Go Triathlete

Give it a Rest - Take a Break from Training

Nowadays, it seems that there is no definitive off-season in triathlon. Look at any race calender and you'll likely find an event, if not several, each weekend somewhere not too far from you. Just because the opportunity presents itself though, doesn't mean you too should continue racing year round. Taking a break from training and racing will not only serve as a mental and physical break, but may be a key component to getting faster.

Given the length of an average triathlete's season, at some point the training may feel monotonous. Unfortunately, not all workouts can be exciting, all-out efforts. As a professional triathlete, some of my hardest training sessions don't involve any speed work. They're the maintenance sessions. The 10-mile runs, 50-mile rides, etc. It's fun to go fast and test yourself, but on the easier days, it's about restraint and just getting the work done. This is where a mental break comes into play. Stepping away from the pool, bike, and/or running shoes for a few weeks can really benefit the mind. After some time away from training, I have a new found invigoration for the new season and most importantly, for the necessary work to reach my goals. At the end of the day, for amateurs and professionals alike, training and racing is fun and should be something worth looking forward too.

A break from training is also a great time to try out new activities that don't fit into a normal triathlon training program. For instance, going to the gym and building strength is better suited for the off-season and early-season training. Building muscle with weights is different to building muscle on a bike. Don't feel like the gym? Grab your skies or do whatever activity you feel drawn to. After all, it is your break. However, if you succumbed to an injury that lingered throughout the season, then you have all the more reason to step away from triathlon and let your body heal completely.

The best part of a good rest period is the unexpected fitness gains. Sometimes, it doesn't matter how much training you do, it's not until you let your body rest that you finally realize those gains. I've known several triathletes, including myself, who've come off a long break, ran a fun run, and just so happened to run a personal best. Coincidence? Absolutely not. Yes, you'll gain fitness in-season, but you are never truly rested while maintaining a routine training schedule. So, if you're looking to pick up your training from about where you left off and get faster, give yourself a well deserved break.