For many, unless you are getting ready for a World Championship in Hawaii or a late season race, triathlon off season is upon us. One aspect of training that most triathletes have a hard time with is TAKING A BREAK FROM TRAINING! This break from training does not mean that you sit around the house watching TV and eating cake all day. What it actually means is taking a break from the day to day grind of swim/bike/run. I encourage all of my athletes to take at least 3 – 4 weeks after their seasons to re-charge their batteries. This doesn’t mean you are inactive, you can still run once or twice a week or jump on the bike if the weather is spectacular (as it often is here in the fall months) but what I encourage is trying something new. Always wanted to try stand up paddle boarding? Do it! Always wanted to try the climbing gym? Now you have some time. Always wanted to (dare I say it) try this cross fit cult? Give it a go! Yoga and hiking are two other great off season activities that I find people often enjoy.
The common worry I hear from most athletes is that they will get “unfit”. To which I say; “Good, get unfit”. I see too many athletes spend 100% of the year at 80% of what they are capable of. These athletes want to be fast for the Island Road Running series in January, fast for the Times Colonist 10k in April and then fast for the entire summer triathlon series. This is a tough ask and I have yet to see someone that can maintain peak condition for that long. Instead, let your body get a little “unfit”. Let your mind have a break from the 5:30am get ups for swimming and the long cold bike rides and runs in the rain. Go to a late movie and tell your friends you will go out for a beer with them after. The look of shock on their faces will be well worth it.
Great athletes allow themselves to recover and while unfit is a relative term, they get just that. It is better to start your base season of training at 70% and hit 100% of what you are capable at the race that means the most to you than be the person that wants to win every workout and every race all season long.
Swimming, Biking and Running are three great sports and trying to become fast in all three takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication. Taking a break from them for a few weeks does not mean that you are not dedicated. In fact, the time spent away from them and doing other activities or sports can actually benefit you both physically and more importantly, mentally. I always ask my athletes to trust me on this one, and when they do, they usually show up to the first workout of the season super motivated and really not that “unfit”.