Bart Haynes here. Now that we are at the end of the cycling season, I wanted to talk about why I am taking a break from cycling. How long will this break be? Maybe 6 weeks, but I’m not sure if 6-week older Bart will be ready to get on the saddle again (though I imagine he will).
Here is my reasoning why I think it’s important to take a break at some point in the year, at the end of the season.
Taking a break is a release valve on the pressure we put on ourselves to cycle every day. It’s giving yourself permission to rest, not push yourself, and focus on something else. This is critical for avoiding burnout. Believe me, I’ve hit burnout before and it’s not fun.
It’s not fun for a couple of reasons. First, you are basically forced into not riding – it doesn’t feel of your own volition. Because it doesn’t feel of your own volition, and that you didn’t give yourself permission to take a break, you feel even worse about it. Then, taking a break after burning out tends to be a very long break – long enough that your cycling ability deteriorates quite a bit.
Don’t push yourself to burnout, take a break before.
Taking a break doesn’t just help you avoid burnout. For me, it also allows me to re-motivate myself and my passion for cycling
Bart the Bike Guy doesn’t always feel like the bike guy – especially at the end of the season. When I recognize that riding consistently starts to feel like a chore, I know that my motivation waning. And, of course, there is all the difference in the world between not wanting to ride on a given day – which is perfectly natural – and not wanting to ride every day.
My body needs a break. After 10 months of consistent riding, and five months of training and racing, my body gets tired. Injuries happen when you are tired. When you’re tired, your form suffers and something snaps. Or you push too hard and something snaps.
Taking a break let’s your body heal and recuperate and become strong again. Even professional cyclists take extended breaks.
Focus on Other Exercises to Improve Cycling
Finally, taking a break from cycling will allow me to focus on getting stronger and prepared for next season with other workouts. In particular I’ll have time for more yoga, which, if you’ve been reading this blog, you already know I’m a major proponent of regular yoga to help with staying limber for cycling.
Also, if you’re like me and have chronic pain certain spots, like your neck and back, yoga, conditioning, and rest play a critical role in allowing those sore spots to heal. Because let’s face, cycling can be a bit hard on certain parts of the body. Letting those spots heal and rest is an integral part of improving your cycling for the next season.