End Of Season Boost To Fitness

End of season boost.

The following will boost your end of season results with a focus on intensity, gaining power and mental approach. It is also an important time to recognise and watch out for those over training and racing signs. This is often overlooked by triathletes but can be a great way to improve overall training and fitness.

1. Intensity training
2. Threshold Session
3. Mental Approach
4. Over Training & Symptoms

Intensity Training

Intensity training is the best way to soar your fitness levels, especially if you have had a busy season racing or if you have interrupted your training with a holiday break.

Tests have shown that very little fitness is lost with tapering for up to 21 days. So have a break and then ease back for up to 7 days followed by some speed injection sessions. From being rested you should see a renewed ability to race harder than normal.

A larger amount of your strength is used for cycling than running. So by increasing your leg power you should improve your ability to sustain resistance over the top of climbs and recover quicker. There is plenty of time for weight training in the winter months so climb hills to put back some strength. Seated climbing is a great time efficient way of boosting strength that can be converted into flat power.

Session - a threshold pace effort.

Be well hydrated and have a good carbohydrate snack 60-90 minutes before your planned time trial. You need to be rested in the days leading up to these types of workouts.

Swim 8-12 minutes
Bike 20-30 minutes - on the flat, out and back Run 10-20 minutes

Do 2 of the above efforts on the same day. Have at least the same amount of warm- up, as the session is likely to take. E.g. If the run is going to take 12 minutes, a thorough 12 minutes of building up the pace with strides and faster running.

Concentrate on your breathing. Aim to build the intensity and divide the estimated time into three - the first portion medium/hard, the second portion hard and the third portion very hard.

These high intensity efforts are a perfect way to spike your fitness levels. Always have a good long warm down.

Mental Approach

You can fine-tune racing with your mental approach. Fitness levels are unlikely to improve much towards the latter part of the season unless you started the season late or lost time due to injury other commitments or illness.

Improve your ability to stay focus for the whole duration of your race. Avoid the pitfalls of relaxing during the transitions - this is when a lot of time can be lost by not sticking to your game plan, fussing about how to change or indecision about what to wear or not.

Work on staying calm, as this uses up considerably less energy. If you give it everything you can for the whole duration, do not expect to be able to have a sprint finish. A sprint finish may mean that you have lost concentration during the event or have held back too much meaning you have not paced yourself evenly. Better to have a good and fast change of pace in the closing stages.

Smile - this sends positive body signals and creates a positive and relaxed mindset. Think of the big picture, do not get frustrated trying to put in that last performance.

Not More Miles

If you feel tired and are unable to work at a good rate after a warm up, take the day off. Remember you are training to race, not training just to get in the miles!

Miles at this time of year make you stale and slow as a snail. Even if you are competing in a late season long course or Ironman, good solid tempo sessions are your target for most of your workouts.

Over Training

Over training starts as a form of staleness and feeling tired when you try hard. 14 days of very easy training helps but ignoring the early signs of over training can take many months to get out of the doldrums.

Even though you have stacked up lots of hours and miles, you start to lack endurance; this is because your body needs to adapt and requires adequate time to recover. Taking time out is not a weakness, it means you have done the work so now is the time to start reaping the rewards.

Speed over short distances can be affected, but be aware this may not always be easily recognised when you are under rested.

Another good indicator is your general health and immune system. Gentle, regular exercise improves the immune system but consistent training breaks down all parts of your body physically and mentally and is detrimental as over a long period of time infections occur one after the other.

Recognise the Symptoms

1. Sleep problems - on waking you feel like you have only had a few hours sleep; wanting to fall asleep at any opportunity or early in the evening; unable to fall a sleep or having a disturbed sleep.
2. Mood swings- feeling fed up at the slightest thing; feeling great shortly after eating some food; wanting a quick fix of simple energy foods. Any reduction in interest like the loss of will to do anything even sport.
3. Menstrual cycle changes
4. Muscle soreness -watch those that continue longer than normal.
5. Weight loss - even if you are eating normally
6. Heart Rate - the inability to get to your maximum training heart rate (NOT Max heart Rate). When you climb a hill, take notice whether your own perceived effort for a workout is much harder than normal.