Let’s look into the demands of the post season phases for age group multisport athletes. If you want more successes in 2022 then we need to prioritise activities, training, balance and health in these post season phases. I always describe the post season as a time to work on weaknesses and for mental and physical recovery. Continuing to do more of the same from your competition phases wont optimally help you for the big 2022 season.
No matter your goals for 2022, post season begins immediately after competition season and starts with a BREAK, physical, familial, mental recovery are most important for that all important BALANCE. How long of a break is personal in my view and could be a week or a month of LIMITED healthy exercise with no structure, healthy and relaxed eating and adjusting the balance to one of a more relaxed approach to gain that all important recovery and feeling of wellbeing plus the desire to restart structured training.
Without balance we get burnout and dread of the coming season and without a break, we get into that competition season rut and triathletes can often end up doing the same training year round. My opinion is not to sign up for that fall marathon but to unwind, refocus and determine 2022 goals during this first post season phase where the FOCUS is on WEAKNESSES, and maybe do that spring marathon instead. As I said this can be a week or a few weeks. To some extent the length of the break has to do with personal circumstances, family and social life. But the aim is to recover, determine weaknesses and decide on 2022 goals.
Post season phase two then starts as we begin to get back into training, having determined our goals, had enough of a break, feel ready to train again and understand that this phase is all about working on what went wrong in 2021, 2020, 2019…. so that you come out faster for 2022.
WEAKNESSES – what do I mean by this? Maybe skills, speed, stamina, strength, mobility, health, nutrition, hydration, transitions. Of course for us multisport athletes, we have differing needs for the many aspects of each event; swim efficiency, bike power, run economy are examples and these need to be broken down into the components to be worked on to elicit change, such as specific strength, body position, equipment changes, transitions. Once we determine these together we can plan what to do to address these weaker aspects of your racing from previous seasons. The what needs to be done is then translated into a plan of action and a specific personal program developed. In my view based on pre-competition and competition phases between May and October we have from November to January/February to work on weaknesses and March/April pre-season to work on strengths, then we work on RACE SPECIFIC aspects for our 2022 season. So specifics for sprints, olympics long course and IRONMAN events, plus specifics for each course for A races.
Examples of post season training can be BASIC strength, CORE strength, swim lessons to improve your body position and speed in the water, big gear bike sessions for improved power, or higher cadence sessions, interval or fartlek runs, hill runs or longer runs all depending on the weaknesses identified earlier. Of course some of our weaknesses might be mental limitations for example GRIT – DETERMINATION – SKILLS. These can be worked on using hard training sessions in the pool, indoors on the bike, and winter races like cross country, 5k-10k road racing and of course if you live with snow, then cross country skiing or ERG rowing can be fantastic to build grit. Learning to suffer and push through in racing is an essential skill if you want to win, but can also be vital for those aiming to complete their IRONMAN or their first open water triathlon.
More later as we can delve into specifics, but as those are vey personal to each athlete, it is for each of us to determine our weaknesses and with determination, work on them.