Too often, athletes run out of physical or mental energy before their long season is over, but you can avoid that fate with some smart planning for your 2018 season. Here’s how.
1. Include intentional breaks. Within your season, include one or two breaks of a week or more that include light or unstructured training. This will give both your body and mind a rest without compromising fitness.
2. Avoid peaking early. Don’t get into peak race fitness at the beginning of the season—it can’t be maintained without breaks and sets you up for massive fatigue.
3. Prioritize events. Identify the races you’ll peak for (the “A” races) and then “all the others.” This will allow you to build up to those “A” races and recover appropriately.
4. Include fun events. These can involve sports outside of swim, bike, and run and include friends and family in a not-so-competitive atmosphere.
5. Don’t over-race. Allow time to focus on the training.
6. Enjoy the process. Trust in your training and enjoy it. If you do that, racing becomes the icing on the cake, and you’ll finish the season wanting more.
7. Expect the unexpected. Roll with the punches, and accept things outside of your control. Regardless of how your season has gone so far, the final races are new opportunities for success.
8. Monitor your recovery. Know how your body is doing on a daily basis. We use myathlete.com to monitor things like resting heart rate, HRV (heart rate variability), stress, sleep, and nutrition, along with daily self-awareness, to know when to take a break.
9. Build a maintenance team. A good chiropractor, massage therapist, and sports psychologist can be key to staying strong for the long haul. Also a good coach!
Mark Sortino is the co-founder of Team MPI, a USA Triathlon Level III coach, head coach of USA Paratriathlon, a USA Cycling Level II Coach, three-time Ironman World Championship finisher, and a U.S. Navy veteran.