It’s that time of year again, as athletes end their 2011 season and begin to plan their training and racing for 2012. Inside the team we are now fielding many season planning questions and the Big One is:
“Given my race schedule for 2012, when should I start my OutSeason® Training Plan?”
Answer: You should start the OS when your head is ready to commit to anywhere from 14 to 20 weeks of focused, hard work.
This is a function of the nature of the season you just ended, the length of your 2012 season, and your own personal constraints during the winter months.
What is the OutSeason?
This is the critical time of year when we build your power and pace at threshold. Because you have minimal volume goals with no big races on the schedule, we can fill your extra time with recovery. This means we can really push the intensity of the workouts and help you establish new levels of fitness on the bike and the run. The net being that when you return to the open road next year, your training partners won’t know what happened to the “old” you that no longer rides or runs with them. To learn more about our OutSeason® training methodology, please take a look at the OutSeason® Training Plan page in the Endurance Nation Store.
Your 2011 Season
If it’s been a long one, you definitely want to take some unstructured downtime to recover your body and reset your head. This includes Ironman® Canada, Louisville or Wisconsin, and especially the late season races of Ironman® Kona, Florida, Arizona, or Cozumel.
Why rest, you ask? Because our OutSeason® training plans are tough. We’re going to ask you to a lot of hard work. You definitely want to be a mental place where you are ready and eager to do that work, not feeling like you have to do the work now because you have race on Date X in 2012.
Unstructured is just that — do what you want to do, staying active, maintaining your running frequency, etc, but consider not training with a scheduled training plan. Again, your priority is to reset your head before diving into the hard work. Feel free to post to the Endurance Nation Facebook Page if you want more feedback from us.
The Length of Your 2012 Season
If you’re racing a late 2012 race, you want to err on the side of starting your OS training later rather than sooner. More importantly, definitely want to break your 2012 season into smaller, more manageable chunks. The idea is to move from short term goal/race to short term goal/race, vs putting your feet on the floor at 5:30am in December thinking you are training for Florida 2012. If you try the latter approach you will be insane by May, we promise.
Your Personal Constraints
When does the weather sentence you to the drainer or dreadmill? How far into 2012 will you be on those damn things? What are your work and/or family commitments during holidays and winter months?
Training time during the Winter can be very costly — indoors, in the cold/dark, shoehorned in around holiday commitments, occurring months and months before your 2012 races, etc. Be realistic about these personal costs and pick a start date for your OutSeason® that reflects this assessment.
“But what about my goal race of the Podunktown 70.3® on April 15th? How does that affect my OS start date?”
Please go here to read our thoughts on transitioning from the OS to your A-race training plan. If you’re a TeamEN member, please take the Season Planning Survey to have Coach Rich plan your season for you. In short, we’ve managed the back end of the OS — how to integrate that with the rest of your season, how to transition you to your A-race plan — a thousand times. We have/are an app for that! But what is much more important is you choosing the best OS starting date for you, based on the three bullets above. Don’t worry about what means on the back end. That’s easy to manage.
OutSeason® Start Date Considerations and Recommendations
Within TeamEN we traditionally start the OS on set dates to get massive numbers of athletes starting the same plans at the same time. This helps to maximize the accountability and mojo of the Team:
- ~October 1st — good for athletes who finished their goal races for the 2011 season in July or August (or earlier), “maybe” folks who raced Ironman® Wisconsin who have seriously unplugged for the balance of September and are genuinely ready to get back at it.
- ~November 1st — better start date for the Wisconsin and September 70.3® folks.
- ~December 1st — we do NOT recommend you start your OS plan in December. In our 5yrs of experience with guiding athletes through the OS, December is just very, very messy and more often than not December OS athletes end up doing a hard reset and starting their OS over in January.
- ~January 1st — for athletes who finished their season in November and/or have very late 2012 races.
- ~Feb 1st — similar to the January OS folks.
In summary, our OutSeason® training plans are the best tools we have for making you a much, much faster triathlete. We will ask you to work very hard; not long, but hard. Averaging just six to eight hours a wek, these intense sessions have created huge bike and running speed boosts for hundreds of athletes across the last five years. Once you are ready to wrap your head around about 20wks of hard, challenging work — work that will create massive PR’s for you in 2012 — come check us out!
Endurance Nation Triathlon Coaching
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