At this point in your racing season you have probably completed nearly half of your season’s races. Hopefully, you are right on track to reach your goals and crush your “A” race in a month or two. The physical and mental strain of consistent training can take its toll and maybe your performances have even dipped a little. It might be time to take a step back, refresh the body and mind and prepare for the final push.
Refresh your mind and body
A rest week does not mean that you don’t do anything. It means you don’t do anything structured. This is a great time for social workouts, but don’t get pressured into competing with a group or going too long. In general, try not to go over the 60 min. mark for your rest week. For some, it might mean avoiding groups so that you don’t go too hard. Triathletes and endurance athletes in general often end up on an island doing many of their workouts on their own. Your planned rest week is a great time to throw out structure, zone goals, and just enjoy the activities you do. Spend extra time with your family and friends just cruising and taking in the scenery. It’s amazing how well you will feel both physically and mentally after a week with no structure and a little more social contact.
Evaluate the first half of your season
Breaking your season into two sections like this makes it easier to push through and concentrate on reaching your season goals. The rest week also allows you to reevaluate the first half of the season and revise your plan for the second half based on your performances thus far. Look at your performances in each leg compared to your competition. Are there one or more areas that you seem to be consistently losing ground? If there are, can this be explained by injury or consistent missed workouts? I always go back and see if athletes are hitting their power, heart rate, or pace goals during their big interval sessions. It is common to see interval sessions missed or cut short when performance dips.
Nail the second half of your season
You’ve evaluated the first half of your season, now it’s time to implement a plan. The goal during this last stretch is to link together focused, uninterrupted training blocks that prepare you for the unique demands of your most important race.
The years Josiah has delivered his best performances in Maui, he had mostly uninterrupted training and stayed injury free for that final 12-week stretch. Include a few benchmark workouts or races along the way to make sure you are on track, but remember these should not be epic events that tear you down too much and cause too big of an interruption in your training.
For many of you, this big race might be the XTERRA Pan Am Championships or the XTERRA World Championships. There is absolutely no excuse to get within a few weeks of these races and realize you haven’t gotten in any climbing. Try to have at least one weekly workout that helps prepare you for some aspect of that “A” race. Is your big race generally wetsuit legal? Is it longer than other races you do? How much climbing is involved on the bike and run? What is the weather generally like? Is it at altitude?
With a proper training outline, thoughtful planning, and enough rest to stay happy and injury free, you can generate peak performances at the right time and place to meet your goals.
Josiah Middaugh is the reigning XTERRA Pan America Champion and the 2015 XTERRA World Champion. He has a master’s degree in kinesiology and has been a certified personal trainer for 15 years (NSCA-CSCS). His brother Yaro also has a master’s degree and has been an active USAT certified coach for more than a decade. Read past training articles at http://www.xterraplanet.com/training/middaugh-coaching-corner and learn more about their coaching programs at http://middaughcoaching.com.
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