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The Off Season

What if I lose all my fitness?!

by My Finish Line

When an athlete is in off-season, they cannot wait for the season to start. At the culmination of a season, they cannot wait for the off-season. The absolute contradiction of being a sportsperson! The question is, however, after spending all that time getting into shape, entering a few races, maybe even competing, the thought of “losing” all of your improvements and developments over a period of rest is one that sits very uneasily.

The Principle

The good news, of course, is that the human body or mind cannot differentiate between “seasons”. Just because you stop training for a few weeks, the neural pathways and the physical adaptations don’t regress back to square one just because it is the start of new season. You don’t just close one book and start another. Many physiologists and top-level coaches advocate, in simplistic terms, that the depth and length of training roughly equate to the peak and duration of the benefits. If you therefore spend 10 weeks to prepare for an event, the adaptations you achieve will regress with rest, but usually linearly in line with how you achieved it in the first place. This is how many athletes progress not only during training, but between training, because they start from a higher rung of the ladder each season. You can therefore take a rest during your off-season without worrying too much.

How Do I Apply It?

That won’t make that “first session back” pain that we all dread feel any better! – but rest assured, those of you with years upon years of training history will probably notice one truism: your perceived fitness vanishes very quickly but returns equally as rapidly upon re-starting a structured training programme. This is the essence of how and why My Finish Line began as a concept – to give all of us an opportunity to meet as a community and share our fitness journeys while at the same time having a time stamp of how we did and how we were during a period of training. For those of us that ‘don’t need to ask in order to know’; having a training plan to look back upon is as good if not better than looking at a photograph. As a general rule, enjoy your time off, don’t go too crazy the other way when not training, but give your body time to rest and adapt before beginning a new training plan. And you know where to find your next one…!