How to approach the ‘off season’
It’s that time of year again when the season is nearly over and you are thinking what should I be doing! I mean, how long can you sit on the sofa watching trashy TV (don’t answer that – a triathlete’s addictive personality and box sets are a bad combination)!
So what should you be doing, for how long and why?
Tip #1 Limit the electronics and don’t think about pace, position or stats!
Consider this period the ‘off season’ – its the time to take a break and have a rest. Not only will you come back stronger and your body will appreciate the rest. Mentally it’s nice to switch off from looking at training sessions and the pace of the last run you did or 100m split in the pool! If you do decide to keep doing some swimming, biking or running then turn the watch off and do it for the joy of it. This off season time is about not worrying or obsessing about these things – we love our coached athletes using the numbers we set them but giving yourself a break from looking at these makes them all the more interesting when you get back into training.
Tip #2 Do something in a social content that you wouldn’t normally do, all while still doing the sports you love.
We are still talking about swimming biking and running here, if you are going to do it, go and do it with some other people or in another way. Cycle to a friends house, swim in a different lane or at a different pool for a change, try some other strokes, run somewhere you have never been before whether that’s local or get in the car and head to those woods that you always drive past but have never explored before! A really good one is to use a mountain bike if you have one and cycle off road. So have a think, there are lots of things you can still do swimming, biking and running that don’t mean you are specifically training!
Tip #3 Appreciate the people around you and give something back to them (basically get some brownie points in the bag!!)
Training and racing require a lot of energy both mentally and physically and not just on the days you are doing them – triathlon for a lot of people is a complete lifestyle (and a good one) but sometimes you need to take a step back, recharge and relax and even sleep in or don’t set that weekend alarm! Use the time to take your partner away for a weekend (without planning a run into the equation or seeing if your bike will fit into the car), do an activity with the kids you wouldn’t normally do, or get to work early a few times and impress the boss! It’s a great time to thank those that support you the rest of the season and give them some of your time.
Tip #4 Chat with your coach, make a list of things you want to work on, basically a bit of planning!
Finally this last point is all about getting yourself ready for when you do get going again. You are still in your off season but are starting to put some building blocks in place for when you do start properly.
One very important aspect over winter, which a lot of people ignore is strength training. This should be all year round but winter time is the best time to start it as some muscle soreness doesn’t effect key sessions around races. This early/first stage is called anatomical adaptation and is basically a few weeks of doing strength exercises with low or no weight making the exercises easy and allowing your body to ‘adapt’ to the movements before you start to make them more challenging. So start to plan or chat with a coach about how you are going to make this part of your training and start practising the exercises.
This ‘off season’ break is very individual and should be decided between the coach and athlete or if uncoached really thought about and planned to get the most out of it.
If you wanted to chat to one of our coaching team about an end of season review to help you analyse where you are and where you want to be or discuss how a winter maintenance plan or strength program could benefit you then please get in touch. We offer a free 15 minute chat with a coach option to talk about you as a triathlete and what you are looking to achieve. You can contact us by email here or by telephone on 0333 577 3221.
Written by Coach Nick, Coaching Director at Challenge Tri Camp
To discuss setting up the best off season program for your goals please call or fill out our Athlete questionnaire and we will set up a free coaching consultation with you.