It's that time of year again -- Off-season. For some it's a welcome time in their training cycle; while others dread it. The key to a successful off-season is finding the perfect balance between an overly ambitious training plan and getting lazy.
Most runners and endurance athletes offseason is not an incredibly long period of time, and it differs in length depending on your goal event. Nevertheless, there should be a 10-30 day period following a key race where you enjoy some down time.
A season typically ends in one of three ways: overtraining and feeling burned out, an average goal race, or if you're lucky, a personal best!
No matter the outcome, it's crucial that you provide your body with some active recovery and proper nutrition. The beauty of active rest is that when it comes time to start your base building phase, you don’t have to start from where you started last season.
The training tips you’ll find below provide a guideline to prepare yourself for success in your next training phase.
What's your motivation? What makes you want to get up and train? Answers may vary from making an Olympic team, losing weight, or setting a new PR. Whatever it is, it's important to identify why you train.
Laying out (or writing out) your goals is important in helping you outline specific steps to achieve your end result. Maybe you've even hired a coach to put together the ultimate training program. Elite runner and coach, Brandon Laan offers this advice, "your actions must be inline with your goals. If the training program requires 2 hours of your time each day and you only have 90 minutes, it is not the right program for you, no matter how sound the design is." Here are a few subtitle suggestions from coach Laan for your goal planning session:
Learning more about the best diet to fuel your training is important to your success. Hydrating properly before, during, and after workouts. Ditch the sugary sports drinks. Eat the right meal post-workout to improve recovery. Taking the time to research what foods and supplements will help your body may be the secret you've been looking for.
Training runs and workouts are an important part of all training programs. However, recovery is even more important if we want to see improvements and reach our goals. Using recovery tools like foam rollers, massage sticks, and trigger point tools are helpful but aren't the only things we should rely on.
Just as the body needs fuel for energy while exercising, nutrients like amino acids are essential for the bodies ability to repair muscle and tissue for recovery post workout. A proper diet of natural foods including carbohydrates and protein is essential, but even today’s balanced diets may lack sufficient amounts of nutrients that athletes need.
Amino acids are a key component for proper recovery from exercise. They facilitate protein synthesis and help repair of muscle, bones, and skin.
No off-season program is complete without some strength training. Before jumping into your base phase of training it's important to work on fixing imbalances in our bodies and improving overall strength. A strong foundation of strength will help with injury-prevention and make your training more enjoyable.