The Northern hemisphere triathlon season is now at a close, and as we approach the winter and Christmas period the feeling of pre-race nerves couldn’t be further away. Despite one season being over and the new season months away this ‘off-season’ period can be a confusing time for athletes. What is it? Does it really exist? What should I be doing? The big question is how should you approach your training during this time? Matt Dixon investigates.
Setting The Tone And Expectations Of Winter Training
Following your last race of the season it is important and deserved to have an emotional and physical break from structured training. A few weeks of active exercise, but not training, and a chance to enjoy life is not only good for the soul, but allows your body to recover from a long season of training and racing. For serious athletes this should only be two or three weeks, so defining this break in the calendar is a good start to setting up 2012 correctly. Most people know how to relax well, and no structure means no structure, but it is important to define a start to building for 2012. Following this season break you move into an important developmental phase of your training for 2012. This will define success and an evolution of your performance. It would be crazy to call this the ‘off-season’ because this suggests it’s of little importance. The developmental phase of training prior to next season’s racing is the chance to set the tone for your performance changes. The key is to getting it right for your needs.
You will read much about the importance of setting the foundation, or base, for next season’s racing, hence the call for hours and hours of low intensity training. In contrast, there are some coaches who reject that thought process and believe the first part of athlete development is to work on higher intensity and speed, then increase specific race endurance closer to the race. Two perfectly opposite training theories certainly lead to plenty of athlete confusion and debate, but which approach should you take this winter? The honest answer is it depends, but let me expand my thoughts before you make a decision.