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If the Endeavor Team Challenge is the pinnacle of your fitness events for the year, right now is your off-season. As such, your training should reflect this period. The off-season is a time for recovery and resetting before reengaging with a regimented training program. During this time, training intensity should be reduced, technique emphasized, and recovery maximized.
Here are four ways to make this offseason as productive as possible:
Fun is a relative term. Some people enjoy running 10 miles while others find swimming laps to be their choice activity. What activity you choose is less important than choosing one that you find to be fun. The key during this period is to train hard enough to maintain your fitness while giving your body a break from the grueling regimen you put it through the rest of the year. A fun activity will work to break up the monotony of your normal training program and give you something to look forward to, which will help keep you motivated and help prevent you from becoming burnt out.
When you’re working towards a goal, the drive to achieve it can result in sacrifices to form. During the off-season, form should be paramount. Use this time to reduce the intensity of the activity and focus on each movement so that when the intensity is increased, your body will have the muscle memory to maintain the same perfect technique. Focusing on quality will vary depending on what activity you’re doing. When lifting, decrease the weight and over-emphasize the movement. When running, pay attention to how you’re landing on your feet and your arm movement. If you’re climbing, be deliberate with each foot and hand placement and pay attention to your breathing. If you have a friend or coach that can help, ask them to watch you and critique your movements so you can learn how to improve the movement.
Too often recovery takes a back seat to training, despite it being as important in order to perform at peak levels. Insufficient recovery could be not getting enough sleep, improper fueling, or not giving your body enough time in-between workouts. During the offseason, recovery should be emphasized, but recovery doesn’t mean you’re relegated to the couch. Active recovery such as yoga or other low impact activity performed at low intensity can be very beneficial while having the additional benefit of not making you feel like a slob. This period is also a perfect time to workout those weird aches and pains that you can’t afford to let hamper you when you’re full tilt with your in-season training. Getting these aches and pains figured out might mean a trip to the doctor, completely taking days off, or body part specific rehab, which might be annoying in the short term, but will be incredibly beneficial later on.
Even though you’re not training intensely for a goal during this time, it’s still important to maintain perspective. The offseason is a great time to set goals for the next year. A good starting point is reflecting on how you performed during 2017 Endeavor Team Challenge or other fitness events. Identify the training that you did leading up to the event and how that helped you during the event. Figure out the training that helped you excel and continue to integrate that. More important, however, is to identify what you struggled with. Was it skill, rucking with weight, walking uphill, strength, cardio endurance or something else entirely? There is more benefit to your performance to tackle those weakness and work them until they become strengths than there is to continue what you are already good at. Use that reflection to plan your training over the next year so that you can peak for the 2018 Endeavor Team Challenge. It’s never too early to start planning your training – no competitor has ever been over-prepared for the Endeavor Team Challenge.
Peaking in September starts with your training now. A productive off-season will set you up for success competing in the Endeavor Team Challenge.