The benefits of the 'off-season'
RAF Sergeant and Zone3 ambassador, Scott Hill, highlights the benefits of ‘off-season’ and its importance in the recovery process.
After serving for many years and suffering from a variety of injuries due to not training properly, I found myself swimming, cycling and running to stay active, rather than competing. It was not until a friend told me about triathlon that I thought about giving it a go. Now as a club coach and active triathlon competitor mainly on the Ironman circuit, I have found that structure to training and key sessions over the racing season and off season have seen me advance in performance.
During the off season it is vital to stay active and progress the fitness you have gained over the season, rather than becoming a couch potato. It is also a time to reflect on the season in a positive way, as well as focusing on improvements to be made. If you have picked up injuries, this is the time to recuperate and recover. The beauty of three disciplines means that if you have picked up a shoulder injury from swimming, you can still bike and run whilst your shoulder injury heals. That way, you only have one discipline to rebuild and this won’t take long if your rehabilitation has been productive.
During the off season it is also good to work on strength and conditioning and this will hopefully help with avoiding injury when race reason returns. Use the period to alternate your training. Focus on strength and conditioning and work on your core and glutes, as well as doing park runs to help build speed or enter some trail races. Off season races will give you that completive drive to push. I like to do some trail races as these are off road and tend to be less impact on the joints. Commuting to work on a bike is also a good option but make sure you wear the appropriate safety clothing and are well lit up if on the roads. The cold winter months can get to the joints so wrap up and protect yourself, even on those short runs or doing drills and always remember to warm up and cool down correctly.
This is the time to plan your 2018 racing season but make the most of the off-season to recuperate and spice your training up with a variety of activity.