Everyone at Project E2 hopes you’ve had a successful race season: no injuries, plenty of fun, and hopefully a PB or two! But what comes next? It can be easy to slide into the post-race period with no focus. This invariably leads to a slump and low mood. This is how to take your foot off the gas and enjoy an offseason that’s productive and restful. Here’s to next year!
1 A Mindset Shift
It can be tough to accept that the triathlon season is over. After all, that’s the bit we all work towards! It’s exciting, social, and provides a string of goals. But now it’s time to focus on the long game. A mindset shift will help you adapt to the change of pace.
2 Stick to Your Guns
It can be tempting to plan a cheeky little half marathon during your offseason but resist the urge. You will make far more progress if you have one focus (usually to boost base fitness or work on a specific sport or skill). Breaking up your offseason with unnecessary races will only distract you from the goal.
3 Short & Intense
You might think offseason is a good time to crank up the miles and churn out plenty of long rides and runs. But it makes more sense to focus on shorter, more intense training sessions (and then take recovery seriously!) Shorter sessions will boost your lactate threshold, so you develop greater amounts of power. This will translate into faster race times for less effort once next year rolls around. You don’t need to do long rides and runs over Winter.
4 Check Your Bodyweight
If you’re one of those athletes who loses weight during race season, offseason should be a time to put a bit back on. Nobody wants to get too far from their racing weight. But offseason is a time for recovery - on all levels. This means body fat, hormones, and recovery. A little extra body fat will keep your body happy and enable it to work harder in training. Plus, the extra body weight will have a training benefit - you’ll notice it once you lose the weight again for next season!
5 Focus on One Sport
Winter can be a great time to focus on swimming (typically a triathlete’s weakest of the three sports). Be honest about your weakest discipline, and tip the balance in its favour for offseason. You could even dedicate 1-2 weeks to that sport in isolation. The extra time and focus will do wonders for your technique, fitness, and confidence. Let’s face it, when else do you have the flexibility to dedicate so much time to one single sport?
6 Get Strong
offseason means less time outside and more time in the gym, but don’t head for the cardio machines. Spend time with the free weights to strengthen your body in readiness for next season. Strength training helps you avoid injury, improves your posture, increases power output, and burns calories. You won’t be able to do much strength training during the race season. The time is definitely now!
7 Refocus on Habits
You know the basic lifestyle habits that help you excel in your sport. Sleep, hydration, nutrition, and efficient time management. Don’t let these slip over offseason. In fact, revisit them to see if you can make any improvements. Now you don’t have to get up for early morning runs, can you sleep more? Can you use the weekend hours you’ve clawed back from long rides (for healthy food prep perhaps)?
8 Don’t Be Tempted by Challenges
offseason can be a great time to try a new sport or join friends on a one-off sport challenge. But think carefully before you sign up to that 3 Peaks Challenge or online Concept2 log book goal. Will this really help your main sport? Or is it likely to tax your recovery capabilities or put you at risk of injury? There’s a fine line between living life and enjoying activity and focusing on excelling at your sport. Ultimately the choice is yours. Be sure to put a lot of thought behind any decisions.
9 But Don’t Go AWOL All Winter
There can also be a temptation to switch off completely all offseason. After all, there’s Christmas and New Year right in the middle of it! A bit of downtime is important, and you do need to relax and take your foot off the gas. But it can be easy to lose base fitness, put on too much weight, and get out of those ingrained healthy habits. If you choose to take time off, make sure there’s an end to it - and that you have clear plans for getting back into offseason training.