COACH'S CORNER: July 11 - Taking A Break
We launch into Q3 with a vigor and plenty of excitement across the team. From Squad athletes to individually coached, the consensus is that we are having a banner year so far, and hardly got started. We want to do something special this year, and are determined to help as many of you as possible to high personal achievement. So far so good, but the job is nowhere near done.
With this in mind, this coming week’s podcast is all about taking a break. It lands on Wednesday, and I highly encourage you to give it a listen. I think it is high value -- especially as many of the Purple Patch athletes are plotting a time to take a break for structure and truly rejuvenate soon. I won’t ruin the stories from the show, which will be useful to listen to, but wanted to expand on the lessons for the internal Purple Patch community. Today, I outline a guide of taking a break and truly enabling mental and physical freshening, all to seek best performance. Here we go:
- Mindset: It is important we frame these breaks in the right lens. They are not ‘end of season switch offs’, and we cannot afford to turn into a sloth. Instead, they are strategic opportunities to let the work done so far in the year marinate, and restore the system, both hormonally and emotionally.
- Aim to align with family: Athletes will tend to think about events and training plans first, but pragmatism rules here. If you can sneak a break when it aligns with a family holiday or break, it can be powerful physically, emotionally and for the other important constituents in your life. Holidays with family don’t need to be training camps
- Don’t try to progress fitness: When taking a break, you will feel a little lethargic and lose fitness. It is the marination and restoration process. Don’t panic, and realize that the best thing needed to move forward is to step off the treadmill. Space and rest will pave the path to accelerate.
- Timing: Ideal time for a break is one of two scenarios (or both):
- A. 7-14 weeks prior to a big A-event.
- Immediately following a big mid-season race or event
- Length: 5 days, all the way up to 10 days, consisting of a complete mental and practical removal from training structure. Turn your back on the sport!
- Clarity: Success is not trimming your training down to 50-75% of training hours. It also isn’t keeping total volume up, but removing intensity. It is turning your back on structured training. No metrics, no chasing fitness gains, no intervals.
- Keep up the good habits: As I mention in the upcoming show, don’t go clubbing every night. I would recommend maintaining positive supportive habits to hormonal health. These include great sleep habits, fueling, nutrition and hydration. Support the system, then remove the training stress.
- A healthy human: be like one of those! Light running, a little strength, play on the bike for an hour, trying something different. Keep it fun and social, and don’t fall into challenges. Soul-Filling is the best phrase I can pull out here.
- And finally: have courage. It is a weird thing to step back in the midst of hard work. You will feel like you are falling behind others, and playing catch up. You will be fine.
For folks on the Squad program, I would suggest skipping baseline and structure, for a week or so. Then hitting 2-4 days of ramping effort and training load to then the 10th day being a return to full gas training.
I hope that helps. Plan a little break and have courage to do so. For most people, it can be seismic in training fresh and performance readiness in the latter months of the year.
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