We are thrilled to have pro triathlete, Brandon Marsh, up first in our Coaches’ Corner. Brandon is most recently known for his “1st out of the water” at Kona, but he also just happened to take second place at Ironman Mont Tremblant this summer. He started doing triathlons in 1988 and turned pro in 2003. He has consistently been a top-10 and top-5 performer. We know Brandon very well as he is a coach to one of our triathletes AND a good friend, along with his pro triathlete wife, Amy. Aren’t we lucky!!!!!
We gave Brandon questions related to “off season” to answer and here’s what he told us:
1. How do you define “off season”?
Off season is typically the period after your last race, simply put. It can be from 2 weeks to several months, depending on what is next on the schedule! As frequent as races have become and as much travel as some triathletes do, the official off season has become shorter and shorter. Off season, though, should not be confused with nothing season. Stay active.
2. Has thinking changed over the years as to what “off season” means for a triathlete?
I don’t know that it has changed. The latest term is ‘out season’, and I’m not sure what that means exactly. Whether you use the term Out or Off season though, it is a time to decompress a bit and shift the training focus, not necessarily to less training, but to different training.
3. Does the athlete typically go through “off season blues”? Is there such a phenomenom?
Off season blues depend on the athlete. If they have a big race with a lot of build up, and nothing scheduled after it, then yes, the off season blues are typical; especially if the race doesn’t go so well. But that can also leave an athlete hungry for more. The key is to make sure you rebuild and recharge.
4. If yes, how can the trifamily/significant other be most supportive?
I think that the ‘best’ way to be supportive is to simply remind an athlete that sport really doesn’t ‘define’ the person; it’s just a small piece. Another good reminder is that an off season is like a vacation from your day-job. Lastly, remind them or ask why they do this sport. Typically it is for ‘fun’ or ‘enjoyment’ so just make sure that perspective is maintained.
5. How long does “off season” generally last and how much time before their first race does regular training kick in again?
Triathletes, in particular, have a tough time taking time off. It is typical to cram in several races in the last weeks of the season and then almost immediately get ready for another event, like a winter or spring marathon or 1/2 marathon. Personally, I think that 2-4 weeks of extremely light activity after a 70.3 distance and a good 4 weeks after a 140.6 distance is a good amount of off or nearly off time. After that, I like to work with a different training focus so that an athlete is not going right into the same type of training that they finished the season with. This way, weaknesses can be reduced and improvements can be made.
6. Is an “off season” necessary for all triathletes?
Yes, an off season is necessary. Again, off season is not defined as nothing-season. They still train. They relax a bit. This sport needs to be sustainable.
7. What are 3 or 4 activities triathletes can add to their training mix during “off season” to incorporate their spouse, partner and/or children?
Add in short family rides. Hikes are good, too. Strength training or yoga are worthy additions. Or, just allow yourself a day every couple of weeks to do something different. It might be a golf driving range, indoor rock climbing, anything.