THREE REA­SONS YOU NEED AN OFF-SEA­SON

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Warm-up Tri Tip - BY MEGHAN LAMERS

SO YOU’VE JUST fin­ished your 2018 triathlon sea­son. Maybe it went ac­cord­ing to plan and you achieved all of your goals, or maybe it didn’t. Ei­ther way, now the time has come for the most po­lar­iz­ing time of the year for many triath­letes: the off-sea­son. You can ap­proach this time of the year in a va­ri­ety of ways: com­pletely re­mov­ing your­self from the sport for sev­eral weeks, or you might just take a few weeks and do light train­ing. How­ever, I would en­cour­age you to avoid fall­ing into the trap of com­pletely skip­ping the off-sea­son and jump­ing straight into your 2019 train­ing. Here are three rea­sons why you need to give your­self a break.

1. BAL­ANCE In the sport of triathlon, we are con­stantly bal­anc­ing our swim, bike and run train­ing. Add to all that some strength train­ing, pre­hab ex­er­cises, re­cov­ery, as well as nu­tri­tion, and you re­al­ize how much of our time and at­ten­tion the sport de­mands. The off-sea­son is a great time to re­mem­ber those other in­ter­ests you have and tap into those tal­ents that you had to put on the back-burner while you were gear­ing up for your big race of the sea­son. Now is the time to prac­tice your paint­ing skills, cook or read all of those Triathlon Magazine Canada is­sues that have piled up on your night­stand. The off-sea­son gives you the free­dom to take in some other ac­tiv­i­ties and bring a bit more bal­ance to your life. This hol­i­day sea­son, when fam­ily or friends ask you what’s new, you can re­count sto­ries rather than drop­ping train­ing split times.

2. GIVE-AND-TAKE Dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion sea­son, we triath­letes can of­ten be self­ish with our time. This selfish­ness is OK in mod­er­a­tion. We all have peo­ple in our lives, be it fam­ily, friends or a sig­nif­i­cant other, who sup­port us dur­ing our peak sea­son. These peo­ple have been un­der­stand­ing when we say can’t stay out late at a fam­ily func­tion, watch the new Star Wars movie or take long morn­ing walks on the beach. This is the time you can stay up a bit later to watch that movie, at­tend fun events and give back to your loved ones who have been sup­port­ing you all sea­son long.

If the idea of bal­ance or giv­ing time to loved ones doesn’t res­onate with you, I give you rea­son num­ber three.

3. MACRO-SCALE PERIODIZATION Dur­ing peak train­ing, on a mi­cro-scale (within a week or week-to-week), you prob­a­bly had some harder and some lighter train­ing days. It is likely you did this be­cause you wanted to en­sure that you could op­ti­mize your pace dur­ing those key train­ing ses­sions. Well, this isn’t dis­sim­i­lar to why you need an off-sea­son. On a macro-scale (within a year), you have months where train­ing ramps up, prepar­ing you for your A-race. How­ever, this in­crease in train­ing in­ten­sity and vol­ume is most ef­fec­tive when bal­anced by a lower train­ing in­ten­sity and vol­ume dur­ing the off-sea­son. Think about it: you just went through months of hard train­ing, ask­ing your body to per­form day-in and day-out. Un­less you are a pro­fes­sional triath­lete and/or have ab­so­lutely no other life obli­ga­tions, you also asked your body to per­form at its best while meet­ing the re­quire­ments of a busy life. Re­gard­less of how your fi­nal race went, this doesn’t dis­count the months of hard train­ing your body en­dured. Give your body a beak with some much-de­served rest.

Hope­fully I’ve con­vinced you that off-sea­son is an im­por­tant part of your yearly train­ing sched­ule. So cheers to the off-sea­son. May your train­ing be min­i­mal and your free-time be merry, be­cause it is such a won­der­ful and im­por­tant time of the year.

Meghan Lamers is an elite triath­lete who lives and trains in Guelph, Ont.

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