It’s that time of year when it is Humid, Hot & Muggy! I did a short option ride Saturday that started at 9am, and by 11am I had chill bumps and a calf muscle that was ‘wanting’ to cramp. Ok, so I did have a few beers the night before, but still….. the weather and heat index in Atlanta, Ga so far is High! 95 degrees F. this week.
For those of you that are racing and training hard, take a look at your upcoming schedules and decide if now is a great time to take a mid-summer break! Sounds backwards I know. But how did you feel last October/September? If you were tired, and burnt out – maybe it was from riding too much in the summer heat.
Why go to races and events mid-summer that the finishers make it too the finish line through attrition rather than fitness? I can remember racing at Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA a few years back. I think the thermometers were reading 98 degrees, add to that a lack of shade along this course. It was one of those days where you didn’t feel you needed to warm-up b/c you were already sweating before you were finished getting dressed. On each lap of this road course we would pass the parking lot where everyone had parked their vehicles. On the 2nd lap about 10-15 riders just pulled off from the main group and headed to their cars. It wasn’t like we were single file and these guys were dangling off the back – they were IN the pack. But the heat & humidity was too much and they didn’t want to do another lap.
When you take a break, you must remember why you are taking a break. People may attempt to distract your season plans, but you must stick to the plan, even though that is tough sometimes. A good cycling plan will set you up to be in your best shape for your most important races.
Taking a break from hard efforts this time of year maybe a safer thing to do and a scheduled, 2 week summer break can be a great thing for your cycling season (and maybe other areas of your life). Even though it may seem like you will loose fitness, the benefits that your mind and body get from a break will far exceed any loss of fitness you think you will loose.
I had a friend that got married a few years back during the summer and was concerned about loosing fitness while on his honeymoon. I told not to be concerned about it & that he would come back with re-newed energy and desire for racing – he had a Great end to his racing season, and wasn’t burned out mentally through the fall races!
Some other activities to keep you active and/or refreshed:
*Indoor rock climbing
*swimming – even out those tan lines a little?
*another idea is to get dirty:
Try taking a summer break and I bet you will gain an appreciation for this experience. It gives you a chance to unwind, change your current schedule of doing things, and re-fresh the mind and body. However, keep in mind that along with taking a break, how you bring the body back into form is important also, and I will get to that in another post.