Monday, February 1, 2016

Your Real Off Season

It's the off season. What does this mean, exactly? It's different for every athlete. With so much access to everyone on social media it's easy to get confused about what you should be doing.

With millions of people posting all different versions of their off seasons it can get pretty darn confusing. Take a day off. Take a week off. Take a month off. Don't take an off season at all.

The first thing to consider is how much do you train all year? What does your total weekly volume look like? How big was your competitive season? When do you plan to start your race season in the new year?

For most amateurs, breaks take care of themselves. Between family, work and travel, if you add up the number of days and weeks that you are actually off you’d see there are already breaks in your year. I call these breaks and rest through forced circumstances. These breaks usually affect athletes who have pretty darn busy lives and only total 10 to 15 hours of weekly training. When you pile on a business trip every three to 12 weeks, family holidays, "life is kicking your ass" breaks on top of what you deal with on a weekly basis, there is all plenty of rest that often doesn’t get accounted for.

If you fall into this category I suggest your off season be short! Rest a bit after your main race, take a mental break from absolute structure (maybe you go on more social sessions or hit the mountain bike instead of your TT bike). But avoid taking three to four weeks off.

These deep rest periods you hear athletes taking are for athletes training all season more than 25 hours per week all year long with up to four ironmans a year, plus a full race schedule of shorter races.

I suggest using your off season to rebuild some weaknesses and improve on areas you are not able to in the thick of your season. Rebuild to be a better athlete in this period with no races looming over your head.

Avoid getting caught up in what it “appears” people are doing on social media. I can tell you what feels like off season to a professional athlete is what some of your biggest weeks might look like in your race season.
Do what's best for you.


Marilyn Chychota has been in elite sport since the age of 9, from show jumping to cycling and triathlon. Competing on an international stage in all three sports with an Ironman title, several podiums and state championships in cycling, Marilyn works with all distance and level of triathletes and cyclists. From beginners to elites; short course, bike racing, stage racing and long course triathlon, she has guided several athletes to the podium and to Hawaii qualifications.
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