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Lex Albrecht on Off Season Training – Strength, Rollers, Cross-Training and Fun

by Lex Albrecht
Lex Albrecht  © Pasquale Stalteri
November 13, 2014 – The season finished in September and team training camps and racing start again in February. After seven months of intense focus and constant travel, it feels good to spend a block at home. A good 2-3 weeks away from structured training is healthy for everyone. No hitting certain numbers, aiming to peak on a specific day, or prioritizing recovery. It’s the time to spend extra time with friends and family. To go for super adventure rides one day, and to leave the bike on the stand the next. A break is good for the mind. By the end, the itch to get “back at it” is pretty strong though….

I’ve heard people say that “races are won in the off season”. There’s truth to that. It’s an important time to readjust and invest in next year’s goals. Having the tools and set-up to train efficiently and enjoyably is essential in the winter, especially for those of us who live in the beautiful True North, Strong and Free! A few dumbbells, cross country skis, snowshoes and E-Motion rollers do the trick for me!

Lex Albrecht  © Pasquale Stalteri

Strength and re-conditioning work in the gym pays dividends, and cross training outdoors on skis and snowshoes is an excellent complement to cycling (and a great way to enjoy being outside!). Personally, my most important training hours, especially the hardest ones, are spent on my bike with E-Motion Rollers and a good solid fan!

E-Motion rollers are a special kind of indoor trainer made in the USA. They have a sliding frame on top of a static base, which allows the bike to shift back and forth as it does naturally when you pedal outside. The inventor, Larry Papadopoulos, calls this “Free Motion Technology”. It’s what makes these rollers so easy to get a hang of. If you can ride on the road, you can ride on these. And if you have fun riding on the road, you’ll have fun riding E-Motion rollers.

It’s important to start every workout with a good, stress-free, fun warm up. Planning what your workout will entail effort-wise ahead of time (intensity and duration), and sticking to it through the end is a good idea too. After getting the legs spinning for 15 – 20 minutes, you’ll be ready to “get down to business” and tackle your intervals. The ones I find the most painful, but the most rewarding are maximum efforts. Sprint repeats are also a fun challenge.

eMotion rollers feature bumper bars.  © Pasquale Stalteri

E-Motion rollers feature bumper bars that prevent the bike from flying off of the rollers, so you can sprint hard. Tiny wheels that look like they belong on a pair of in-line skates keep the bike from slipping off the side of the front roller. The bumper wheels are especially useful for those max efforts, when you can’t see straight by the end if you’re really doing it right!

The company that makes E-Motion rollers (Inside Ride) is innovating a wireless resistance unit that will work with different smart phone apps to program automatic resistance adjustments, depending on your workout. I like the classic 3-level resistance unit just fine, but I’m eager to try the new technology out.

The most important thing about off-season training is to have fun, push your limits, but don’t forget that the time to peak is not in February, so don’t be too rough on yourself. Regardless of how you choose to train, enjoy your off season, and see you out on the road next spring!

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Ben Aroundo, ON, Canada says:

    Off season is a time for your body to recover and heal. Take time off and relax without using the bike for at least six weeks (Dec. to Jan.). When well rested do base without inflicting pain on your body and slowly increase the load in small increments for six weeks (80 hrs.Jan. & Feb.). Take six weeks (March & Apr.) before your first race to build up with intervals, group sprints, and mini time trials and always follow the cardinal rule “increase load in small increments”. Ideally your pre-race training is done with a group (sports specific) and you practice over and over all the skills required for competition (gain confidence). “Warning” If you keep having “a hell of a workout” all year especially during your aerobic (zone 1) “sacro sanct” base, your racing performance will be mediocre (stuck in Senior III) forever, guaranteed.

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