“Know your Options”
The above quote is one of those statements that comes in handy no matter what the current situation is. Having a full grasp of where you stand and what’s possible is the key to success on many levels. Here on BeginnerTriathlete.com, we have created numerous plans that can be used interchangeably season after season. There are so many plans that there is no need to ever do the same plans twice in a row or even two or three seasons in a row!While going into the off-season is a time to physically recover and take time to mentally recharge, there is the question that I get a few times a week this time of year: “What’s next?” Great question and my standard answer is, “It depends.” I am a firm believer in taking time off, but at the same time you don’t want to see your hard earned fitness evaporate. That’s a fine line to balance for sure. Taking a few weeks of doing absolutely nothing is the right thing for you, if that’s what you need to do. Remember that for every week you don’t train you lose about 7% fitness the first week and then after that it gets progressively worse. When Rest Becomes DetrainingSo where should you start? The first thing to assess is how long you’ve been doing multisport training. For 1-3 years, I would recommend using an off-season program that allows you to build endurance. If you have only been in multisport for 1-3 years, but have been doing another form of endurance training for more than 3 years, then I would look at the next option.
Sport RotationWhat are your weaknesses and strengths? If you have a weakness in triathlon that is significantly weaker than the other two sports, then you need to address it. I’ve created a system called “Sport Rotation” the basics are that you take your weakest sport and focus on it for 8 weeks where you usually see 5 workouts per week in that sport. For the other two sports you drop down into maintenance mode and maybe execute 2-3 workouts per week in those sports. Once you finish 8 weeks with your weakest sport, you can rotate to the next weakest sport for another 8 weeks. On the third cycle, you can move to the third sport, or, as I have done many times with my athletes, is have them repeat the first sport again. Yes, again. You want to improve, right? Then prove it.
If you use two months to focus on one sport, then a complete rotation would take six months. After six months you can return to a more balanced approach. If you let the season’s dictate your schedule it would go something like this: Starting around November 1st you start your run focus. By early January you would start your swim focus and by early March you would be starting your bike focus. You don’t have to make it that rigid as we usually have off weeks, colds in the winter, and life that gets in the way of training. It happens. So, we have the two biggest questions answered, what does that leave us with? If you have plenty of endurance, and don’t have any one sport that stands out as a weakness, then you could do a short 4-6 week base period to get rolling again, and then add in a high intensity plan like a “No Fluff Plan”. Be careful, as this is high intensity and if you don’t meet the criteria, you will potentially end up injured. To put this in an easier format for everyone, you can see below the way to move through the plans:
1-3 years in triathlon:
Winter Maintenance Plan 12 weeks.
After one 12 week block, an athlete can move into one of these plans:
Winter Maintenance to Sprint Race planWinter Maintenance to Olympic Race PlanWinter Maintenance to Half Iron Distance Race PlanMore then 2 years in triathlon but needs help in one sport:
Sport Rotation (weakest sport), 8 weeksSport Rotation (2nd weakest sport), 8 weeksSport Rotation (3rd weakest sport or weakest sport again), 8 weeks
8 week sport focused plans:
After one 12 week block of the above 3 plans, an athlete can move into:
Winter Maintenance plan then onto a Sprint Race planWinter Maintenance plan then onto a Olympic Race PlanWinter Maintenance plan then onto a Half Iron Distance Race Plan
*Note, you do not have to put all 3 plans together. If you only have time for one or two, that is fine.More than 3 years experience, and no real weakness:
12 Week 'No Fluff' Plan
There are many, many options and that was the point of us creating so many plans; to give you options. So, if you have questions post them and I’ll answer them.
What if you use the Custom Training Plan Creator?
Free-Silver MembersYou can access the Custom training plan creator via the 'Custom' dropdown. You can create off season and focus plans, but no workout details are given (gold level feature) - only the amount of total time per workout is given.
Silver MembersAccess all of the detailed stock 20 week Winter Maintenance plans, the three 8-week 'Sport Focused' plans and the 12 Week 'No Fluff' plan.
Gold MembersAccess all of the detailed stock plans.Access the full version of the Custom Training Plan Creator to get workout details and the ability to create half iron and full iron distance plans.
Go to the 'Programs' page to see all of the options.
With the above options, there is simply no reason to not create your perfect off season per your goals.
Don’t forget to check out our Online Monthly Coaching (which also includes access to all of these plans above). The cost is $35/month. I’m not sure you are going to find a better deal than that!