That is the question.
It’s very common for endurance athletes to take time off after a big event or when their season comes to a close.
In the last few years there has been a shift.
What we know is that after about 3 days mitochondria number begins to decrease.
What we know is that after a hard event it is good to rest, and recover to avoid injury.
We definitely want to avoid burn out because then, all bets are off.
So what are the options?
- Taking time off, gaining weight, and coming into 2017 out of shape.
- Working on Strength and Endurance in the sports that you will be competing in
- Working your high end zones: LT/MSS, V02, and hitting some Zone 6-7; either in the form of over/unders, anaerobic capacity, and/or neuromuscular power. Focusing on winter training as being a time to decrease volume, and increase intensity. This is an excellent way to come into 2017 with a FTP (functional threshold power) the same, or higher than when you finished your racing season.
- Cross-training. Which may potentially keep your endurance at the same level. That regardless of your level of endurance it will need to be transferred to the sport that you will be competing in.
1st off we have to look at our goals for the following year. And decide what kind of training will specifically help us get to our important races.
Right now is when I look at, and begin to write ATPs (Annual Training Plans) for 2017.
What’s on my schedule.
TMBRA Marathon Mountain Bike Race Palo Duro Canyon, Texas
Dawn to Dusk, Arizona
El Paso Puzzler, Texas
6 to 12 hour race in February: Dallas, or Austin
Leadville Heavy Half, Colorado
24 hours of Enchanted Forest, New Mexico
Firecracker 50, Colorado
Breck 68, Colorado
Leadville Stage Race, Colorado
New Mexico Toughman, New Mexico
USAT Age Group Nationals, Nebraska
12 Hours of Albuquerque, New Mexico
Tierra Torture, Adoption Exchange, and likely some local sprint triathlons, and Time Trials.
I have not actually mapped any of my ‘I want to do races’. That’s what I’m doing for my clients right now. I don’t necessarily need everything to be gelled, solidified, it’s the time to start drawing it out. I always, always, work in pencil.
Option 1: is an excellent option for Non-Zoefitness clients. We like this when our competition feels that they need to take 3 months off and subsequently come into the following year de- conditioned and untrained.
One thing we can all agree on is once our season has been completed, and we have finished our last important race; we need to take some time off, and allow our bodies to recover, and rejuvenate.
This is the pivotal point.
We have just reached peaked fitness.
Do you really want to throw it all away?
I recommend, after every race, or event, taking a total of 3 days off. This generally looks like 2 days off. One of those a strength/Zoega type of day. And one day of active recovery in your sport. For most of my clients, this looks like an EZ spin.
We, myself, and Zoefitness coached athletes, take 2 weeks total transitioning, after big events.
In the 2nd week of transition, I add a little more specificity into the training, and by that 2nd weekend, we can usually put in one 2.5 to 3 hour workout. My favorite Rx for the 2nd weekend in transition is a ‘fun’ workout, or FREE. Free to find the love, and remember why it is we do the things we do. I generally, don’t put any HR parameters on it, sometimes, I will limit intensity over Zone 3. It really depends on what is happening within the following 4 weeks.
Option 2: This is an excellent option. This is the option that I do. It involves long endurance mountain bike races, snow-shoeing, skiing, and strength training. My main goals for the winter, are to not lose base fitness, endurance, and to gain muscular strength that I will be able to directly transfer to the sports I will be competing in. Most of the events I have chosen are long duration events, at higher elevations, with tons of climbing.
Option 3: This is an excellent option. This is likely the option that best works for people engaging in endurance sports. Winter means less sunlight, colder temperatures; which lead to shorter workouts. The winter is jammed back full of social obligations, and holidays, so keep your workouts short, and social calendar full! It’s all about time and intensity, your time may be limited, so let’s hit the intensity. I will be running a class at P2M beginning November 16th, 2016 and running through February 17th, 2017. I will be running 3- 4 week blocks, with time off for the holidays. There will be a total of 12 workouts. This class combined with 2 to 3 other rides per week will, indeed, bring you in ahead of the game for 2017. The majority of Zoefitness clients follow this type of Rx through the winter months. This strategy is great for single sport athletes, and athletes who’s events typically fall in the 3 hours or less category, and the time crunched athlete. These workouts are typically done indoors, and on the weekend.
Focusing on Option 3 is why cyclocross is such an excellent option for the avid cyclist.
If Option 3 interests you, I am more than happy to provide you with 3 months of limited cycling interval training for an excellent price. Indoor workouts, based on intensity, is part of my magic potion. It’s what sets me apart from a lot of other coaches. My creativity, and knowledge of work, and how to Rx that to get the outcome we’re looking for. Email me for details: email@example.com
You’ve worked so hard during the warm weather months, when there is plenty of daylight, why do you want to come into the next season at ground zero?
Option 4: There are quite a few people who take this option, and focus solely on winter sports. This option works great for people who love the winter; spend it on the slopes skiing, or snow boarding. Cross Country, and Skate Skiing are viable options we well. One strategy many coaches use, is taking their athletes to the gym, to hit it hard. I see most trainers, and coaches continuing to stress the same muscle groups in the same plane; which I find, ultimately leads to injury within the season. I feel, this is one of the main reasons we see so many injured triathletes. So, if your plan is to hit the gym this winter please consult a professional who will strengthen your supporting muscles groups, and focus on strengthening your weaknesses, while adding power into your daily gym routine. I do have a few slots left on my One on One Training schedule. They won’t last long, so if you want to work on those sore knees, shoulders, back, or whatever else ails you, you may want to see if I have a time available that will work for you. All of these options will keep you fit, your endurance high, and your soul fed. It will strengthen muscles in a different way, aiding more in recovery through the winter months. For the endurance athlete who’s main focus is group rides, tours, and single sport, shorter events, this is an excellent method to train through the winter.
From a coaching perspective, if you have been participating in your summer sports for multiple years, we can bring back your specific sport(s) fitness quickly come longer days, and warmer weather. This is assuming you have a deep well of muscle memory to draw from. If you’re taking on a new sport, or haven’t been in the sport long enough, or you’re trying a new discipline; it could take 2 to 3 months to bring your base fitness back to the level you were prior to winter. This always makes me sad. I generally think, man, where could we be if we had spent the winter 3 months training together!?! 🙂
Thanks for checking in!
Let me know if there’s any way I’m able to help you reach your goals in 2017!
I’m happy to help!
Be Your Ultimate Potential.