Coach Corner September 26: Matt Dixon September 23, 2022 22:12 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. Post-Season: Your best investment you can make for performance gains In a world in which there are so many promises and opportunities of magical performance gains, there is one investment that seems to rise above all others when it comes to performance prediction. Something that is ever-present for any athlete who makes massive performance gains from one season to another, but is often forgotten by the time the results are paying dividend. It is almost magic, and available to every athlete, yet many don’t take action and invest. So what is this magic performance enhancer? The gateway to big performance gains? A structured post season (or off season as commonly named). From the time of your last race of the season until a serious ramp of hard training next year is the critical time of athletic improvement. A block of training focus that isn’t overly challenging, but critical to your performance gains, and applying yourself through this period has more than one advantage. Let’s explore... Off Season is dead. This is our catchy phrase to garner attention this year, but the meaning is important. Historically, athletes have trained hard all season, then turned their back on structure for an extended ‘off season’. This off season typically includes weeks or months of no structure and a drop off in positive performance habits. This approach stemmed from professional cyclists who not only ride massive amount of weekly hours, but race around one hundred times each year. But the time of the last race they simply couldn’t go on. For the time-starved athlete this approach can lead to disastrous effects, as a loss of training structure, and dropping positive supporting habits, can have real impact on health and life/work performance. Training structure is a good thing, and plays an important role in framing routines and structure in broader life. While training doesn’t always need to be highly demanding, or take up as much weekly hours, it is important to maintain. Structure doesn’t suck. It is important and healthy, and maintaining good habits in nutrition, hydration, sleep and downtime are equally critical to life performance. Nothing good happens when you decide to turn into a sloth. Maintaining a performance mindset supports health, work and life performance, even when not driving toward a looming race. In addition to the value of structure, the coming months represent the only opportunity you will have to work on: Technical Improvements Preparatory low stress work to develop musculoskeletal resilience Positive supporting sports that vary load but correlate to triathlon / endurance sport gains (hiking, cross country ski, gravel riding, mountain biking etc) Non-race specific training that developments training potential and enhances gains from the more specific work ahead. By adopting consistency, albeit with more flexibility and freedom in much of the training, you are developing a platform from which you are set to ramp up focus, duration and intensity of training and ensure your body and mind is primed to absorb and adapt the demands. That tougher work is coming, but a choice to go random for the coming months will only lead to you rushing, panicking, and playing catch-up upon return. "Taking a break" from structure is really just a codeword that signals to a coach elevated injury risk, performance plateaus, and athlete frustration. Are you going to miss the opportunity to invest in yourself this winter? Or are you going to be smart and back a winner? Side note: We launched our video coaching at the start of the pandemic - right out of my living room in San Francisco - and since then we have worked our tails off to grow, develop and improve the quality and effectiveness of the programming. Along the way we asked many of the Purple Patch athletes about what they love, what they would improve, and even why they decide to not participate in the video coaching. We listened. And we are now primed to deliver something that delivers the best of all worlds. A chance to evolve your cycling, control your trainer (and the music), connect with other Purple Patch athletes, gain rewards for great adherence to session execution, and much more. November 15 is going to be the launch, but a whole new world of video coaching is coming your way very soon. Stay tuned.