So its the start of January and now it is time to get to work. I am intimidated by the prospect of getting back into training after a slightly longer than normal off-season break. We did four Ironman races last year, so we decided that a little bit longer break was needed if we are going to perform come October. Its been fun. The questions circling in my head commencing training this week are:
Detraining: Did I really loose much fitness?
So from my research “Detraining” occurs within a relatively short time after training is stopped. Scary but performances can go down in as little as two weeks. How much do we loose? Well that is one of those individual things and depends on your fitness going into the break, your consistency throughout the year and commitment to your rest break.
But in positive news, trained atheltes are reported to have a greater residual strength. So when we return to training, the rate of strength acquisition is high. So not all is lost. Some reward for the many hours of consistency and application in the past.
Am I at risk of an injury?
Last year I was guilty of leaping back in to training after a period of rest. I quickly inherited a sacral stress fracture after a fall from the bike at the 2017 Hawaiian Ironman. Starting the year with a miss-aligned pelvis and too much enthusiasm to get back at it quickly, meant that it was not long before I was side lined. Below is an MRI image of the dirty big crack (middle of white area) I developed in my SIJ from the 5th of February last year.
For me, the safest approach is to build the training slowly, training alone for the most part, and without too much data to remind me of where I normally am when fit. The key for me is to not come back into training with the intensity of my pre-Kona self. So Josh would say "Just relax OK". Its a good time to make any little tweaks to technique so they stick by the time the big races come around.
How long will this take?
Sometimes if you only took a short break it wont be long before you feel quite fresh and possibly “in the form of your life”. Just keep a lid on things for a while longer and let the load build up. If its been a longer break, in my experience, things start to pick up after about a month of consistent training.
What training volume should is start with?
My training is closely monitored by my Hills District coach Cam Watt. If you don’t have a coach, use your old training volumes as a guide to a safe starting point. If you are unsure how much you should be doing as a rule of thumb, start slow and only add 10% per week.
So what are the key things to remember?
In my experience / especially after last year the key things to remember are:
Start and build slowly / cut back the volume considerably at least for the first two weeks until your in routine
Back off or even stop if you start to feel injury niggles or usual tightness
Rest is as important as ever
Avoid too much data
Avoid groups of fit people if you are inclined to bat above your average
Make sure you are on top of your physio routine from the start (I see Kieron at BL Physio and go to No More Knots at least once a week). Having a base line of your body is important so you know if and when anything goes out of wack.
I am heading to the tour down under from 12-21 January. I will also have some cool things to announce in the coming year including a new project.