The off-season is indeed a time to dial back training so that you can recharge, regenerate and repair from a season of racing. Your main sport can be traded out for doing other forms of exercise. Discipline takes a back seat to the top priority, which is enjoyment in training. But all that doesn’t mean doing something crazy is completely off limits!
Now is actually the time when it’s best to do the one off crazy things that you would never consider doing when there’s are still pages left in the logbook to fill during your season.
Maybe that crazy challenge is indeed another race. But make it one that you barely train for and that is not very serious. Have it be somewhere you are going mostly because the location is stunning. It’s really travel using a race as the excuse to get there. Go in less shape than you did your final real race of the season. Only go if the result is unimportant and if just being wherever it is rates the top priority.
There are hikes and climbs and treks and all sorts of adventures that can be demanding, but again are fun and have no result you are after other than just a great experience. Now is the time to put one of those on the calendar. It won’t have anything to do with training or getting fit, but again it’s all about having fun outside and using your stash of fitness to be able to go experience the physical world in a way you never would do during the season.
Make a commitment to an intensive that is the complete opposite of being physical. Allow your whole system to slow down and to not train by being quiet and tuning into the whole of life. It’s the crazy one off that is about not moving, about contacting the deeper thoughts you have and experience in life that often get ignored when your focus is on physically reaching a peak. This is the type of peak experience that can only be done when we slow down, tune in and still our being so that we connect to all the things that cannot be measured in life.
I did a combination of a race in a great place and an adventure a few times. It was by going to Pucon, Chile for the 70.3 down there in January. I would do about two weeks of real training after a few months of nothing I’d call triathlon specific. So my conditioning was never race ready. But I would race as hard as I could.
That was the crazy one off race that shocked my system back into the rhythm getting fit. Then the day after the race I would do a trek up the Villarica Volcano. It’s snowcapped and it’s active. That took about eight hours with the first six being like doing a Stairmaster. Basically it was straight up. That was the adventure one off crazy thing.
Then at some point in the middle of my off season I would do a retreat or two with Brant Secunda, who I have studies shamanism with for close to 30-years. Those ended up being bout two weeks worth of time completely away from training reconnecting myself with nature and the bigger picture of life.
Then right about February 1st, that was my real start date of getting back to serious training. I was always ready, charged up and in just the right amount of shape to ramp up fairly quickly. It was my winning formula!
I am the Founder and CEO at Mark Allen Coaching. I am proud to have been voted in an ESPN global poll "The Greatest Endurance Athlete Of All Time." During my multi-sport career I won the Ironman Triathlon World Championship six time, the inaugural Triathlon World Championship at the Olympic Distance in Avignon, France, and at one point in my career I won 21 straight races across every derivation and distance. It was a great career, but that's all it would ever be unless I was able to share all of the experience and methodology we invented long before smart watches, power meters, and flashy uniforms. That's why I started Mark Allen Coaching, as a way to return to others at least the part of the gifts I received.