Do you know how to detrain?

Training 02/01/23 11:12 Migue A.

Many professional cyclists have started to detrain thinking about the next season. Do you know how and when to do it?

How to detrain to reach my peak form when I need it

In theory, it's easy with a few simple notes. Consider that you need about 4 or 5 months to reach a true competitive form and that the season usually ends in September, in October if it is extended by some test. With both data, start to make calculations: if you want to exploit all your capabilities in May, in December you should already be training, so you have 2 months between September and December to make a good transition and start thinking about what is to come. If, on the other hand, you want to start developing your capacity almost to the maximum in March, you should advance your start one month, around the beginning of November, so you need October for your detrain. To finish September, do not extend it more or you will pay for it.

professional cyclist detrain

What professionals do

Professionals have already taken a week off. Since the end of the Giro di Lombardia their schedule has cleared and they have started their detrain. Lombardy is the fifth and last cycling monument of the season and usually marks the end of the UCI WorldTour tests. From there until January, when the Tour Down Under in Australia usually kicks off, what do professional cyclists do? What is their detrain?

professional cyclist detrain

Well, after Lombardy, they stop for a minimum of 10 days progressively, then take a two to three week vacation. Of course, it is forbidden to gain too much weight during these days, at least not a weight that then costs to lose. First progressive detrain and then a few days off to fully recover.

Transition phases

They are absolutely essential. There is no professional cyclist who does not practice detrain, that is, these impasse phases between different peaks of form. The trick, the science, the magic is in knowing when to do them, how to do them and how long. Normally, you learn over the years, knowing the profile of each cyclist, and through trial and error. But there are two general lines.

  1. Make a stop of more than a month, logically in summer and more typical of cycle tourists. Professional cyclists usually stop for 3 to 4 weeks, but in their case it is almost essential due to the excesses during the season and because in the case of a professional cyclist the detrain does not cause such a manifest loss of his form and physical conditions.
  2. Make a very progressive stop for two weeks, and then a stop for another two, but in the most progressive way possible. It is a very favorable detrain for non-professional cyclists.

professional cyclist detrain

Currently, also many other alternative practices are used. The practice of alternative sports is gaining ground as a way to take care of physical finesse without overwhelming the mind or completely squeezing the body. Something more relaxed, conservative, that takes care, that maintains, but that does not stress or force body or mind.

You will know when to start because your body and your mind will begin to give off unmistakable symptoms that something is not going as it should: you recover later, you need more time to return to your base state, you shorten the outings and workouts due to weariness, you have forgotten the fun and enjoyment, you notice that the top power point is not there, you get discouraged and you are about to enter a destructive phase and a decrease in your form and your physical and mental finesse.

Physical health

Rest involves a loss of form, but you should understand it in another way: rest will make you lose a little form, to be able to reach higher levels of performance later. That is, it is about going down one step to then go up two. Normally, this variation is measured with non-variable constants, such as heart rate. The heart rate allows you to measure your speed at a certain number of beats between one season and the next. If you rest, you will be able to see that at the same heart rate as last year, you are going faster. This is largely thanks to rest.

professional cyclist detrain

Psychological health

But often, the lack of rest or, rather, the will not to stop due to the fear of losing form, results in psychological stress and a decrease in performance even though the legs are not the reason. The head is decisive in professional cyclists, not everything is based on mere mechanization: cyclists are not machines. The emotional state or positive and clear mentality often help to read the test perfectly, to maintain concentration on the road reading each aspect, to act in a totally perfect way in each aspect. When it has happened to you, you know it has happened: it seems that everything aligns when in reality it is your head, which is perfectly greased.

In summary, think about your detrain, now is the right time for the next season. Learn from the professionals and anticipate your performance and your peaks of form for the future. 



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