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Definitely second Coach AJ’s thoughts on taking 1-2 weeks off (can’t take off the beer/cookie weight if you don’t put it on). But I start getting restless after that, so these are the things I usually prioritize for a couple months (AJ may disagree!):
- Doing what I feel like: If I wake up and feel like going for a run, I go for a run. If I wake up and feel like going for a swim, I go for a swim. If I feel like sitting in bed and eating cookie dough, I sit in bed and eat cookie dough (in moderation). A few weeks of that definitely helps to reset the system– but I do try and do at least one active thing a day (mixed success).
- Low volume, low intensity: I usually limit whatever activity I’m doing to 1 hour (sometimes more like 45 min). No major intensity just a 2-3/10 on the RPE scale. If I feel like doing some sprints at the end, why not. But no “hammering” or “sending it”, just something short and fun (or no speed at all is fine too).
- In this sense, it’s a bit like early base training. I don’t necessarily structure anything, but all training has a very “low-key” feel.
- Occasionally I do some 1.5-2h group rides, but I’m generally not going that hard and its pretty social.
- Strength work: Personally I love a heavy barbell, so I use this time to work on squats and deadlifts (3×3 or 3×5, something fairly anaerobic). But if you’re not of that mindset, perfectly fine to do some body-weight strength work at home while watching netflix. The key here is injury prevention, so do whatever makes you feel good and also gets that taken care of for the upcoming season
- Cross training: Sometimes I’ll replace a day of running with a couple hours of pick-up soccer. Its a similar-ish stimulus, but a lot more social and a very different kind of fun. I’d definitely recommend mixing it up a bit (if you’re inclined) to break up the fairly mono-structural endurance focus of triathlon.
Moving up to the half distance will definitely be a fun step for next year, but for now I’d just focus on the above. If you do the best you can to just maintain a base level of aerobic fitness, you should be in good shape going to next year!