In years past, 'off season' has taken a variety of meanings. In 2015, my off-season consisted of sporadic CX racing and the occasional run. In 2016, off-season was about being a college student for 3-4 fleeting weeks. Wednesday night beer specials and college football let me reset mentally and take much needed time off the bike.
My off-season in this year has been nothing like either. Running has become my new outlet for the time being (until I get back on the bike for base training). My focus has been on preparing for an 8k running race on the 23rd this month. It's been refreshing in two ways -
1) Running is different. After a long season of pedaling day in and day out, different is good.
2) Running isn't my favorite. Of course, I like running enough to do it for a month, but by the end (right about now), I'm ready to start riding again.
The fact of the matter is that off-season can come in a lot of different shapes and forms. One year, you may feel ready to charge right from one season into the next, and another year you may feel like you need a full 2 months away from riding. While going to these extremes really isn't advisable in most circumstances, it's important to tailor your off-season to your physical and mental wellbeing.
In my case, running has struck a good balance between maintaining fitness and taking time off the bike. While I don't think I'll become a full fledged runner anytime soon, it's been satisfying to switch it up.
Luke Vrouwenvelder - Head coach at lukeVcoaching and pro cyclist based in Charlottesville, VA