The end of the season is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, many of us are fighting fatigue, knee pain, and motivation after months of intervals, group rides, and races. On the other hand, the end of the season can be the most enjoyable part of the season, according to Joey Rosskopf, who rides with Q36.5 Pro Cycling.
“It’s just the rewarding part of the year to get to,” says Rosskopf. “When you put in the training, you put in so many race days, now you’re rewarded with being able to just ride it out.”
The great part is “riding it out” doesn’t take a lot of work. There’s a principle in physiology known as the Maintenance Principle, which states that it takes about a quarter as much work to maintain your fitness as it did to build it. Which means, after all that hard work you did in the winter and spring, you don’t have to do much to keep that fitness going another month or two.
But a niggling knee problem or flat legs can derail the most enjoyable months of the season. And after months of hard races and intervals, these are the things we are at the greatest risk for in August. We have dozens of muscles in our legs, hips, and core that not only produce power, but keep us stable on the bike. When all we do is ride the bike for several months, those muscles can get out of balance and lose their ability to stabilize us.
The great thing is, since you don’t have to spend as much time on the bike, you can skip a few interval sessions and add some off-the-bike stability work to keep you going.
This post-ride stability routine only takes 8-10 minutes but is designed to keep you functional and get you back in balance. Three times a week, after I finish my ride, I swap my cycling shoes for running shoes and do this routine in my backyard. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it can help give you an extra month or two.
Post-Ride Stability Routine
5 min. easy jog, incorporating carioca crossovers, side shuffles, and backward running
- Step forward, sink deep into the lunge, then drive up to standing.
- Go forward and backward, being careful that your knee never extends beyond your toes.
- Perform 2 sets of 20 steps each way.
- Step sideways and sink into the lunge, keeping your tailing leg straight.
- Pull your tailing leg toward your bent leg and stand back up.
- Perform 20 side lunges in each direction.
- Using a step of 6 to 18 inches in height, jump on the step with both feet and then immediately jump back down.
- Repeat without resting.
- Do as many jumps as you can in 30 seconds.
- From a prone position, place your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms flat on the ground.
- Lift your legs and torso off the ground and keep them horizontal by balancing on your toes.
- Hold for 1-2 minutes, depending on ability.
Bridge with Alternating Leg Holds
- Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Raise your hips so that your torso is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Hold for 30 seconds. Keeping the same position, extend your right leg so that it is parallel with your body and hold for 30 seconds. Return your right foot to the ground and repeat with your left leg, holding for 30 seconds.
2-3 min. easy jog