Part of a great season is a great offseason.
This offseason is the time to recover and to reflect on the athlete. In general, it spans four to six weeks. And for some, the very idea of time off can be stressful.
How are you going to make it without the strokes, the strides, the endorphins and the marking of distance and time? How will you de-stress without your usual workouts?
Part of your deeper recovery in the offseason can only happen when you relax. Strength and long-term recovery happen when you are relaxed. The body's relaxation response will have a direct effect on regulating your hormones and healing deep connective tissue.
Both systems are hard to recover completely during the season. Get benefits similar to training, without hindering your offseason rejuvenation, with low-effort recreational activities, such as stretching and walking.
In the offseason, stretching is a life saver. Stretching is the perfect way to stay active, stimulate recovery and encourage relaxation, without having a high breakdown factor.
This might be the perfect time to try a stretching or yoga class. Stretching is also easy to fit into your busy schedule. Grab a friend or get in front of the tv and do some stretching. The more, the better.
Remember that you are in the offseason and may be a little stiff. Keep this perspective and go easier, if need be. If you are in a class, be the person that bends their knees if you have to.
Use stretching as a support to your training, not as a challenge. Triathletes should never hurt themselves stretching, (leave that to the gymnast). You are in it for the relaxation and rejuvenation.
Food will always be a factor in recovery. Food is our rebuilding material. In the offseason, be aware of the amount you eat, as well as the quality of the food.
During the offseason, strive for quantity and quality. Put on five or 10 pounds. It's easy to turn fat to muscle when the training starts up again. As for quality, keep it clean to get more depth and faster recovery.
Here are some general guidelines for eating healthier:
- The food at home is better quality; therefore home is a good place to eat.
- When you go out to eat, food can vary. So choose well and eat less.
- Parties have a lot of junk food. Knowing this, never show up starving.
- It is not what you eat that matters; it is what you eat most of the time. So have fun. It's ok to go overboard "once in a while."
Start your new season a bit heavy and out-of-shape. Feel uncertain about the task at hand. Find yourself petting your bike and glancing at your running shoes. These are all signs that you had a good offseason. Turn on your offseason, relax and rejuvenate.
Kinesiologist Brian Dorfman's proven techniques help hundreds of athletes each year. To order a Flexibility Training dvd or ask a question go to www.briandorfman.com.