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Maintaining the Racers' Edge: A Guide to Off-season Racing
By:  Adele Lay   (2008/06/16)

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We do our best to stay in skiing shape in the long off-season by roller-skiin,ski striding, and other dryland activities, but it so easy to forget how to race between March and December! Racing is a skill in itself, which is not specific to skiing, and needs to be practiced.

It doesn�t matter what form of race you choose, just get on a start line (and cross the finish line too)! The Long-Term Athlete Development model suggests that athletes aged 20+ should compete every 2-3 weeks in the off-season in an endurance activity/ sport.

My favourite off-season races are duathlons (run, bike, run) because I love both road biking and running but hate swimming. They tend to be run in conjunction with triathlons so are well attended. Also, there is no drafting allowed on the road bike so if riding in pack intimidates you, you need not worry.

To work these into your training schedule, just replace an intensity workout. Keep in mind though that a 1.5 hr race can be more strenuous on your body that the 45-minute interval workout that may have been replaced.

It�s kind of refreshing to race against a group of strangers where you have no expectations of results, points, or placing. You can just go out there and have a good time.

Off-season racing can also give you an opportunity to test out different race tactics and psychological strategies in a low pressure environment such as:

  • Mental toughness at the end
  • Sticking with and overtaking people
  • Cresting hills
  • Pre/Post-Race routine

So get out there and good luck!

 
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