Sep 14, 2011
Maximize the Transition Phase
As the triathlon season comes to a close, it’s very tempting to put your bike away for several weeks or months. The sun is going down earlier n, and the next triathlon is four to six months away, so there is a loss less urgency. WRONG. Several weeks of inactivity can require 8-to 12 weeks to regain your fitness. And if you haven’t noticed, if you are a master’s athlete, it’s easier to stay in shape than to get into shape. The transition phase is the link between this and next season. A properly planned phase will allow you to begin next year rested, and at a higher level of fitness.
So what is a weary triathlete to do? Well if you don’t take your foot off the accelerator after the season ends, you will become a “Christmas Star”. We all know someone who is a Christmas Star, someone who is hammering everyone on December, only to burnout by March.
The goal is to stay active during the 4-6 week transition period between the end of the last race, and the commencement of next year’s base training. It is important to allow your body and mind recover from the rigors of tri training, keeping your workouts unstructured will help you remain flexible in your planning.
Workouts should include plenty of cross training and alternate activities. Hiking, mountain biking, cyclocross racing, nordic skiing, inline skating are just a few. Soccer basketball and hockey can be added for a change of pace, and fun group workouts.
The transition phase is also the time to reintroduce strength training, in order to prepare you for the more intense strength work to come during the foundation phase of training. Since you will be regularly visiting the gym, you can include indoor cross training alternatives, such as spinning or yoga classes, elliptical trainer and stair climbers.
Below are some ideas to guide you through the transition phase.
• Swim/ bike/ run training should comprise about 50% of training time
• Ride off road to improve handling
• Take up a new activity (ex. X-C ski, roller ski, hiking)
• Do run drills once a week
• Take one full week off in each sport (swim, bike, run, just not at the same time)
• Keep workouts short but frequent
• Include flexibility training
• Strength train 2 to 3 times per week
So as you begin to enjoy a well deserved rest following your last race, don’t let it become prolonged. Set up a well thought out plan so that you enter the foundation phase ready to go.