If you’ve had a busy summer with some big events and goals then you might be wondering what to do next, or even be experiencing a dip in motivation and mood.
This is quite common and in the world of Ironman racing even has its own label “Ironman Blues”. After several months of hard training you now have nothing to train for leaving a big gap in your life and your motivation.
For many people it’s an emotional come down after the big high of your event and can even be accompanied with depression. In the UK the end of season might also be accompanied by a change in the weather and less day light.
With some simple strategies and planning ahead you can use the down time after a big event to your advantage making it a positive experience that contributes to your future fitness and well-being as an athlete.
Preparation and Celebration
I like to talk to athletes in advance about what happens after their event. This helps to prepare for the post event period and also to make sure that people take enough time to adequately recover.
The first question is what will you do to celebrate your achievement? Planning this in advance also gives you something to look forward to in the post event lull and will give some structure to the days after your event.
Examples from YouCanCoaching athlete this season include:
- going out for a meal with family or friends
- framing your medal and finishers photo
- buying a new item of clothing
- having a tattoo
- inviting all your training partners, supporters and family around for a big party
Everyone is different so what works for you is very individual but part of enjoying your sport for the long term is celebrating your achievements.
For any event you’ll need some recovery time in the days afterwards and I encourage athletes to think about this in advance. For a long distance event such as an Ironman this might be up to 7 days with no training. If you’re someone who will find this difficult then it’s worth planning in advance to help make sure you take the recovery you need without feeling like its enforced rest.
Examples from YouCanCoaching athletes include
- catching up with family and friends
- making time for a sports massage
- catching up with work
- finishing a thesis
- having a coffee with a work colleague not seen for 12 months
- tidying up the spare room
- getting your nails done
- marshalling at the club handicap
- going to see a movie
- cooking dinner for my husband 3 nights on the trot
- taking a newbie for an open water swim
- supporting someone else at their Ironman or big event
It’s worth setting a limit to your recovery period so that it doesn’t extend into several months of no training and nights out which will make it much harder to get fit from. Typically after a long event light training can start in the 2nd week after the event, and full training can resume in the third week.
Post event is also a good time to think about what next.
Review your season and your event thinking about what went well, what you would do differently, what you enjoyed and what will inspire you for next year. Then use the time you have in the post-race period to start thinking and planning your next events.
End of season is also a good time to improve your skills, technique and injury management. This could include getting your running gait looked at, booking in for some swim coaching, or getting a movement assessment from a physio or strength and conditioning coach.
Part of training and staying healthy is having some rest and recovery periods. If you’re at the end of your season and have recovered from your major event it’s useful to have a transition period of 4-6 weeks before you start winter training. This gives your mind and body a break at the end of the season and is a great time for cross training or to try out some new training methods that might support your other training.
Examples from what YouCanCoaching athletes are up to right now include:
- trying out a new cycling club and training group
- learning back stroke, breast stroke or fly
- starting a yoga or pilates class
- mountain biking, cyclo cross
- inline skating
- strength training in the gym
- kettle bell class
- riding at the Velodrome
- cycle touring across France
- Aerial Yoga
- Stand Up Paddle Boarding
It’s also a good time to review your equipment and spend time researching, shopping and learning how to use new kit. For example
- setting up a new indoor trainer such as Zwift
- getting a power metre fitted and learning how to use it
- shopping for a new bike (end of season deals)
- getting a bike fit
- adding aero bars and learning how to use them
- doing a bike maintenance course
Part of being a triathlete or swimmer is managing the ups and downs of training along with the highs and lows of racing. At YouCanCoaching we believe that training should be fun and enjoyable so developing strategies for managing the highs and lows is part of our coaching approach. Get in touch to let us know how you celebrate your achievements or what you’re getting up to in your off season.