OutSeason is 14 weeks long and therefore our January OutSeason athletes are just now exiting their OS and beginning to transition towards training for their races this season. Since we founded Endurance Nation in 2007 we’ve seen many, many iterations of this process and here are some cycling thoughts for you as you likely make this same transition from winter, indoor training to outdoor, triathlon-specific training:
You have More Endurance than You Think You Do
In the OutSeason we limit the cycling of our athletes to 2 x ~1hr sessions during the week and a 90 minute session on Saturday. That’s a max of about 3.5hrs of cycling per week. However, nearly all of this is very high intensity, interval-based training designed to significantly boost their power and speed at their lactate threshold. They are 100% focused on building their FAST without regard to also building their FAR. Building that FAR begins in April but over the years we’ve learned that these folks have significantly more endurance then they think they do. They can easily jump on the bike and nearly double their weekly cycling time with a 3-4 hour Saturday ride.
The lesson here is to not be afraid to punch above your endurance weight on the bike in April because even though your cycling volume has been much lower than your peak from last season, you actually have more endurance than you think you do and can handle this jump in volume. Trust us, we’ve seen this across thousands of athletes.
Expect Some “Positional Fitness” Friction
Riding outside in the aerobars on your triathlon bike is a very different positional experience than riding indoors on your road bike and/or in the hoods exclusively. The net is that you will experience some funkiness — neck and shoulder discomfort, quad fatigue as you transition from an upright to an aerodynamic riding position, etc — but your body will adapt pretty quickly.
Relearn Your Ride Nutrition Game
You’ve likely temporarily “misplaced” the good habits and processes of fueling and hydrating yourself for long rides. Our advice is to go through your training logs from last year to remember how and how much you fueled yourself and then get back on that good habits train as soon as possible.
Outdoor-ify Your Bike and Gear
Since you’ve been riding indoors since November, when was the last time you cleaned and inspected your bike for locked bolts, sticky cables, tire cuts, etc? We recommend you drop your bike off at the LBS for a complete tuneup, including a near rear tire if you’ve been using that tire on the trainer and it as become “squared off:” the center of the tire has been worn thinner than the rest of the tire, increasing the potential for a flat on your next training ride. On that note, don’t forget to also inspect your tool kit, confirming it’s stocked with a good tube, Co2, levers, multitool, tire boot, etc. Finally, this is a good time to organize your cycling kit, putting away your winter cycling items until next winter — arm warmers, toe caps, cold weather gear, etc — and inspecting and bringing to the top your summer cycling kit.
Reconnect Your Friends…and have Fun Ripping their Legs Off!
Finally, April is our favorite month of the year, as our athletes share with us stories of taking their OutSeason cycling fitness out for a spin with their last season training partners, and remarking how much faster they’ve become across the winter through only ~3hrs of very hard cycling work per week. Work WORKS, and April is a great time of year to take this new fitness out on the road and play with your friends!