As we evolve here at Purple Patch we decided to shake things up a bit and create a seamless way of looking at the year as a whole. We do not want you to simply train for a race and then abandon structure once it is over. Instead, we are shifting to view the year as four important phases, or quarters, of training with the beginning of the year as the start of the new season.
The phases will be:
- Q1 - January, February, March: BUILD PHASE
- Q2 - April, May, June: RACE SPECIFIC ONE
- Q3 - July, Aug, Sept: RACE SPECIFIC TWO
- Q4 - Oct, Nov, Dec: POSTSEASON
Traditionally, many athletes fail to see the importance of each phase of training and how they all work in unison. The vital postseason is often left to random training.
However, the postseason phase of training is a critical platform of success for your continued evolution as an athlete, in fact, we would argue the postseason is the greatest predictor toward an athlete making massive strides in their performance level. The balance in this phase is that we must seamlessly achieve two things:
- Emotional and physical rejuvenation
- Remain consistent and lay the platform of readiness to maximize results from subsequent hard work
The most common mistake of amateur athletes is to take too much of an unstructured break between the last race of the season and then ramping back into specific work. The other is to stubbornly train on with the same vigor, fearful of losing fitness. So how do we balance both rest and progression within a phase of training? Let’s review what an optimal postseason phase includes:
- Technical and skills development across disciplines
- Development of tissue resilience (muscle, tendons, ligaments) to enable resistance to injury when training load ramps up
- Amplified focus on strength, conditioning, and mobility
- Addition of different yet related sports (mountain biking, hiking, cross-country ski)
- Lower overall training load with more space/time for other areas in life
We are making important additions that we feel will not only amplify interest and a feeling of progression, but also act to improve results long-term. This will be:
Very high intensity and short duration intervals.
At the other end of the range of endurance sports, we will get to hit some really fun and different intervals. For much of the race season there simply isn't the capacity to integrate these types of sessions into a regular training week. So in postseason, yes, you get to go fast! Really fast. There are plenty of benefits of this type of work:
- Increase the ceiling of physiological performance
- Activate available muscles into the usable mix
- Improve central neurological conditioning
- Provide a route to improve proper form in disciplines
Of course, high speed and high power is a strong dose of work. This means we must be really careful to not make global training load too high. To ensure we don’t do this, the antidote is:
- No search for high duration / endurance work
- Global training hours should be lower than when in the middle of the Build and Race Specific Phases
- No make up sessions if you miss some of the training -- we don’t need to be that obsessed
We believe that this work, combined with some fun adventure training and a highly specific focus on technical development, is going to provide a wonderful framework for your growth next season. Success is framed by hitting some really challenging sessions over the coming months of postseason that doesn’t feel like daunting training. You should salivate for the intensity we give, and arrive at the start of Q1 (or Jan 1) raring to go and physically and mentally fresh.
WHAT WOULD THIS LOOK LIKE?
Here is a simple and rough rule of thumb:
|Race Specific Training Hours||Post Season Training Hours|
|16-20 hours||8-12 hours|
|12-14 hours||7-10 hours|
|9-11 hours||6-8 hours|
|6-9 hours||4-7 hours|
WHAT ABOUT TAKING A BREAK?
Absolutely! A complete step away from training is a good thing, but not for too long. Here is a rhythm we suggest:
- Your last race is complete: well done -- we hope it went well!
- First week following your last race:
- 2 days really easy recovery training
- Rest of the week off -- Turn your back on the sport!
- Second week following:
- Low structure and very social
- No metrics and no pressure
- Get planning next season -- a great time for a coaching consult
- Third week following:
- Begin postseason
- Low emotional pressure
- At least two days completely off
- Fourth week following:
- Fully into normal postseason work
- Emotionally engaged in training without chasing fitness
SETTING THE MINDSET: If you want to know -- in a single sentence -- why this is so important, then simply read this:
Postseason is a phase of preparation, in which you develop the bedrock of technique and tissue readiness which will maximize the yield of your hard work awaiting you in the months ahead.
You are not chasing fitness -- you are preparing the body to train! This is a massively important concept, and a phase that if you miss you simply cannot expect to maximize performance yields in the season ahead.