Now that the international season is over and I am enjoying a break I thought I would share a few ideas about the offseason and a few tips of how to make the most of it. For those competing at a high level in any sport know all too well that you need a break from the intense training and racing program after a long season. The real questions are: How much time do you have off? Do you still train? At what point do you start back up again?
I really believe in the idea that you have to go backwards one step in order to move forward two. When we talk about peaking for certain events in the year it requires a smart approach with months of preparation in order to be at your best. For me, my best result was achieved at the World Championships this year. Reflecting on the international Wildwater season, I can definitely say that I was feeling physically and mentally at my best in Switzerland. The two weeks following that for World Cups I was still in a positive mind frame, but it was hard to stay at my absolute best. Travelling large distances and not having structured training sessions makes it hard to maintain that form.
You need to turn the switch off for a few weeks. I love paddling and racing but you need to take an emotional break from it all. Sure, there are events going on throughout my break that I am interested in and will follow, but you have to detach yourself from competing and planning future events for the time being. Take time and do the activities that you don’t quite have time for when you are in the full swing of a racing program. For me, things like surfing, golfing, camping and skiing are some hobbies that I really enjoy doing when I have the time.
During the time off I still believe in some odd training sessions just to stay in touch and not lose complete fitness. Again, do some sports that aren’t necessarily specific to paddling. I like doing some cycling, running and instead of intense gym I might go to a climbing gym for a social workout with friends instead. As you get a bit closer to the preseason, those sessions might increase gradually each week to ease back into a full program.
Given that our season finished earlier than previous years it gives us a good opportunity to utilise this downtime. In previous years where racing concluded as late as August, there was never really much of a window to take time off because we are having to prepare for the domestic summer season. You have to listen to your body. If you are well rested and feeling motivated to start up again then it will be easy. Given that it is July and we have had a nice break, the Paddle Dogs crew will be ready to begin a solid preseason!
If you have any specific questions about this topic, please don’t hesitate to ask. I am more than happy to share some thoughts and ideas.