Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of the Off Season

There have been so much I have been wanting to write about, but my time has been taken up by this thing I have to do called “a job”.  Do any of you out there have this same problem?  It is really starting to get in the way of my training, coaching and especially my blogging.  I cannot believe how long it has been since I have posted something, and it is a crime with all the ideas that have been flying around in my head.

Let me use this post as a way to get back into the habit of blogging daily or at least a few times a week.  Subject – The Off Season.

I have been toiling with this for the past month just because I have been finding myself not working out a little less than normal.  When I do, I am enjoying lower durations with small bursts of high effort, a.k.a intervals.  As I speak with some of my fellow cohorts in triathlon I have been getting two primarily different opinions.  One is coming from the die-hards, “Off season??  What off season?  There is NO off-season!”, the other is coming from most of the guys that actually take podiums, but have more time to train during race season.  “Dude, you have to come down a bit and give your body a rest.  You have been putting it through a lot of stress.  Trust me bro, you will have a better race season if you slow down a bit and take some rest.”    So, what does a guy in my position do?  I want to improve, but my philosophy is all about injury prevention.

Looking at the science of it I came up with the following opinion (notice I said opinion?):

Working out is cumulative – everything you do to a muscle repeatedly continues to impact it no matter what you are doing.  Why do most marathon training plans have the mileage go up for 3 weeks and then dramatically falls the 4th week?  The quadriceps  hamstrings, calves, have taken a beating for three weeks and they need time to recuperate.  The fibers of the muscle need time to repair, but if they keep being taxed then they stretch and start to heal they are taxed again.  Even though they have started the healing process, they cannot fully heal unless they are put at rest for a significant amount of time.  Yes, with proper nutrition, and preemptive injury therapy the healing can be expedited to a point, but they surely will not heal completely unless they are at rest.

 Running everyday for 15 days in a row no matter how much the workouts change from slow to fast twitch muscles and back again, put a cumulative toll on your body.  Now put that in perspective of a triathlete’s season that starts with base workouts in late January and doesn’t end until late October early November.  That is 10 months of a cumulative toll on the body, whether you are an age grouper or pro.  Do you think with that kind of wear and tear on the body that if there isn’t a slow down in the frequency and a lowering of the effort level that there might be some injuries awaiting or at least some backsliding in the coming racing season?  I do.

Fact:  It takes even a pro marathoner 20 days to fully recuperate from a race.  26.2 hard miles on the body of a fully trained marathoner, still takes a long time to recuperate doesn’t it?  What do you think that does to an age grouper?

I am going to take this month as it comes.  I am going to do a few races, and if I don’t feel like working out when the alarm goes off, so be it.  When January comes I’ll be doing my base mileage and continuing my strength and flexibility training as planned, but when February 1st comes…..IT”S ON!!!!!

When will you start your race season training?

Carpe Viam!!

Brad Minus

is a certified running coach, triathlon coach, personal trainer and sports nutrition coach who's real passion is to help others enjoy the journey on the way to conquering their goals. He has written many articles and guest posts on the technical, nutritional and psychological aspects of endurance training. He currently lives and trains in Tampa, Florida.

  • meghan says:

    After a pretty full half and challenge season last year, I had to take a break. It was more of a mental break against burnout than a physical break that I felt I needed. It felt good to go to the gym and take different classes, do some HIIT training, and vary things a bit. Because I haven’t gotten into tris (yet), I look at what we’re in right now as racing season. All the half and full marathons in the area right now make me excited. I view March as nearing the end of racing season. Maybe when I get a bike and am able to pick up triathlons I’ll view training differently. I think your ideas are good ones. I think getting up and going to the gym when you feel like it is the best thing to do, and if you don’t, don’t go. That way when your IMFL training starts (that’s what it is that’s starting February 1, right?) you’ll be mentally and physically ready to get down to business.

  • Rest is the hardest part for me! I love being active! I learned at the women’s that I couldn’t do Brandon two weeks later and do it at my best! You’re being smart so that you also remember why you do the sports you love and don’t get bet down from it! 🙂

  • Beka says:

    I start training hard for my A-race in January. After the Brandon half, my hip has been responding so much better to active recovery than to complete rest. But sometimes rest is neceessary as much as we don’t want to do it. In fact just today I woke up and just didn’t feel like doing anything – so you know what? I didn’t. And I’m already excited to run again this weekend. Burn out is definitely avoidable in the off months and just makes us all that more excited to ramp things up when the time comes. 🙂

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