SO HOW DO YOU STRUCTURE AN OFF-SEASON PROGRAM?
There is no “one size fits all” solution. Here is how I structure my off-season.
Week One: Nothing. This week I don’t engage in any physical activity. Weird, I know. I have a flexible schedule where I am able to sleep in (relative to those early morning swim sessions). I also cook new recipes, wear pants without a stretchy waste band and may even attempt to blow-dry my hair in the morning. All the new-found free time goes to those random little things that I don’t normally do during the year.
Week Two: Very light activity. For me, this usually means finding my inner Zen with some yoga classes, lots of long walks outdoors or hitting a climbing gym, etc. By now, the novelty of non-stretch pants has worn off and the realization that blow-drying my hair is pure masochism. It’s back to the usual stretchy pants and a ponytail.
Week Three: I miss triathlon. I want to swim, bike and run. I miss picking up things that feel heavy. I even miss the pain I experience during physiotherapy appointments and foam rolling. This week, I begin very easy, low-volume and unstructured swim, bike and run sessions. The key word is “unstructured.” This means that I just do what my body feels like doing. Maybe that means running on trails or swimming backcrawl and breaststroke in the pool. Whatever my body asks of me, I oblige, and not the other way around.
Week Four: I’ve given my body the rest it was asking for, and now it’s ready to begin training again. This week is the beginning of a slow and gradual build to better fitness and achieving new goals.