Three-day weekends come around every one or two months, and they’re a great opportunity to boost your cycling. For cyclists who are balancing training with family, friends and work, these special weekends are a prime chance to get in frequent longer rides.
How you optimize your long weekend depends on your goals, commitments and current training regime. Here are four ways to use long weekends to enhance your cycling fitness:
1. VOLUME BLOCK
On a long weekend, there is often more opportunity to ride farther and longer. Rather than one long ride during the break, try to ride daily — and try to do longer rides (3-hours or more) to boost endurance. Many riders do a block of 2–4 days where they challenge their body much more, which results in improved stamina.
2. RACE-SPECIFIC BLOCK
Long weekends are also great for quick getaways to places that are ideal for riding. Use this extra time to travel to hilly, technical or race-specific destinations (areas that are either where the goal race is, or have similar terrain/altitude to that race). Ideally, plan a trip to a great riding spot that also interests the whole family (i.e. near a theme park or resort). These race-specific weekends let riders test gear, gain exposure to different terrain and ultimately return to their normal routine with a boost in fitness, skills, motivation and confidence.
3. RECOVER AND ENJOY FAMILY TIME
That’s right, take the weekend off. We are often tired from the rigors of work, life and hard interval rides during the week. It may be surprising, but your long weekend may actually be best spent letting your body and brain recover so you can return to hard, focused training after the holiday. This is not a bad thing as many endurance athletes benefit greatly from a few days off to rejuvenate the body and boost motivation.
4. EARN YOUR RECOVERY
An overlooked benefit of a long weekend training block is you will need recovery time the following week. This time can be re-energizing because you get to reduce your training load and focus on family and work commitments for a whole work week. It is a pretty nice trade to spend a long weekend having great rides so that you can skip, shorten or reduce your workouts that following week.
However you choose to spend your long weekend, try to use the time off to boost your fitness and recovery.