Welcome to race week, triathletes!
Hopefully by now, you will be starting to feel refreshed and almost ready to rock and roll come race day next weekend… Excited, energetic and focused….
But what happens after race day is over or the race season finished? Do you keep on training? Have a break? What do you do to keep away the post race blues or from falling into a post race heap on the couch.
I recommend after a big race such as a half ironman or ironman, you have at least 1.5-2 weeks off…AT LEAST!!…. The amount of time will depend on whether you have another race on your schedule or if you are heading straight into off season…
Relax, sleep, watch tv, catch up on chores and friends and family time.. Do all those non sporty things that you promised yourself you would do “after ironman”. Get that injury treatment done that you have put off a million times because you didn’t want to stop racing.
It doesn’t matter if you have another race lined up, a week or so rest will not harm your fitness after such a big race. Once those of you, that have another big race coming up, have had this rest, then your training will kick off again and the blog after this point doesn’t really apply to you. Just make sure you take a proper break at some stage and I talk about that below.
For those of you, that are heading into off season, once you start to feel human again and in some instances a little bored, then if you want to (and take more time if you don’t), it is time to start to exercise again…
Spend 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on how you are feeling, doing unstructured training. Spend time riding and running with your mates. I’d jump in the pool once a week with a squad or with some mates just to maintain a feel for the water.
Get the passion back, enjoy the fun and friendships and basic fitness. This is probably why you started training and racing in the first place. 🙂
While you are enjoying unstructured training, now is the time to start thinking about your next big goal or what you want to achieve next race season. Mull things over and don’t forget the “why” when making a decision about your next move. Although, I am sure many of you will have already got the next season locked in and that is fine too.. At least then you know how long you can play for before getting back down to work.
Enjoying the freedom and thinking about your future plans will give you something to look forward to and likely keep you off the couch.
Start putting your plans in place, chat to your coach if you have one and start shaping the next season and decide when you need to start structured training for your next big race.
Now is the time to work on your weaknesses, some spend time on their swim technique, some get the the gym and build on their strength. Work on those training aspects you don’t get time to while you are hitting your straps in the lead up to a race.
Then it is back into full training again…..
Taking a decent break is so important to encourage longevity in sport.
Athletes, particularly triathletes, often think that they have to keep training hard all year round or they will lose their fitness. The pay off for maintaining this “fitness” is often burnout and injury, with the outcome being that performance level of an athlete will drop off anyway.
So why not take a break and go and see what else the world has to offer. Most other sports seem to have an off season and those athletes manage to come back just as fit and strong the following year. Make the most of the time after a big race or at the end of the season and come back feeling refreshed, energised and ready to attack another big race or season… I guarantee you will last much longer in the sport if you do!!
Good luck on race day and enjoy your break!!
Peta from Energise Coaching is a Triathlon Australia Development Coach and an Athletics Australia Recreational Running Coach. She offers personalised training programs for triathlon/swimming/running, generic training plans and structured run sessions for all levels and abilities. Contact Peta and ask what she can do for you!