Enter the “off season” — For most of us the 2017 race season is coming to an end, most of you have recently completed your “A” race and will be taking some well deserved time to recover. Many are taking advantage of the popular free “Post Marathon Recovery Guide” I put together a few months ago which is great! So, today I want to talk a little about off season training – that awkward time between training cycles.
It’s that strange space between being at your peak performance shape and also having to force yourself to dial things back to allow your body to recover. We have all had those moments and they are confusing at best.
So, let’s change that. This transitional phase between training cycles shouldn’t be as awkward it might have been in the past. First you simply need to rest/recover and then set unstructured training which will allow you to keep the fitness you have worked so hard to obtain. The worst thing you can do is not have a plan and have to rebuild yourself back up in a few months.
Let’s dive a little into the details of what “non-structured training” looks like. First of all it should be fun, not based on hitting splits or paces. This is the time to leave the GPS at home and enjoy training on feel. It’s also a good time to add something new to the mix. With that said you should have two key elements in your week. First being a semi-long run and the other strength work. The long run will ensure that you are maintaining your fitness and endurance while the strength work will keep you injury free. As for the strength work – an important point of clarification… make sure the strength training is sports specific strength training. So, for runners – core, flexibility, stabilization, mobility work. For triathletes – upper body work, shoulders, back and chest will be important to emphasize. A great all around routine can be seen in these videos.
And that’s it! The rest of your week should be filled with activities you enjoy and which will keep you active. Go kite surfing or SUP’ing… or whatever else you like. Enjoy this time, when you are ready to get back to some structured training you will not only be physically rested but also mentally ready to take on the next training cycle.
If you are a nutcase A-type like me… then use this time to plan your next season. Do your homework on finding a coach who will help you reach your goals. Sign-up for some events, pick up a book on the newest technologies in our sport (I recommend this book on running with power) and find your motivation.
Finally… make sure you keep an eye on those calories, remember balance the calories you are burning with what you are putting in. If you remain aware you will not gain unwanted weight.