2020 sucks a lot of energy! Some have had a few races or have a few more races and some have preferred not to start. What we all have in common is struggling with this year’s uncertainty. Usually Kona is seen as the end of the LD triathlon season, and around this time many people take their season break and switch off. At least those who have already made the mistake of shooting through and not taking a break.
What does offseason mean?
Ignore all training plans, social media posts from other athletes or training tips for at least 2-3 weeks and take some distance from sport. Especially this year is mentally very stressful and it doesn’t matter whether you pulled it off really hard or took everything a little easier. The offseason serves as a reset button for your athletic existence. Don’t force yourself to sit hard on the sofa all the time. It’s about bringing body and mind back into balance and recharging your batteries for the new season. Go out and hike a bit or read a book, go to the spa, ride a little mountain bike. No matter what you do, do it without compulsion and let your body decide what it wants. Use the time to give something back to yourself. With all the training in addition to the stress of everyday life, you demand a lot from yourself.
Why? I’m just losing my whole shape!
As I said, you shouldn’t just lie on the sofa. Move as you like. A classic among the training studies (Effects of detraining Coyle: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3944049/) describes very nicely the biggest problem of “training off” in relation to the cardiovascular system: The loss of performance occurs because of the Decrease in total blood volume. That means after 2 weeks of inactivity the blood volume decreased and thus the performance decreased. One saw a low Vo2 and a higher heart rate with the same load in the cf. before the 2-week inactivity. This is also often what you perceive as a loss of form: “Phew at the same speed I suddenly have to work a lot more.” With less blood volume, the heart has to work harder to distribute the blood. So if you move a little in your offseason, you don’t lose quite as much blood volume. And your joints and tendons won’t rust. And don’t worry, you will regain your level in a few weeks after starting your training.
So why should you do an offseason?
The alpha animal endurance athlete often only knows how to flee forwards. That’s good, but stress doesn’t make you grow. The train of thought for many is: the greater the stimulus, the better the adaptation. YES NO. We only adapt when we can process the stimulus. So it’s about finding the optimal point at which we develop enough stress for an adaptation and can also process the stress. This is where the point comes into play that many ignore or at least underestimate: Our everyday life also causes stress and not too little! So always consider training + life = total stress. This applies on a small scale per day, per week and also on a large scale per year, per season etc. See the offseason as a growth potential. The season was tough, even if it was probably. not physically like others with a lot of races, but she was 100% mentally tough. Corona has put us all in a stressful situation. We deserve to switch off and grow!
Be good to yourself and treat yourself to the offseason. In the end, you’ll end up stronger than if you just pull through!
Stress + recovery = growth
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