Winter for those of us in the Northern hemisphere is a time of year to reconnect with your non-racing friends, reflect on the past season, and build some enthusiasm for the next season while giving your body a break from the traveling and racing. Your body will have absorbed a lot of training and racing by the end of the triathlon season, so it is important to take a break in order to regenerate not only your muscles, but also your nervous system. You need a mental and a physical break in order to be at your peak training potential.
Since our XTERRA season does not end until the end of October and Ironman pushes on even further, I think it is beneficial to take at least two weeks completely off, meaning NO training and sometimes this needs to be even longer, depending on your level of burnout. I usually go by feel. If I really don’t FEEL like training, I don’t do it. I wait until I really want to go to a workout or for a ride and until then I drink coffee, hang out and do yoga. This period of time varies from year to year and will vary from one person to another. I think that during this break is a good time to start thinking about what your goals are going to be for the next season.
During this training break, create two lists of goals. The first list should be your Outcome Goals, i.e. what are the results you would like to get (what place in a certain race or what time for a 10km). The second list should be your Process Goals, i.e. how you are going to achieve those goals (what skills do you need to develop, injuries to clear up, muscle imbalances to correct, techniques to improve). For example, one of my goals for 2011 is to qualify for 70.3 Worlds. In order to do this, I have three process goals. The first is to lower my race weight, the second is to improve my swim technique and the third is to work on my power on my time trial bike. I invite you guys to share your goals on the forum so that you can all inspire each other next season and help each other achieve that success!