Why taking an off-season is so important for your triathlon training
It is complicated for almost every serious triathlete to stop training. Sometimes it is because we want to continue to improve in some specific sport and sometimes it is because training becomes the time where we can be far away from the complications of life such as work, stress, family, etc. We find that in the training, it is OUR space and OUR time to escape, to think, to enjoy, to live and to meditate in some specific areas of our lives, writes leading Mexican physician Dr. Humberto Aguilar.
But in that way, every season that passes leaves inside of us some experiences. While sometimes those experiences are good, at other times they can be very deep or, even more so, they can be really bad and difficult. However, as these seasons are passing in front of us one thing that is sure is that the time spent will never come back. So, every season that passes in one form or other makes us older and wiser and in that regard, I would like to share what the importance of taking an off-season means to me.
To be in shape to race or compete requires a lot of sacrifices with time, discipline and support from family, friends and coworkers. It is very complicated to try to be 100% in shape all the time, even the elite and professional triathletes cannot always be in perfect shape to race all the time. At the Amateur or Age-Group level, to try to maintain your fitness is even more complicated. So aside from a fitness aspect and allowing one’s body to rest, it is also important to try to understand that taking an off-season is necessary not only for ourselves but also for the most important supporters; our family and friends. It is a time to be able to focus on them and also focus on other aspects of life such as in our business or jobs and other responsibilities.
Having an off-season from Triathlon and training is important for the outside aspects of Triathlon, which is the family, the couple, the child, the job and the community. Whether you are an older more experienced World Triathlete or a younger World Triathlete beginning in the sport, taking an off-season means it is time to stop trying to increase the speed in water, on the bike or in the run, but instead it is time to increase in ourselves. And with that mentality, it is more beneficial than training because it allows for the next season that we can be a better person ultimately a better triathlete.
As an MD I understand that all bodies require time for recovery from a very tough season. We need time to change our sports patterns and use different muscle groups, to change our metabolic status and enjoy food in different ways and also it is time to think and meditate in other aspects of our lives and our sports.
Every off-season is useful for detecting any changes in our systems that could result in us needing to check carefully. The phrase exercise is medicine is completely true and is the best way to improve so many systems in the body and prevent some important diseases that can occur. An offseason is a good time to check our systems because every season we are older, which means that the body is undergoing different changes. It is during the off-season that we can listen to our bodies and detect in time these changes that could be an injury or disease down the line.
Why is it difficult and complicated to stop training and take an off-season as a triathlete? Because in this endurance sport no one feels good with the inactivity. But I challenge you to see an off-season as a part of training. And if stopping all together seems impossible, perhaps we need to just reduce the speed and the quantity of kilometres on the bike and run, or take the time for doing other activities that can recharge the life batteries.
This article was written and contributed by Dr. Humberto Aguilar, an Age-Group World Triathlete from Mexico, who has been competing in ITU events since 2005. He has also been Medical Delegate at ITU-sanctioned events. If you would like to be featured as an Age-Group contributor please send your request to email@example.com