When it comes to making a seasonal triathlon plan, it is extremely important to schedule in a few weeks off right after your last ‘A’ race of the season. Not only does your body need a yearly break from training, your mind will thank you for the well-deserved break from the sometimes repetitive training sessions.
Benefits of Taking a Break from Triathlon Training At the End of a Racing Season:
1. Give the body a break and avoid over-training
The body really does need a break from the aggressive triathlon training schedule. During training the body is put under a lot of physical stress, which, although very important in increasing fitness and performance, can have negative effects on the body after long periods of time without rest.
As a personal trainer and triathlon coach, I am constantly telling people that the rest between workout sets and training sessions are just as important as the exercise or training itself. This applies within a workout, and even within a training week. The body NEEDS to recover! This same principle applies within the training season as well. Without 2-3 weeks of recovery at the end of a training season, you will begin the next training season slightly burned out.
2. Give the mind a rest and avoid mental burn-out
Often, triathletes get bored with their training regimes, especially towards the back end of a season. Or the stresses of performing well really get to some triathletes and lead to mental burn-out. A few weeks of ‘no-pressure’ training can be a huge boost to mentally tired post-season triathlete. As well, after a few weeks of missing that swim session or long ride you will be excited to get back to training at the end of your seasonal break.
A Few Suggestions on How to Get Through A Few Weeks Off Training:
1. Training should not be organized. If you want to go for a run — do it! But if you are just not feeling up to it — don’t. There is no pressure to train because there is no plan to train. All training should be more or less spontaneous. This way, if you miss a workout, there is no guilt that you missed that day.
2. Do things that you don’t normally do in triathlon training. Play basketball, go golfing, try badminton. There are thousands of things you can do that get you physically active that are not specifically triathlon training. Doing this will mentally recharge you and keep you in shape. And you never know, you may discover a new favourite activity!
3. Don’t be hard on yourself! Remember, this is a time for low stress. If you go a day without exercising, NO BIG DEAL! This is a time for you to enjoy some rest. Your body does not begin to lose fitness until 1-2 weeks of inactivity.
So, enjoy the end of the season break! Try it for only a week if you are hesitant on if it is really a good idea or not. After even just a week, you will feel mentally and physically refreshed and ready to get back to triathlon training.