With the 2011 race season coming to an end, some athletes may feel unsure of what to do with the down time during the off-season. Coach Jeff Vicario offers some advice on how to make the most of the rest of 2011 in order to plan and prepare for an even bigger and better 2012.
Q: I am about to close out my 2011 triathlon season with Ironman Arizona (later this month) and am not sure of the best way to begin planning for 2012. While I am eager to jump back in I know I should take some time off. I just don’t want to lose any of my fitness in the process.
A: Without a doubt you need to allow time after your final race of the year for a break to rest, evaluate the 2011 season and to plan your 2012 events. While it is inevitable that some fitness will be lost, endurance is the last of our fitness to start eroding. As we lose our fitness, we do so in layers. Explosiveness, strength, and power all deteriorate first and at varying rates, followed finally by your endurance fitness.
During this down time, evaluate your past year to determine what your limiters were. Start with your TrainingPeaks training log. If you have not kept it updated, this would be the perfect place to start for 2012. Knowledge is power and a detailed log will put valuable information at your fingertips. If you had an epic year look back at the months leading up to your key successful event. If you were injury-prone, look for sudden mileage increases or skipped recovery days. If you just didn’t quite reach your goals, what held you back and where can you gain the most improvement?
Careful inspection of strengths and weaknesses should highlight the areas of your arsenal that need attention. To improve, you need to address these weaknesses. Pick three measureable goals and three objectives to help you obtain those goals and then create a detailed plan of action. This is the key to future success and is often the most overlooked part of your planning.
Consider added a strength training routine to build your total body strength. This is often neglected during the season when we are focused on race-specific training. Additionally, a lack of flexibility and strength are one of the leading causes for injuries, so look for a yoga class to increase your flexibility during this time of year.
Reflect on the miles and memories of the past year before turning your focus to the year ahead.
You can create an annual training plan in TrainingPeaks for your upcoming year to set goals and plan your events. See our recent Tumblr post for a step-by-step guide on how to do this. You can also check out some of our off-season training plans, winter training plans, or strength training plans to keep yourself on track this winter.
If you have a question you’d like to see here on the Training Peaks Blog submit them to jvicario@TrainingBible.com.
Jeff Vicario is an Elite TrainingBible, USA Triathlon and USA Cycling Certified Coach. He has an immediate opening for one athlete for 2012 and can be contacted for further information at jvicario@TrainingBible.com.