In terms of sports seasons we usually talk about the race season and the off-season but right now I am dealing with the odd season. The odd season is that time of the year when you are between your last major A/Priority event or race and the off-season.
This can be a mentally and physically tough time of the year. You have spent countless hours training, traveling, racing and you are feeling it! This is normal and if you are following a periodized training plan and are working with a coach you will get through it. If not you could be quickly approaching over training.
So how do we coaches manage to get our athletes through the odd season?
We will schedule transition time right after a priority event/race in an effort stave off over training and mental burnout. Most transitions occur between major training cycles and just after peaks. However the time between the last race or two and the off-season can look a little daunting to an athlete.
We still want you to train and your mind is telling you that you need a break and you do but you do not need to take off 6 weeks starting in August! If you are going to participate in a winter sport like Cyclocross or Trail Running then by all means take a couple of weeks down ASAP and start training for your next sport. However if you are a roadie, distance runner or multi-sport athlete you may still have work to do.
What is an athlete suppose to do in a longer transition
You take a week off and enjoy it! Then you need to get back on the bike or put on the running shoes and enjoy some lighter structure. You should also add some other aerobic activity in the first couple of weeks. The first couple of weeks are a great time to take a vacation. Take time on vacation to walk, hike or swim. Just remember the trick is staying active and reducing the amount of time on the bike, in the gym or running on the road.
The best time of the year to lose weight is in the off-season but the easiest time to lose weight is in the summer. So take the time and ride or run longer miles in Zones 2 and 3 and burn some fat! Who knows you might finally burn off those last few stubborn pounds.
Did you set some performance-oriented goals that you just haven’t been able to complete? There are some training factors in the odd season that you could really benefit from working on that could help you in the off-season.
Cyclists can work on improving their threshold power and even cadence in an effort to improve efficiency. Runners can also benefit from shorter tempo runs and longer easy runs. I would however not recommend explosive training as the added intensity could just push you over the edge.
Until Next Time
Train Smarter Not Harder