How to recover from a hard triathlon season
Don’t just go by feel – follow a plan (and remember to enjoy your downtime!)
The ideal recovery is different for everyone, but whoever you are it shouldn't be rushed.
You can’t get ahead with fitness or form by rushing into big-volume or high-intensity sessions too soon after the formal season wraps up. In many ways, recovery is like training: you can’t just go by feel – to get it right you need to have a plan.
Take a minimum of two weeks away from all formal training. This means disappearing from group sessions, locking your kit away and steering clear of any social media/Strava-type sites – you don’t want to be worrying about what other people are doing.
Your season is over, so chill out and enjoy some downtime. Doing so will allow your immune system, hormones and muscles a chance to fully recharge. A note of warning though: spend months away and your weight gain, rustiness and lack of momentum will take a long time to overcome.
While you’re enjoying your break from training and racing, use the time to:
A. Give something back to all the family and friends who supported you during the season.
B. Make a start on the admin for next year: pinpoint your priority races, arrange accommodation, plan training blocks and so on.
C. Concentrate on your non-triathlon ‘to do’ list for the off-season. When you don’t need to be doing lots of training it’s time to divert your energy elsewhere. You can cash in the brownie points you earn now when you get to race season.
Start planning the first phase of your training so you can map out appropriate sessions to cover the necessary volume and intensity. Most athletes should be hitting their largest training volume in late winter/spring (Feb-Apr).
Do too much too soon during autumn and winter and you’ll get ill more often. I’ve known athletes do 100 hours a month at the wrong time and fail to finish their goal Ironman. That one mistake ruined their season. Others, in contrast, time it right and win their age-group before going on to better things that season.
Never underestimate how much a hard season takes out of you, and how you must respect and listen to your body and those around you who notice your general health and wellbeing.
How's your post-season recovery going? Let us know in the comments below!