Fall is a shoulder season full of opportunity. For many, it’s a great time to slow down and reflect on the season behind. For others, it may be time to gear up for cyclocross or a winter sport. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, there’s some magic in the air and it’s worth considering how to adapt and make the most of it.
We have gathered a few key elements that can make your fall season productive, healthy, and enjoyable.
Make it Fun
While summer is on its way out, the fall season can be as busy as ever. Cyclocross season gets going, collegiate racing kicks off, and many of us have some big goals left. It’s pretty common to begin feeling the wear that a long season can put on you. My tip? Make it fun.
You only have so many mental matches and, at this point, you probably have been through quite a few of them. It’s important to try and be intentional with those matches and make sure you have the energy you need to put in a few more big days. Seek out local group rides or weekly race events to substitute with interval days. Give yourself a “Strava Day” to go and hunt some segments as motivation. Using these organized rides can keep that blade sharp but allow you to tune out from the mundane routine.
Listen To Your Body
This time of year, there can be a lot of mixed signals. For many, they’re at the end of their fuse from a long season of traveling, racing, and attention to detail. There may be one or two events left lingering on the calendar and you’re not sure how you feel about them now…
If this is you, listen to your body. As I earlier, take some extra time to rest in the week, make your workouts fun, and keep other things that excite you on your weekly schedule. Make sure you are paying attention to those signs that you may be worn down. That doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be able to perform, though! Often, instead of digging our hole deeper with more training, all we have to do is take off the extra layers of fatigue and we can produce a big performance. You can do this by spacing hard workouts out more, doing more aerobic rides, and truly resting on a day off.
If this isn’t you, then you’re in a great position to make some year-end gains or pop off an amazing performance. Keep taking care of yourself, fueling well, and enjoy the opportunities this season!
Mix it Up
If you don’t have race plans, I’d highly suggest mixing it up this fall. That means sliding your primary sport or activity into more of a secondary one. This is a great time to incorporate longer hikes, trail runs, or adopt a strength routine. The fall can provide a chance to swap shoes and give the body a new stimulus.
Firstly, this benefits us in the long term by teaching our body to be well-rounded and address imbalances. Being a “one-trick pony” can erode some other strengths and structural support in our body. Secondly, it gives us a mental reset from feeling the pressure of honing in on one activity or training plan.
Dabble in Nutrition
Last, but not least, you can leverage this time of year and the freedom it provides to test out new nutrition. Personally, this is a time I use to get back to whole foods, real food gels, and more complex alternatives to my normal race fuel. I do this because the workouts are a bit lighter, I’m doing other modes of activity, and it’s not necessary to have my plan dialed in.
Play with other brands, types of fuel, modes of carrying it, and more. Where to even start? Check out one of these Ultimate Try Out Packs, one for bars, gels, and hydration. Pack a big ol’ USWE up with snacks and head into the forest!