The off season, the time of year to step back, assess the previous season and plan for the next. It can be a strange time of year, with many people approaching it in different ways. For most, it consists of a well earnt rest to repair the body and refresh the mind. We caught up with some of our OTE supported athletes to find out how they approach the off season and getting back into training.
Kit Walker (Professional Triathlete)
“The off season for me always starts with a complete rest from all training. This year my last race was Challenge Paguera-Mallorca in October and from there it was 2 weeks trying to not be an athlete, enjoy time at home with my family and get all those things I had been putting off all race season done. During this time I ate and drank what I wanted and just generally tried to relax as much as possible. Now though it’s back to training, my focus for this winter is to improve my running and do this with shorter more frequent runs combined with ensuring i get at least 2 strength and conditioning sessions done every week. I have set myself some goals to achieve by the end of February and a target time for a half marathon in March so when the inevitable dark, wet and windy morning comes I have things to motivate me to get out the door!
As for my diet I try and keep it as good as possible, still focussing on as much good natural foods as I can and getting my fruit and veggies in but making sure I am fuelling my training appropriately as well to keep me fresh and healthy and ensure I’m getting the gains I’m working for. I love a good vegetable soup as a winter warmer or a stew in the slow cooker. The odd slice of cake or bit of chocolate may find its way in a bit more often this time of year though!”
Andy Jackson (TT Specialist for SSLL Racing)
“Things have definitely changed over the years, there was a time, not long ago, when everyone seemed to have October off but now everyone seems to be starting back earlier and earlier. As for me I stop structured training around the end of September. In the past I have gone back to my Tri-routes and done some swimming and running, but the past couple of years I have just focussed on enjoying some unstructured time on and off the bike. I usually like to do a winter ‘epic’ just for something different, Last year it was Everesting Mt Tiede (the first person to do it), this year I rode the entire coast roads of the island of Tenerife. I followed that by a couple more unstructured weeks, but didn’t really go more than 2 days without riding – as much habit as anything but also, as you get older, you know your body and I know how hard it is to get going again if I stop such that I like to keep moving! But now 3 weeks later its back to structured winter training.
This for me is a time of year to get focussed for the new season, as much mentally as anything by planning season goals, planning kit and equipment and this year a lot of time has been spent in setting up the new SSLL racing team. Training wise it’s a mix of base Z2 and Z3 rides, but accompanied by some high end intervals to ‘remind’ the body. The old adages of miles and miles are very ‘last century’. Expecting to turn up to race in March on just base miles is kidding yourself – you need to train the body AND mind for the efforts ahead. But its also a time to enjoy meeting mates for winter rides without a specific session focus – or a race to focus on! I find winter is also a time to focus even more on diet and core strengthening and I spend a good amount of time ensuring my nutrition is right for the efforts ahead and that my body is strong enough, in the core for holding race position.”
Scott Thwaites (Professional Cyclist for Bora Argon)
“I try to have 3-4 weeks totally off the bike to recover from the season but I always get tempted by a few rides on the MTB just for fun.
It’s also the best time to get a holiday in, sitting on a beach with a cocktail is just the ticket for me. When I get back in to training, I typically do a few weeks steady base training to find my legs before starting with specific intervals.”
Suzie Richards (Elite Triathlete)
“I made it to the Saturday masters swim session the other week for the first time in months. Where had I been, I was asked? I tried to think up as many good excuses as possible:
1) Well I got lost in Northumberland. Where to go on an end of season break? We chose join the Mountain Bothies Association, put layers on top of layers and choose a campsite over wild camping on the last night as we felt it was time for a shower.
2) I am currently doing more Yoga and mobility training than swim, bike, run in an effort to build a solid foundation rather than just keep piling bricks onto the walls, which already have cracks in.
3) I got wise (er) to growing, digging, making, baking and eating. Blackberry picking provided ingredients for many dishes, apple and blackberry crumble along with blackberry muffins. Less training, provides more time in the kitchen trying out new recipes.
4) I visited the OTE Performance Centre. Beer season had come and gone and I was put through a Vo2 max test (a fancy physiological test) to see my fitness levels. I am still alive to tell the tale so beer season wasn’t too damaging. Lots of numbers and graphs were the outcome that will help me once I get training again.
Enough of the excuses, it’s time to get back into a routine and time to start thinking about the 2016 season.What races take my fancy? A question I have not yet got an answer for. But one I am thinking about as I dust off my trainers and get back into a bit of training, mainly enjoying the autumn colours and mud on my mountain bike.”
Why not share with us what you do in the off season over on our Facebook page.
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