My bad tan lines have faded (my burn line is still there), my black toenail has fallen off, and my pants are mighty snug.
It has been eight weeks since Ironman Canada and I think I’ve mastered the recovery period…maybe a little too well.
Overall it has been fantastic.
Don’t get me wrong: I feel a constant yearning for long training weekends, exhausted legs, and a full Garmin Connect calendar. (Dramatic, yes, but also true!)
But after a physically and mentally taxing few months a recovery period is important.
Here are my top four recovery/off-season tips:
Give yourself a break. Take time totally off of training, be it a week or two. Catch up with family and friends you have most likely neglected. Take care of the yard work you’ve ignored. Sleep in!
I read after Mirinda Carfrae’s first Kona win she took two weeks completely off, another two weeks easy, then eased into training. If pros take time off, shouldn’t every day athletes afford their bodies the same respect?
Mix it up. Once you’ve enjoyed some time off, challenge yourself. I don’t mean challenge yourself in the same activities you normally do. Try something different and try an unstructured training plan.
I love to mix it up in the off-season. I cyclo-cross and/or mountain bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, and even tried rock climbing last year. It’s fun and it makes those runs and bikes much more enjoyable when you’ve had some time away.
Get stronger. Hit the weights (without a fear of bulking up). Run and ride short and fast to boost your lactate threshold and power output.
I’m trying out increased strength training and some speed. I hope to reap the benefits come spring!
Don’t worry. If you gain a few pounds, you’ll lose it. If you feel like you’ll never be where you were before, you’ll get it back.
Don’t let fear get the better of you and try to maintain peak fitness into spring. By summer your body will be begging for a break. I’ve been there and it isn’t fun to feel trashed when you should be in top form!
How do you do with recovery and off-season? Do you take one?