I have some triathlete friends who never seem to stop training or competing in races of some sort. While I admire their persistence, I know that I can’t do that. To avoid carrying the tiredness of one season into the next, I need a good few weeks off to give my body time to recover and refuel.
That’s why I chose to take a well-deserved (and probably much needed) break from training after my final competition of the year. If you’re worried about taking a break from training and losing your fitness, here’s why I decided to have an off season…
Why Is Off Season Important?
As a triathlete, chances are you train most days and at a fairly high intensity. That’s why by the time the end of the season comes around, you’re pretty worn out.
- Recovering From The Season Just Gone
Having an off season and taking a couple of weeks to a month off gives your body the time to recover from all your previous training. You don’t want to be carrying any fatigue into your next season!
- Preparing For The Season Ahead
It’s also the perfect opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start to prepare for the season ahead.
How I Use My Off Season To Rebuild Strength
Personally, I chose to take the whole of September off. Of course, when I say ‘off’, I don’t mean that I stopped overnight (I’m not sure that would have done my mental health much good).
My objective? Give my body time to rest and recover, without losing too much fitness.
I did no running, swimming or biking for four full days (only a triathlete can understand how hard that is), then started doing short, easy half-hour runs when I fancied it. After two weeks, I incorporated a couple of swim sessions into my weekly routine too (again, taking it easy and cutting my usual distance down by half). I also started doing strength training once a week (though I’ll admit that my muscles were sore for about two days after starting it up again).
Why I Ease Back Into Training Through Body Conditioning
I’ve found that the off season is the perfect time to re-integrate body conditioning sessions into my routine. It’s a great way of preparing my body for the months of training ahead, while also building resistance and preventing injury.
Strength training is a great way of maintaining fitness during your off season without having to do long or high-intensity sessions.
I choose to focus my strength training on the winter months (October through to April) when the weather in the UK isn’t great and I don’t mind trading a bike ride in the sun for some dumbbells in the gym. It prepares my muscles for the higher intensity summer training and makes me feel ready for the race season.
Other Benefits Of An Off Season: Rediscovering The Love For The Sport
While it’s easy to remember why you love triathlon when you’re racing and winning medals, the comedown can be pretty painful (I know I really struggled to go back to my everyday routine after the world champs). You’ve suddenly got endless months of grueling training ahead.
I get over this by not timing anything during my whole off season. It’s just about going out and enjoying the feeling of running, or swimming or biking. Trust me, it can be really liberating.
With October just around the corner though, my off season is coming to a close. Tuesday, it all kicks off again. I’ll update you with my training progress soon. See you then!