‘Off’ Season can throw some of us ‘off’ our game! Like me, many of you have entered the world of sleeping in, staying up late, working out less (or not at all) and still eating as if training for a huge endurance event!
Add in the fact that it’s the holiday season which means family gatherings, company and team parties and lots of food! Not to mention even fewer training hours or maybe no training at all. Off season does not have to lead to weight gain and loss off fitness or depression. After months and months of training for that ‘one’ day, that finish line… Some can feel a mental sluggishness, depression and a feeling of being lost! So, keep in mind that off-season does not mean you no longer have a purpose. You do!
Off season is an important phase of an athletes training. It is a time to let the body rest, rebuild and repair. Even more important is the mental break from the pressure of trying to get all those workouts completed within your busy schedule. You now have time to replace those light bulbs, fix the garage door opener, go to lunch with co-workers, or remodel the master bathroom (my current project).
While you should greatly reduce your training volume, completely stopping physical activity should be avoided. In other word stay active. Develop an offseason training plan with your coach based on what your personal goals are for the off season. While planning your goals keep in mind what you want for next season or your next event. As you reflect back on the past years training and racing, what areas need work?
As endurance athletes many of us have trouble wrapping our head around what ‘normal’ people do to stay fit.
Here are some ideas of what to do during the off season:
Go hiking with your family
If you are in a cold climate do some cross-country skiing or snowshoe running
If you’re a road runner, try trail running.
If you’re a road biker, try mountain biking
Focus on improving on your weaknesses. For instance, if you are a weak swimmer, concentrate on swimming form. You may consider taking swim lessons.
If you’re a triathlete, do some run events to work on speed and just for fun
If your run form needs work, get a video run analysis
Hire a coach for help with your off-season training program
Get to the gym for resistance training focused on building power and strength
Enjoy your off-season by finding ways to stay active, have fun and try new things. You may lose some fitness during the offseason, but your body and mind need the break. Let yourself heal both physically and mentally. Soon you will be feeling great and anxious to pursue your goals.