Hopefully we will all spend years training and improving on the bike, developing our skills and honing our fitness along the way. Training though takes mental energy - focus, motivation and drive to get up and do the work. Sometimes we just need a break.
How do we go about riding without training?
Taking a break doesn’t have to mean not riding your bike. Most of us are addicts and we don’t want to go into withdrawal. Here are a few ideas then to help keep you riding your bike but get away from training:
Put away that Garmin
The first thing you should do is put your Garmin in your pocket. Hit start at the beginning of your ride and then take that head unit and stick it in your pocket! Data and numbers are great, but sometimes it is good to lift our nose off the stem and take a moment to smell the roses.
Take the time to explore
When we are training we tend to use the same routes. We know the terrain on our routes and how it will fit with our training needs. Take a look at a map and figure out some places that you haven’t ever been. Our gravel bikes are amazing for this type of riding
Ride with friends
When we are focused and training properly we often tend to ride on our own - you can’t do a proper endurance ride in a crowd. When you are taking a training break is a great time to re-connect with your crew.
Don’t look at the data
And perhaps most importantly, if you are someone that likes to look at the data don’t. Don’t worry about your trend of training, what the apps are telling you and how much fitness you are losing. You can’t be fit all the time. Having fun and staying motivated is more important than a couple of extra fitness watts!
As someone who has embraced the lifestyle of being a cyclist looking for improvement there will be times when you need a break from training. You can’t keep riding year-over-year without one. The mistake we often make is to focus too much and push the limit too often. When this happens many riders end up “burning out” and taking time away from the bike. This burnout is probably more mental than physical. So don’t be afraid to ride without training occasionally. You’ll be fitter for it.