Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Offseason

Ah, the offseason. Time to take a load off, both literally and in a figurative/periodizational way, and to relax, recharge, and rebuild after a long season of training and racing. This year, I took a whole extra week off of any and all physical activity (for a whopping 2 whole weeks), considering the physical and pulmonary "insult" I sustained racing Kona. 
eat, drink, and be merry! homemade pumpkin soup and some festive IPAs
During the time off, I really tried to RELAX as much as possible and to let my body heal - both from the long season of training and racing and the mental fatigue from the energy and focus that go into maintaining these levels. This is the goal every offseason, but I felt like I needed a little bit more than ever this year due to the acute stress and damage done this past fall. This worked out well, as this was my first full "offseason" as a QT2 athlete and one of QT2's most important areas of focus and one of their 5 cornerstones is Restoration. I ate, drank, slept well, and was, generally, merry.

As I was taking this time off, I couldn't help but notice what some of my triathlon peers were up to, reading about crazy workouts on Facebook, Twitter, and various forums and FB groups. It is beyond me to understand why some athletes, and even worse coaches, think that it is a good idea to do VO2 max efforts on the track in October/November, especially after a long triathlon season. Unless you are training specifically for a fall or winter marathon and are in your specific prep for such an event, give it a rest! I know reverse periodization is in vogue right now and maybe that is what this is all about, but in my opinion it is better to rest, recharge, and restore at this time of year!
As part of the offseason, or even the transition period if that is what you have moved onto, it is all about getting moving again and preparing your body to be able to absorb the work that is to come when you start the formal training plan again. This could take many forms, and for me this entailed doing some fun and "different" workouts. Mountain biking, trail running, PowerCranking (see below), and getting back in the gym to start laying some foundational strength and to start building the soft tissue durability. This is important because as you get going again, your body can be a little bit more "soft", weak, and susceptible to injury than normal, and the first couple months of base work are critical to get right. I know this all too well, having tweaked my IT band coming back with too much run volume in the fall of 2011, and more recently straining my SI joint with the leg press, trying to be a hero this past fall! Do yourself a favor and ease back into it all - I don't know where you live, but those frozen, Pittsburgh-area streets are awfully firm and try to trash your legs when you start laying down the run volume again in January!

video 

My fitness took a nosedive through October & November, but despite the time off, I feel really good now and ready to rock! Sure, a 100 mile ride or a 20 mile run might be a little harder than usual right about now, but my pace and power profiles are not bad at all for the mid-distance efforts right now. Fitness is lower, but freshness is high! Time to start heading the other way and build that fitness once again.

offseason PMC
2013 is going to be a big year! Make sure that you give both your body and your mind the chance that they deserve to take you to new heights in the New Year!

here we go, 2013!

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