Transition and preparation

After finishing my last race end of August I decided to take a few weeks off training for a mental and physical break before I go into the next season. I wouldn’t call it an off season, as I still keep active and don’t turn into a coach potato or cookie monster eating junk food all day. It’s actually a very good time to reset your body and shift your mind a little bit away from swim, bike and run

The first 2 weeks after the race I cut back on physical training but spent some time reflecting how the season and the races went. I also started to make decisions in preparation for the upcoming new season and the races I want to do. Reflecting is definitely a good way to overcome post-race depression.

The hardest thing for sure is to let go of your peak fitness. After spending so much time and effort to reach your peak fitness it is a hard thing to do. But a few weeks of rest won’t do you any harm in the long run and the fitness will come back in no time after you start into the new training season fully recovered and rested.

To make sure I am able to gain back my fitness pretty quickly I put focus on the following things:

Strengthening the body – I do a lot of yoga and start to hit the weight room more often than usual. I use this time to improve my flexibility, balance and strength. For me this is fundamental to prevent injuries and to keep my body in good shape. I also get some massages to loosen up any stiffness or go and see a physio or chiropractitioner for a general check-up.

Nutrition – I keep fueling my body with rich and nutrient dense food. I make sure to get enough vitamins and minerals into my body. Due to the lack of physical activity gaining a bit of extra weight is normal and not of a big deal. I also use this time to get some blood tests done to see if I have any deficiencies that I need to be aware off.

Light physical activities – Apart from yoga and weight training I engage in some very light jogging and swimming once a week. This has to be very light and without any time or pace constrains. I  leave my watch and heart rate monitor at home and go out for a nice and easy jog after work, followed by a swim in the ocean. Any other light activities such as walking, riding the bike along the beach or playing golf are good too. The main thing is to move your body and get the blood flowing.

The preparation block
After a couple of weeks off from regular training, I start my preparation block which lasts for another few weeks. This is where I gradually get back into normal but easy training. The training in this block will be short and not very demanding. The aim is to start developing your aerobic endurance and speed skills again and to focus on weight training and injury prevention.

It’s also a good time to do some field tests for swim, bike and run to work out your heart rate zones and your LT (lactate threshold) which I use for setting up my workouts in the following weeks of training.

Once the Preparation block is over, I am back into full swing training where the heaving lifting starts to build a strong base fitness level.