After working hard for a number of months to build up your fitness levels, many people are split as to what they should do once they have finished a key event or race in their calendar.
Option A) Usually entails stopping training entirely, which is a good strategy for the mind. You get that break to let your head get back into the zone and you also let the body recover.
BUT – With this, there is that risk (and I’ve been there) where the mojo never comes back for a long time, you lose a lot of fitness and then you spend a few months punishing yourself for letting it go in the first place.
Option B) Is my usual recommendation. Easy tick over mode. This is where you ensure you are doing SOMETHING but a lot less than you are used to doing. You give yourself a break from the tough harder sessions but you don’t take your foot completely off the gas.
With this one, you loose a bit less fitness than option A, you’ll keep your mind in the zone, albeit not quite in the full race ready zone and you’ll still reap the psychological benefits of exercise which is what we all crave when we think about it – is there any better feeling than ticking off those miles and giving yourself a pat on the back?
The key for this is INTENSITY.
Something we are heavily concerned with in the HURTBOX studio (where we can adjust the level of everyones session individually). We have something called a Tweak Sheet, where we can ensure that in the week, two weeks and even a month post event you will be training at the correct level.
Theres no more struggling if your body isn’t quite recovered, and theres also no taking it far too easy or skipping sessions.
If you are reading this and concerned with how much you should and shouldnt be doing post event, then we have this covered.
From a personal point of view the worst thing to do is NOTHING – to sit back and relax and assume that because your key event is done that you can afford to do nothing for a few months. This is a really painful way of making your comeback WAY harder than it needs to be.
So here FIVE post event points that I wrote having gone through a very big slump after my big event in 2016 (which left me not racing for a full 12 months..!)
1. Finish and have your set rewards in place – mine often circulate around food! Do well and I can eat pizza and ice cream guilt free and in abundance. I will also have these foods during the year, but in my recovery window, I’ll have them with much more frequency!
Importantly with this is having a deadline – mine is often two weeks of pigging out, then I’m back to healthy eating again (sometimes its sooner as my body can’t cope!)
2. Already have your next challenge in place – Lets say you’ve got a long distance Sportive lined up, a 100 miler for October. A couple of months beyond this you should be looking at having something else lined up to look forward to event wise. This prevents falling into the slump, eating all those things you shouldn’t and worst of all thinking “One more week won’t hurt before I start getting back into full training again…”
3. Tick Over Mode – Arguably, even if you have done something like an Ironman, the first few days will be tough, the body will be screaming NO for even the simplest of activities. But within 3-5 days you’ll be able to move and start putting in VERY LIGHT exercise again. So plan for this. A gentle spin on the bike, a long walk, easy swim. These kinds of things are low impact with low stress levels . And for those who use our studio, we WILL lower your numbers so that you won’t be working too hard – we know first hand how important this recovery process is.
4. Pre-Hab – Or those types of exercise that should prevent you from getting injured. Post event you should find you have a lot more time available – i.e. if you were training for 5-8 hours each week, post event this might be 3-5 easy sessions. All that extra time could be dedicated to developing a new stretching routine, heading to a yoga or pilates session, getting to know the foam roller a bit better or possibly booking in a regular Sports Massage (speak to Lindsey for details on this).
Chances are, those hours you spent training have rapidly become “YOU” time in your week and it’s important not to let then slip away, keep the usual time slots filled with low impact “YOU” things and you’ll find getting back to the usual routine much easier.
5. Reflect – Something many of us are good at when things have gone wrong… In fact I’d say that seeing what went wrong is the number one reason why we sign up to do something again!
“I could definitely do it faster next year…”
But when you look back on what you achieved, highlight the good and the bad. See what was good about your preparation, what did you excel at, what should you do more of next time?
Maybe as many of our riders are finding, using HURTBOX for their training is making them much faster – so perhaps spending more time in the studio will make them even quicker… 😉
What things do you like to do post event? I’d love to read them below in the comments 🙂