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Tread Carefully into Spring

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

Transitioning out of winter Gracefully can make or break your season.

NB, For those of you who love biking, but not so much the fitness...... File this under the heading "Stoke Conservation"

I just got off a call with one of my Athletes. He's in Ontario, patiently waiting for the Trails to thaw out.......then dry out. It was a good time to talk about the PitFalls of Spring.

It happens every year, we've established a solid, Cold-Weather Training routine and we've got some great gains in the bank. Your Body's in great shape and just like a Shiny new bike, you're daydreaming about taking it out and putting it through its paces!

Nothing says Spring in Squamish, quite like a Mud-covered Trail Bike. Am I right?

Then along comes the first weekend of good weather. Just like that, Riding season is underway. It's about now that your weekly program is likely to get thrown out of the window, despite your best efforts to stick to your endurance zone on the climbs...

Spring (sort of) arrived here in Squamish about a month ago. Basically, there were some gaps in the clouds....

I told my wife 3 weeks in a row "I need to back off this week". Even when my energy was low and I just wanted to go out for a spin to get some air, I'd get warm, and feel better, then before I know it, I'm grinding up the climbing trail at max heart rate.

-60-minute rides grew to 2 hours

-Endurance rides blurred into a mess of zone 3, 4 and 5

Then finally, I got sick. Every morning for 2 weeks, I'd wake up with congestion and a sore throat. I was overtraining and it had caught up with me. If only I had a coach!

Here are a few tips I often use with my clients (and should listen to myself), that might help you avoid an unintended early season break.

How to avoid Spring Over-reach

  1. Ride with friends -This probably sounds counterintuitive, but here's the trick. If you have friends who haven't been training in the off-season. Head out for rides with them and let their pace control yours. This will work for your recovery and endurance rides.

  2. Match your Strength Training - Harder weeks on the bike call for an easier week in the gym. An easy week in the saddle is an opportunity to push a little harder with the weights :)

  3. Listen to your body - a poor night's sleep or a sniffle should permit you to back off for a day. Let's stop that injury or illness before it really sets in. There's plenty of riding left this year.

  4. Juggle your days, but don't lose balance - By all means, save today's ride for tomorrow's sunshine. But make sure you're hitting (and not vastly exceeding) your weekly strength and on-bike training goals.

  5. Follow the 3-week rule - you can increase your training volume from week to week, but try and back off every 4th week to allow your body to fully recover and adapt to all that training.

  6. Harder Training requires Harder Recovery - more time and effort in training means recovery becomes even more important. Don't let it slip out of your routine.

The PitFalls of Overtraining can sneak up on you at any time of the year. But if you keep these 6 tips in mind, you'll be equipped for a season of smooth progression in both your riding fitness and your riding enjoyment.

If you're looking for some help and you want to talk about my Online Coaching Program, I'm taking on Athletes each month through the Spring and Summer. Right now is always the best time to get started!

See you on the Trails!


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Alex Ackerley
Alex Ackerley
Apr 06, 2022

Glad you found them useful Shawn!

Yeah, we're gonna smash it.


Shawn Arni
Shawn Arni
Apr 05, 2022

Great Tips Alex! Hope we can stay on target thru the Spring madness

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