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Sonntag, 5. November 2017

Doing the best of your off-season time (triathlon)

Maybe read this first: Off Season for triathletes

Talking about triathletes, especially the long-distance guys&ladies:

We all know that when a full season goes to the end, we try a mixture of feelings:

# Satisfied or even happy or frustrated about the last season 
# very enthusiastic about the next one (“I’ll show them, who is the best!” or something like that, by the way, this is one of the most destructive approach you can have) 
# tired even if many of you pretend not to be (ego or simply ignorance) 
# confused about “And now what?!” 
# “Regeneration time? Pause? What for, I feel great!” 
# “OK, regeneration …. One week is enough! Then I start training again! I beat you all next June!” 
# “I am good trained, so what does it mean off-season training actually?”
And so on, etc. etc.

One of the general mistakes is to ignore the regeneration and the necessity of pausing, then the necessity of building up again. So many athletes are sure about their optimal form in mind and body and after two weeks of “regeneration” start the training exactly where they left it two weeks ago. And if this is happening in October already or in November – I mean Europe, when we start the wintertime – it is for sure not such a good idea.

One aspect is about not to start training all three disciplines at the same level, 100%. Guess what is happening when you start so early to train in a manner that it should start 3-4 months later? You are on the path to your diagnose of burnout! I am sure you are not keen to get into that! Those people who didn’t have the best season of their career are candidates for this kind of mistake, as well as the guys who had a weak last race result at the end of the season. Of course, the last race of a season can be a real alarm signal for you and instead to jump into new training sessions you should take a real break, analyse your entire season and all the results and try to find out where the hatch is hidden. Best what you can do is to ask a specialist, a coach. It is important for you to understand where the weak points along your season were, so that you can understand the mechanisms and to change the training plans for the next season. And keep in mind that a complete training plan does include all your planed races for the next season: race A, B and C.

Generally speaking it is always about self-coached athletes acting on emotions only, not on science! Not happy with their performances/races results/trainings they do start to train too early too much, too long, to intensively and it is just a matter of time when they will get injured or hit the wall! 

Self-coached athletes who recognize the importance of a right recovery can have at least 2 reasons in mind to feel confused: 
1. How long should I cut out the training? Should I really cut out and lying on the couch or what does recovery really means? 
2. When and how should I restart again training? 

So, here are two patterns: 

1. The athlete do not properly recovery.
2. The athlete do recovery, but then has not much idea about how to start again and he/she post-pone it. Every “tomorrow” is good enough to start, tomorrow is coming, he/she wake up in a beautiful morning at the end of November or beginning of December and has still no idea what to do. So, goes back to sleep. Then January is coming and …. Sometimes is too late for certain goals of the year which just began. 

There are lot of options not to fail into these patterns. Especially the Ironman-distance athletes know that planning is 12 months per year. This mean, their mind is on track all the time, the point is not to get stressed. 

After you recovered, you have to know that your training plan always starts with building up endurance and strength. You will always start “long and slow” using your fat reserves in training. But “long” does not means a half marathon, not now – you just ended a full season of half and full marathons and half and full ironman distances, remember?! So your body needs another kind of “extreme” as challenge.

During this period of time, you will not race half or full marathons, but rather very short distances, even one or two 5 up to 10 km races. It is a way to improve your techniques and speed on short and middle distances in running, as running remains the king sport. These are short term goals when you focus on technique and on those elements where you are not so strong as your potential. It is not the right time now for training in “cruise pace” as you need to do during your Ironman-Distance Triathlon in 6 or 8 months for now! 

What I do recommend – generally, not specific, as it is always depending on each individual: 

# Focus on the ABC-Running sessions and develop them in one hour training session. It brings a lot, but a lot of advantages on long term.

# Use hills runs for 30 minutes up to one hour.

# Focus on running and strength for 4 weeks. If no local race available, find 2-3 friends and “race” together a 5 – 10 km distance.

# If you run a 5 km distance in 25 minutes (5’ pace), than train during the week:
On Monday:  OFF 
On Tuesday: 5 km at 6-6:30 pace 
On Wednesday: 2 x 200 m repeats at 5:45 pace +
                 8 x 400 m repeats at 5:00 pace with 150-200 m walk recovery inbetween
On Thurday: OFF 
On Friday:  5 km at 6-6:30 pace (like Monday) 
On Saturday: OFF or 1-2 hours enjoyable hike/jog/cycle or relaxed swim. 
On Sunday:  non-conformist fartlek during a longer run, such as: 
# 3 km at 6:30-7:00 pace, 
# 3 km at 5:45 pace, 
# 2 km at 5:00 pace, 
# 1 km at the fastest speed you can and
# 2 km recovery run at 6’–7’ pace.
Be flexible, be open minded, put questions!

Good to read too:
Running in the dark
The art behind coaching science 

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