September marks the end of the summer competition calendar. The end of a race season can be an unusual time for athletes. For some it’s a case of surviving until they can take a much needed break. For others it can be a climax after which there is a massive crash into quietness. For some sports the focus can switch to an indoor season or alternative types of competition. Others can be left at a bit of a loss.
Few athletes think about what happens after their season until it happens. Rest is beneficial and what we’d recommend to most athletes. There are a few boxes to tick first. In order to have a successful offseason you must do a bit of pre planning. This planning should start before the season ends in order to get the most benefit. Here are some things to think about before the season ends.
- How have you done?
Your season’s results will give you a good idea of strengths and weaknesses. You may even identify which disciplines and distances come more naturally to you. This can highlight where your training and preparations have worked and where they have been lacking. This can help steer what you do in your offseason. Maybe you want to work on weak areas or perhaps you want to hone in on your strengths and focus on those events.
- How much rest will you need?
Some seasons taper off naturally and others are full tilt until they finish. This can dictate how much rest you take once the season stops. A tapered end of season may only require a week or two of reduced and unstructured training. By comparison a long season finishing with a series or knockout type competition may require a much longer period to give the mind and body adequate time to reset.
- What analysis can still be done?
Many athletes switch focus to the next thing and forget to look at the end of the last thing. Some of our last races can give us the best information about how our training has worked and how our season strategy worked out. Many can compete over months and fail in playoffs etc. This highlights issues and potential variations in preparation. Perhaps you had good results but finished poorly on series rankings etc. While performance is important, strategy can be important with competition selection. This can be more obvious at the end of a season.
- Plan for your rest.
Many athletes struggle to take longer rest periods. You may spend months building a routine only to turn it upside down suddenly. This can lead to some taking too much rest and getting too far out of shape while others may not take enough needed rest and face burnout. A plan for rest can be a good way to avoid this. Taking holidays or switching focus to work or study can help transition from season to offseason while staying relaxed.
- Plan a debrief
Many athletes are so delighted to get a break that they leave their season debrief to when they come back to training. This is too late. Review your season as soon as it’s finished. Things are fresh and relevant. Your wins and losses are still fresh. As time moves on, the sense of happiness and disappointment fades and your new training plan may become less appropriate to what you actually need.
The emotion of racing can make planning for training and competition difficult. What you don’t like is often what you need. Experienced coaching can help you save time and stress in assessing and debriefing. Having a good and clear debrief can be massively beneficial to the planning that comes for future seasons.
If you are at a loss as to what’s next don’t be afraid to contact us to enquire about our services. The training is often the easy part, but putting it altogether can be confusing and frustrating. We are here to help you get your best performances.
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