Five Tips to make you a Better Rider by the New Year

“A critical review of the season just passed is essential before we start planning for next season”


By Anthony Walsh, BL

Although we are many months from our next priority event it is not the time to despair but the time to take stock, access and rebuild. I’ve compiled these five winter tips to put you on the right road before the New Year.

Rest and Recovery

Rest is a crucial part of peak performance. When we train and race hard we only create the possibility for improvements in our fitness levels. These improvements are only realized after a period of structured rest. A period off the bike at the end of the season is necessary to mentally recharge and come back to the bike hungry but also to allow the body time to recover from the rigors of a difficult competitive season. Now is a good time to address underlying injuries we may have. Everyone should have a full health check up in the off-season including a dental visit – it’s important to address minor problems before they graduate and prove disruptive during our race season.

Cross Training

Regardless of the level you compete at the dedication that the sport demands means your family and friends make big sacrifices to facilitate your competition during the season. I always recommend athletes, after a short break, include 2-4 weeks of cross training. Try walking, running, hiking or team sports.

Weary of injury or residual fatigue during the season we choose not to play football with our friends or golf with our co-workers – use this time to remedy that.

Season review / goals

A critical review of the season just passed is essential before we start planning for next season. The review will help you identify obstacles to success last season. By identifying them at this early stage we can take proactive evasive action and plan around them. I always recommend that athletes sit down with a friend or teammate. Often we lack objectivity when it comes to accessing our own ability. We may view ourselves as a ‘sprinter’ and thus justify our poor climbing ability but a teammate may view us a average sprinter who is too heavy for the hills. This critical assessment of last season will help you plan SMART goals for the season to come.

Structure your training

Whether your target next season is the Ring of Kerry or a podium in National Championships it’s important not to just drift through the off-season without a plan. The off-season is great to work on improving your threshold power. Don’t buy into the common winter myths about no intensity or only riding in the little ring. I always include plenty of work just below threshold for my athletes. Include the work now and your performance level will jump for 2015.


Winter is not the time to pack on excess weight and spend months of the competitive season trying to shift it. A little extra attention to diet now will ensure you hit race season your lightest yet.

• Avoid eating 3 hours before bed
• Avoid drinking calories eg. soft drinks, beers etc.
• On rest days/reduced duration days limit carbohydrate.
• Snack on fruit, nuts, nut butters instead of sugary snacks.

In the coming weeks A1 coaching will be launching its new eBook – Winter Preparation for Summer Success – a 12-week Winter Training Plan. We’ll bust all the winter training myths and take you step by step to the perfect winter.

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