Off Season Blog by Coach Brian

What’s Next??  Off season and staying healthy and motivated!

Been thinking a lot lately about off-season and what to do with this time.  Been reading a lot and seems to be a pretty hot topic in the endurance world at this this time of the year:
As a coach and an athlete I think that having an off season is important.  You need the break physically, mentally and for life balance.  As endurance athletes we are very hard on our bodies.  We push ourselves to the absolute edge and then some.  After our “A” race or the end of our season we need the time off to heal.  Without this time to heal we are on our way to injury or total fatigue.  Injuries because there is never time for the damage we have done to be repaired.  Total fatigue comes with over training.  Signs that you are over training are, loss of appetite, insomnia, elevated resting heart rate, total body soreness (not the usual), not being able to perform at normal fitness level and lack of motivation. This is your body telling you that you need to rest.  Listen to it!
Mentally we need a break from training as well.  I think this is just as important as physically recovering from a hard season of training.  I also think this is not taken serious enough.  If you do not take a break mentally you WILL burn out eventually.  I speak from experience.  How do you know when you need this break?  Signs you need a mental break could be, lack of motivation, not having fun anymore, lack of excitement for your training, starting to make excuses for missing workouts, always being hard on yourself, or just general disinterest in racing or training. Ways that I battle this is simple.  Take a break!!! This could be in off season or during season.  Do something different than your normal training.  Staying active is important but there are lots of things to do to keep active.  Take the dog for a walk, paddle boarding, yoga, gym time, mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, swimming, and lots more. Once you feel that fire start to burn back inside you for your sport it is time to get back to the structured training.
Life balance is going to be different for everyone.  Spend time with the family, catch up with work, do some of the other hobbies that you enjoy, read a book, and lots more.  This is going to depend on where you are with life and what has been putting off.  Basically this is a good time to catch up with everything in your life that has been put on hold or piled up on you do to your training schedule.
All 3 of these elements are very important.  If you take the time to get healthy and life back in balance you can come back the next season ready to train.  There are lots more of off season options and training plans.  These are just my opinion.  I do think that it is important to take an “off-season”.  For endurance athletes (runner or triathletes) you should pick and “off season” or “down time” it will depend on your sport and your goals for the year.  Talk with a coach, do some research, and pick what works best for you.  Thanks!! I’m going to go enjoy my off season now!
Brian Bohrer
USAT  Level 1 Coach
USATF Level 1 Coach
USAC Level 3 Coach