How and when to take a midseason break

Taking a midseason break can make an enormous difference in the season for those of us with multiple A races. Particularly, big efforts (such as this past weekend’s Dirty Kanza extravaganza) can deplete us more than we think, and coming back without proper rest and recovery, even from a mental perspective, can decimate later goals.

We had a great question about it on last week’s podcast, so I broke it down in video form here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGKavKqkmA0

What are your thoughts on the midseason break? Do you find yourself needing one around this time of year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Revisiting the mid season break as it’s very relevant this time of year.

I wanted to give a little more detail of what you can look at in your Performance Manager Chart. I have copied my chart from a previous year and have made some notes on it.

image

You can see early on there is a nice build period, only interrupted by a broken collarbone from a mountain bike accident. Early season races and goals including road races and a 100 mile mountain bike race. So focus was more on endurance and long intervals. I found success as I was able to win 2 100 mile road races solo and finish 8th in the 100 mile mountain bike race in a span of a few weeks in early June.

Soon after I took a mid season break. For me this really just meant a decrease in duration and intensity. Still riding but not nearly as much. The decrease in training load is a breathy fresh air and quickly you find that motivation to get out longer and do harder rides soon returns. The best part of a well timed, well executed mid season break is you can show up to races fit and motived while the competition is just going through the motions.

This particular year I was fortunate to taking part in RAGBRAI. For those not familiar it is a 8 day party across the state of Iowa. Thousands of cyclist take part in this. You are never alone on the ride. For me I just rode it pretty hard and be one of the first ones done doing a ton of sweet spot. Treating it like a late season training camp. I know not doing it right by missing out on the stops, but plenty of time to party afterwards as most days were done by 10am.

This set me up well to finish of the seasons strong. One particular goal was Bucks County. It was a hilly race with 2 - 5 minute climbs and you can see with the peak 5 minute efforts coming later in the year the training for it was working.

Then of course this leads into the offseason and fall foundation. The PMC is a great way to see the whole plan and how there is always an objective.

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A picture (or a graph) really is worth 1,000 words.

Way back when in the olden days :joy: sweet spot training was first introduced as a way to build back up your CTL following a mid season break.

Soooo for everyone taking a mid-season break, what you do after is: summer sweet spot!!

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I am riding RAGBRAI next week and planning to treat it like a ride camp for endurance, before starting 6 Weeks to Cx on 07/29. Looking forward to the Sweet Spots sessions in between towns. Wondering if I should add in periodic intervals (2x FTP or Full Gas), maybe like 20sec ON and 2 minutes OFF at Tempo over a 30 minute period each morning. Thoughts? Could I copy in a few of the Cx intervals into my RAGBRAI training week?

Hard to say without looking at your overall training plan as a whole… what the projected TSS’s per day are , etc… Could be a good idea but wouldn’t be able to say so unless we looked at your training plan like we do with the Coaching Subscription

Have you completed RAGBRAI before? I don’t think you want to try to plan on doing intervals during that ride. Even between the towns the roads are quite crowded and you will want to make sure your focus is on the road and riders in front of you, not your powermeter or time.

My suggestion, without looking at your training as a whole like Frank said, is to just treat it like a group ride. You are going to get in plenty of TSS over the course of the week. If you want to ramp up up the power between towns, hook up with a faster group, hit a hill or two harder do that! Make it more freestyle. Have fun and enjoy the ride while you are out there. The workload and TSS will come.

Yes, I have ridden the full event last few years. I like how you you can slow, medium, fast at any time depending on what you feel like. I am on route before 7am each day and can get in front of the “herd” for most of the day. Was just looking to do an hour or so each morning of focussed effort knowing majority of daily TSS will be endurance/Tempo. Thanks for your input.