Hopefully everyone has taken my encouragement for a relaxing off season to heart, and are now slowly taking steps forward in organizing and planning an off season of training geared towards their 2023 goals. Although there can be so many scenarios of how to do this, I will describe three here.
WHICH ATHLETE ARE YOU?
The first athlete is the athlete who in 2022 completed first of something. First event, or simply their first season of (fill in the blank) with friends, local club etc. Now, they are looking for some structure. In planning their off season, I would look at what they completed in 2022, and how that would relate to the demands of their 2023 event. Even though they took a huge step in 2022 physically speaking, it will be very beneficial to still cover all the important skills, and techniques related to how their body needs to move economically and/or the most efficient use of any other equipment like a bike for cyclists. Once they move well, and have the strength to handle the demands of the required volume of training needed, then training can start to increase the demands in the workouts more specifically related to their event.
Some athletes simply want to do it all, and although this probably applies to most AAA personality endurance athletes, this group gets excited by the variety and challenge of many different types of events in a season. Their 2023 events could range from a 5km run to the Spartan Endurance race. In planning their off season, we would look at the events completed in 2022 and what demands or strengths they may have provided to the athlete. From there, we could determine if any events in 2023 might find an area not tapped into from the experiences in 2022. In this example, if an athlete ran some ultras and maybe completed some triathlons in 2022, we would need to definitely look at some upper body strength development in order to handle the events in a Spartan race. We would load the start of the off season with a solid strength program in the gym, ensuring they can handle the challenges of carrying loads, throwing spears and climbing ropes. Heading into the new year and the second half of the off season, we would bring the endurance training back up to required levels and intensities to handle the duration of the spartan event as well as the variety of events that this type of athlete likes to sprinkle in over the course of the season. In the gym, ideally the strength training should start to look a little more like the actual events in the spartan race.
The third athlete has more of a laser focus and with this possibly a multi year plan or at least mind set. The athlete will be targeting similar races and or distances from 2022 in order to specifically improve their times, win age groups or overall titles, and take the next step in qualifying for various World Championship events. Similar to the first athlete, we need to find the limiters; if they are a runner, its a little more straight forward, usually being able to look at various race distances and determine what physiological system maybe holding them back from their 2023 target. In cycling, we would have to evaluate which type of race or races they are targeting and reexamine 2022 and where they potentially fell short in these races. Was it their threshold power in the TT? Or their repeatable max power in the sprints? For a triathlete, you'd usually start by discipline. Especially with adult triathletes, there is usually one discipline in particular that falls much lower in the rankings per event than the other two. With this information we could spend a little more time on the weak discipline in the first part of the off season and a little less on the others. Note we never disregard or completely forget about training a discipline but we can afford to spend less time on a particularly strong one to improve another one. One of the many great things of triathlon is that training one discipline will always share some benefits to the other two disciplines. I've often heard from elite and professional triathletes that they always feel some strong carry over to their run from their swim during their big swim blocks.
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THE UPS AND DOWNS OF COACH KEVIN
As I look forward to 2023 after a very exciting and well to be honest, and little over the top for events and adventures I think I am setting my sights on a spring marathon. Although some leg problems cut into my expectations in Vancouver 2022 it did provide me with the opportunity to consider Boston. Even with the opportunity, it really didn't become of interest until the fall. Ive been very fortunate to get to travel to some amazing places to host training camps and complete races and so I started to think it would be shame if I continued to pass up the opportunity to compete in one of the most historic races in the world and then for whatever reason wasn't able to qualify anymore. I look forward to some deep dives into the latest research and gathering info from the top coaches as I experiment, implement, fail, retry, find some success, and in the process let that provide new insights into the training I can provide for the Aerobic Power athletes. The running is my early performance target but recent years have provided some amazing annual bike camps, and personal cycling adventures that I'll be sure to make sure Im learning and improving in that area as well.
Looking forward to 2023!!