Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How to structure your off season!

For most athletes they are now entering or about to enter their off season. How an athlete structures the off season will have a direct impact on their success for next season. Here are some tips on how we at E-Endurance approach the off season.

The first step is to set goals for next season. Many athletes, especially ones coming off racing Ironmans, find it difficult to find their motivation to continue to train. It is important to take some time off, but one needs to be careful as two weeks off can become one month, then 2 months, and then 4 and the longer one takes off, the longer it will take to get your fitness back. By having goals it will allow you to map out your training plan and give purpose to your workouts. 

Whatever your goal race, determine how many weeks will be needed for a specific build to that race. It maybe a 12, 16, 20, or 24 week build. Count backwards and determine when the build will start. If its a late season race, you may find the build starts in May or June.

With your build to your goal race figured out, you can now plan the off season. There are many ways this can be approached. If your build does not start till May or June, there maybe a spring race you can peak for. Or perhaps a spring half marathon so can improve your run. Cyclocross is another option. Not only will you improve your biking, but you will also improve upon your bike handling skills. The Illinois Masters swimming state meet is in April every year. Work on improving your time in the 500 and 1650 free and watch how it improves your swim in a triathlon. 

Regardless if you plan to do a spring race or not, its is important to take some time off. Normally we will require athletes to take 2 weeks completely off before moving into a couple weeks of light training with little structure. This allows not only the body to heal, but the mind to rest as well. 

Its a good time to work on getting rid of any nagging injuries or pains. You may need to do physical therapy. Take the time to get completely healthy. Build in strength training. It will be important to build up the body so it will be able to handle the strain you will put on it. 

If you find getting in the pool, biking, or running is a little to much, find something else you like to enjoy. If you like to kayak, get it in while it is still warm enough out. Perhaps you always wanted to snow shoe or do more down hill skiing. Perhaps you were an ice hockey player at one time or a soccer player. Find a hockey or indoor soccer league. It does not matter what you do as long as you stay active. 

Finally, now is a good time to spend time with family and friends. Training can take up a lot of your time. use extra time you currently have to spend it with those who support you.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Training with Illness

Racing season is coming to an end, the leaves are starting to change color, and the temperatures are starting to cool off and that can mean only one thing, flu season and dealing with illness. I recently have had athletes reach out to me and ask what they should do since they have gotten sick. Should they push through, take time off, or reduce what their training load is and continue to workout. They have a big race coming up and do not want to take time off. Here are two points to help you get through being sick.

1.  Don't panic: If you have been consistently training, don't worry, a couple days off will not cause you to loose fitness. Training breaks your body down. If you are sick and you go out and do a hard workout, you may do more harm then good. If you are sick and need time off, take the time off and don't rush yourself back. Be patient and smart. Think of it this way, if you need to take 2 days off to get healthy, but you don't take the time off, it will take you longer to get health. That 2 days may become 4 days. During that time you are doing more damage to your body, risking injury and it will take you longer to get back to normal training. 

2. Be patient: The amount of time that you missed should be, at a minimum, equal to the time that was missed. If you are out for 2 days, then take 2 easier days to get yourself back into training. From there you can see how you are feeling. If it takes an extra day, then take the extra day. Better to be healthy and your body ready before putting heavy demand back on to it. Keeping the first point in mind, would you rather miss 2 days, take 2 days to build back into training, and be back to full training on day 5, or be sick for 4 days with crappy training, risk injury, and then only be back to full training in 8 days. Training is all about optimizing your recovery so you can push your body again as soon as possible. If you get sick you need to do the same.