Off season for those looking to achieve big goals? How is it athletes think that taking months off or with less training, unstructured etc. is preparing them for a better result/performance in the next season? How long does it take YOU to return to YOUR ideal fitness? How does an athlete improve if they get back to ideal fitness weeks/months later? Here is the frustration/observation of a coach: if we constantly return to the ideal fitness (par) at the beginning of the season, 12-16, even 20 weeks prior to the key event(s), and THEN focus/work really hard towards the event..how can the athlete improve? If we are always repeating the same training cycle, not the same training…the same training cycle/rhythm..then how do we expect to make significant improvements upon the Elite of the sport (whether AG or Pro?)…
Athletes prepping for the Olympics typically work 18 months straight into the event. Sure, 2-3 weeks lighter, or more structured rest, or even 5 days off is a different story than 6-8 weeks off or unstructured. I know this sounds like a promo for coaching, but I am also the racer, athlete…and I know that my competitors are not getting slower…I know that to reach NEW plateaus of fitness and improvement, I can’t stop training and making myself better.
What goals do YOU have for 2012? Do you think that re-engaging with them in January is going to make you that much better? Or do you want to start your ‘in season’ with a fitness level that helps you reach NEW levels, new results, new goals and faster times? Do you want to be the one that is treading water in one place or move up on the field while THEY are taking time off? Do you want to leapfrog your competition and reach your goals, or do you want to stay where you are with the same approach and structure as before? You can only move forward, progress, improve, get faster by…..moving forward – staying sharp, focused and executing your plan.
One last thing I always hear: but I need the off season to work on my weaknesses – do drills etc. to improve my form, efficiency. This is VERY true – but how can you work on your cycling strength if you are applying it when you are not 100% fit? Why work on trail running (strength, core, footspeed & strength) if you are not strong and fit enough to absorb that work? How can we expect to drill and focus on swim technique improvements when not strong or fit enough to apply those drills after 2200-2800 yrds when the body NEEDS to feel those improvements?
FIRST you need to be fit, then you can get stronger. Many athletes wonder why their off season work doesn’t translate to the ‘season’…were you fit enough to IMPROVE, vs. just get back to PAR….?
Don’t hit PAR fitness in the preseason…hit it soon and IMPROVE in the preseason. Move UP against the competition!