We are so pleased to have Alan Kipping-Ruane of TriGuy Multisport Coaching in the Coaches’ Corner. Alan is a former Navy helicopter search & rescue swimmer and Elite-Amateur Triathlete. He started TriGuy Coaching in 2009 and is located outside of Philadelphia. His company offers a wide range of services for the triathlete including personal coaching, training plans, and Ironman training camps. We gave Alan our questions on “off season” and here are his answers:
1. How do you define “off season”?
This to me means we are transitioning from a year long season of races into something less taxing and less “traditional”. An Off-Season means that you just stop what you are doing, which is far from the truth.
2. Has thinking changed over the years as to what “off season” means for a triathlete?
Yes and No. Many athletes are set in their ways, which is why I make it a point to help the athletes I work with understand that we aren’t just stopping what we are doing.
3. Does the athlete typically go through “off season blues”? Is there such a phenomenom?
Sometimes. My athletes don’t see this, because I begin to plant a seed about what to look for in the future for their off-season instead of just stopping to talk to them. You see this more if they don’t have a support system, but if they have a family of friends that they can surround themselves with, you don’t see this “off-season blues”.
4. If yes, how can the trifamily/significant other be most supportive?
5. How long does “off season” generally last?
A minimum of two to three weeks, but how long it lasts depends on their first A race of the season. If they don’t have an A-race until October then the off-season may me slightly longer. But we still have some structured training thrown in, which is why I prefer to call the off-season a transition period.
6. How much time before their first race does regular training kick in again?
Depends on their race, but around 16-24 weeks is a general estimate.
7. Is an “off season” necessary for all triathletes?
8. What are 3 or 4 activities triathletes can add to their training mix during “off season” to incorporate their spouse, partner and/or children?
Running Races, Cyclocross, Hiking, Yoga, Swim Training (especially if the children are part of a swim team). But my favorite activity I have my athletes do is to sit down and think about their season, their goals, and why they love the sport. The other big activity I make a point to include on my athletes calendar is to really connect back with their spouse, partner, or loved one. The family takes a big hit when training begins, so to thank them can do wonders for a relationship (I sometimes send thank you cards to them because of how supportive they are). This could mean helping plan a meal to cooking for someone or finding a nice place for them to vacation at. This list goes on, but is still an important activity.
9. Any final thoughts you would like to share?
An athlete needs to remember that the off-season is not just about letting the body recover. The off-season is about letting your mind take a break from so much beat down over the racing season and needs to be remembered when thinking about what to do going into the winter months.