Game ON, Off Season
When is your off season?
December – January, generally.
November – January.
Off season starts after my last race of the year and typically lasts 6–8 weeks. This year my last race was at the end of October leaving plenty of time for R&R during the holidays.
How is AN off season different than a break?
It's a time to be active, but in other modes of activity. And to Reset, physically and mentally.
During a break, I step completely away from training and let my body fully recuperate. During the off season, I'm still training, but with no important competitions on the horizon.
The off season allows one to carry patience intending to work on weaknesses that may have become exposed during the on season. A break is more about becoming completely removed from the sport entirely and focusing on other areas of life. For example, during my on season this year I experienced niggles in my hip so during this off season I intend to work on glute strength and enter next season stronger and more resilient.
How do you use your off season?
Since my off season usually coincides with winter, I do a lot of cross country and back country skiing. It's nice to be able to change it up with all the snow. I also do a lot more yoga, since it feels SO GOOD to be warm inside.
During the off season I use Jasyoga to keep my body moving. Since I have more time, I try to address the issues that need some work. For example, my feet are super rigid and my hips are really tight. I use the Jasyoga to work on those areas in the off season.
The off season is an opportunity to build base fitness, logging lots of meters and throwing around some big weights. This is the fitness I will rely on throughout the summer season when the demands of competition don't allow me to put in as much volume. It's also a chance to experiment and lay down changes and new habits. Should I adjust the rig of my boat? Can I handle three lifting sessions a week? What happens when I make a technical change?
Because I use this season to play around with my training rhythm and also increase my training volume, it becomes extra important to stay in touch with my body. Jasyoga helps me notice how I'm handling the adjustments and get ahead of any trouble spots that pop up. During super hard weeks, it's also crucial to help me recover enough between sessions.
In addition to addressing weaknesses, the off season is focused on building a solid base for the season ahead. These are longer hours on the trainer, slow runs outside, and endless laps in the pool.
Jasyoga helps me stay centered and focused when I’m not going through the regular paces of life without the stress relief of a hard workout.
Why is it important to your overall year?
It's so important to take a defined off season because it's easy to train/race all year. And that leads to physical and mental burnout, injury, and illness. It can be tough to take a set back and embrace a slower pace of life, but it's worth it.
It gives me a mental break and allows me to WANT to train hard and race again. I look forward to it, rather than feel tired of it.
Even the pros don't have everything figured out. The off season is the time to take risks and discover new things that really work. It's also the time to think about what elements you were missing the previous competition season (like leg strength or good mobility) and actually make those changes.
A good off season feels like getting new tools for your toolbox — afterwards, you just want to go build something. Race-specific preparation is the world's funnest project when you're armed with shiny new wrenches and hammers.
The body needs a break after being pushed to the limits for 6–8 months. Also, much like high performing CEOs need occasional vacations, athletes need time away from competition for mental clarity.
Any absence from racing or performing at my best, fires me up as an individual. I’m competitive by nature, so I use this time to make plans and set goals for the season ahead.
What are your favorite off season resets?
Oh I like the hip Resets quite a bit! I also like some of the core videos because I like to move a bit more when I'm not running as much.
Evening Reset + Hip Flexor Reset.
Why should all athletes Schedule an off season?
I think all athletes need to do this for the same reasons I do — to keep them fresh and avoid injury and illness. It's important for anyone, elite or casual, to allow their body to recover and reset.
Deep into a training cycle, do you ever call an audible to avoid a risky situation? Like skipping a group fitness class to save yourself for a long session? Or avoiding the weight room so you're not too sore to execute your training plan? Step away from competition for a few months every year and do all of those things you were avoiding. You might find that the weight room or the group fitness class is the key element your training plan was missing all along.
All athletes could benefit from a mental and physical break. Bodies may be able to carry a person through this week or even month without resting, however the act of rest creates a more well rounded athlete, preventing injury and burnout.
How do you use the off season? Lead by example with #athletesforyoga!