The main goal is to keep some level of aerobic conditioning. While some work is likely done in all three sports, it isn't as much as in the competitive season.
Structured, split season
This format is more structured and it has more specific goals. This athlete may recover from the triathlon season and then head directly into another sport season. This new season is followed again by a recovery period before heading back into a new triathlon season. This is a great way for athletes needing a bit of extra work in either swim, bike or run to give that sport more attention.
For example, this athlete may have a goal to complete a half-marathon, compete in Masters swim meets, focus on cycling, or select a sport complimentary to triathlon such as cross-country skiing or skate skiing. This season will be complete with intensity in the sport of focus, but more than likely, any work done in the other sports related to triathlon will be completely aerobic and may be used for recovery.
Big Blocks of Time Off?
If you do take big blocks of time off, such as three or four days at a time, be cautious about how much intensity you include in your weekly program. You may have to reduce your speed expectations in order to avoid injury. Injury finds an open invitation from athletes that are:
- Doing too much intensity on too little aerobic fitness
- Trying to maintain race season paces
- Making poor nutrition choices
Girls (and Boys) Just Wanna Have Fun
If you just want to have fun during the holiday season and skip workouts, expect to pay the price of starting again in January or February. This means doing something about that holiday weight and a loss of fitness.
Enjoy the holidays, but resist digging yourself into a weight management and fitness hole that takes several months of the new year to repair.
Pinched for Time
If you are really pinched for time in the next few months, one good option to keep some fitness and manage stress is to run three or four days per week and put everything else on the back burner until after the holiday season. Running travels well in that you don't need much equipment; you can travel light and run from nearly any location.
Instead of planning to have the holidays take control of you, plan to take control of your health with a 5K or two so you have a couple of goals to keep you inspired.
It's Up to You
Because each athlete brings a different level of ability and training to the table, this is a difficult question to answer directly. Hopefully, I've given enough information so that you can decide what is best for your situation.
The main goal, as always, is to stay healthy and fit.