Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Post-Season has arrived – now what!

For a lot of athletes on the east coast, the triathlon season has or is coming to an end, and many are left wondering what to do with their all of a sudden free time that was once spent training!

We at E3 use block periodization to your training, which means that your training program is divided into phases & blocks so that we can set specific fitness targets, address limitations (i.e. muscle imbalances) and set your goals.

In short, your season is divided into 4 different phases highlighted below, so that we can maximize your time availability for optimal fitness gains and help you become the best version of yourself come race day! In this blog, let’s focus on “Post-Season” & “General” phases of the training plan as those are the two phases that most of you find yourselves in now that your 2016 season has ended.


Period for body/mental re-composition & rejuvenation followed by specific targeting of weakness, addressing skills and functional imbalances.
Period for Training catered at addressing athletes limiters and start the buildup for the next period.
Period for Specific Training for the main events demands.
Training during racing season & between competitions.

Both, The Post-Season and General phases are then further divided into training blocks with each block again having its own focus.



Block of complete rest for body/mental re-composition post-racing season
Block focused to prepare the body for the load/work ahead and start addressing mobility/stability limiters

Block focused to develop skills/technique and start addressing limiters (sport specific, mobility/stability)
Block to develop important non-specific fitness & start building up adaptations  for specific phase (Your A race)

How long each of these phases lasts depends on you, the length of your season, your health as well as your future goals but could be anywhere around 6-8 weeks for Post-Season, and as many as 12-16 weeks for your General Preparation Phase assuming that we are working with you on a 12 month basis. The length of these phases/blocks is of course adjustable based on your needs, goals and limitations but a 12 month approach would be ideal.

So what does that really mean?

  1. This is the time to sit down with your coach and take a look back at your racing season – what worked & what didn’t. Being objective and honest with yourself is key here as it will only help with the next step! Planning for 2017! 

  2. It is time to decompress both physically AND mentally. Time to rest the body, but also the mind!  I know losing what feels like ALL the very hard earned fitness is a scary proposition (I have been there), but believe me – it is absolutely necessary if you want to come back stronger/faster, mentally refreshed and hungry for more swim/bike/run fun!

    This doesn’t exactly mean just planting yourself on the couch for couple months, but it means to take a break from structured swim/bike/run and have fun doing some of the things you didn’t have time to enjoy during the season (maybe you like to hike, play soccer/basketball, go explore on your road bike without any distance, time or power numbers to hit, take walks on the beach – you get the point). Most importantly whatever you do, remember we do this for FUN so you should find it invigorating and mentally refreshing! This is your “Post-Season” phase and your “Break”. 

  3. Perhaps you ended the season while pushing through a developing shoulder or foot injury yet you kept swimming, and running through it.  Now is the time to NOT swim or run but instead get yourself sorted out before getting back at it. That easy swim or easy jog now, isn’t going to help you 10 months from now during your A race. Now is NOT the time to play with fire and put your health along with the entire 2017 season on the line. Now is the time to treat your body extra special, keep the intensity low, and get 100% healthy!The fitness you think you are losing by not swimming, biking or running will come back faster than you think if you just let your body fully recover. So go see a professional for the required treatment, get your mechanics analyzed and start addressing functional strength, mobility limitations and/or technique-skills that led you to the injured list to begin with.

    If you are looking for a soft tissue specialist I know just THE guy! Dr. Pete Viteritti of Kendall Square Chiropractic is THE best. (http://visitdrpete.com/)

    This block of training is your “Foundation” and can be anytime between 4-12 weeks depending on each individual athlete, their overall health, as well as future goals. If you are lucky and don’t have any injuries to attend to, the training during this “Foundation” block remains simple although structured with low intensity and more geared to addressing functional strength & technique/skills limiters.

  4. Once we have built the foundation so your body can handle more workload (volume+intensity) or if you were injured and are now 100% healthy, recovered, and have done foundation work, then we can move to the “General” phase of training and what we at E3 call “The Preparation” block followed by “The Progression” block. This is a great time to focus on your sport specific weaknesses, and start building the fitness toward your upcoming races.  

    • Let’s say running is your weakness and your goal is to do an Ironman next season. This may NOT be the time to sign up for a fall marathon, and train like a runner. Why not? Because remember: 1. Ironman racing is a different beast, 2. Marathon training can be too much load for your body to handle this early and/or 3. Overdoing it now, may lead to burning out later in the season. We want you to think like a triathlete, and we want you to become a better runner in the context of triathlon! (Just because you can run a fast stand alone marathon, doesn’t automatically mean you will run a fast marathon in an ironman). This is not the time to keep increasing your run mileage, unless you want to end up being completely burnt out by the time you get to the meat and potatoes of Ironman training. (You should however eat some meat & potatoes – remember, we are all about getting and staying healthy and meat and potatoes are good for you … so is ice cream). Instead, this block could be a great time to work on your speed, your running strength, your mechanics or to continue building endurance, but again this depends on YOUR needs.

    • To the contrary, let’s say you a great runner but weaker cyclist. Now is also not the time to sign up for that fall marathon, and crush your competition unless of course that is your main goal for next season. However, if your goal is to crush your triathlon competition, it’s time to focus on that weakness – cycling! It’s time to focus on short and intense workouts instead of those long monotonous trainer rides! Save those for when it counts! Now is not the time to completely fry yourself mentally by staring at a blank wall for hours upon hours.  There is time for that too, but the time may not be now. Why? Because if you want to ride faster than you did this past season, a.k.a you want to improve your weakness, you have to actually ride faster in training! 

      • Riding for 4-5 hours in “x” zone or at “y” watts over and over again will yield very modest gains if not that same “2016” speed. 

      • In order to get to faster a.k.a find your ”2017” speed you must strain your body in different ways to force new adaptations. It’s not going to happen by riding in “x” zone or at “y” watts all post-season unless you plan to and ca double your load later on. If you can do that – great, but my guess is you will simply run out of time, may need a new job and your family may forget your name. Not much of a balance is it! 

      • So that’s why now (when the volume of your overall training is much lower than when you are nearing race season) –now is the time to step up your game to get to that “2017” speed.  How? By getting out of that “x” zone or “y” watts and making that zone “x+1” and those watts “z+1” for shorter periods of time. And don’t worry, you will sweat just as much in 1 hour while accumulating similar workload as you would in 3 hours of riding at that same old 2016 “x” zone or “y” watts.  It’s fun, it’s hard, it works, and you will have more time to focus on recovery. Try it.
      Just a little puddle of sweat and some quality time with my favorite brands of trainers - CycleOps. (https://cycleops.com/)Czech them out AND their new Virtual Training App! You can be riding on our favorite roads, or climbing your favorite hill from the comfort of your own "pain cave" or in my case living room. 

    • And let’s face it, most of us can spend more time in the pool! If you didn’t grow up swimming, the more often you can get to be in the water, the better even if it’s just 1500 yards at a time. Now is the perfect time for swimming to take more of a front seat!
              Just keep swimming, just keep swimming 

  5. Now is also the time to focus on strength training as it won’t be taking any time away from your swim/bike/run and being sore and tired from strength training won’t affect your key swim/bike or run session! Remember, I just saved you a few hours on the bike ;). Strength training will not only help you reduce the risk of injury, but it will also improve your fast and slow twitch muscle growth helping you to become more of an efficient cyclist and economical runner.
    1. As former bball player I shouldn't be afraid of jumping up on things, but these box jumps get me every time! 

  6. Eat, Eat and Eat! This is a very touchy subject for many, but it is completely ok to gain a few pounds, and not stress about it! This should be a post on its own, but having a healthy relationship with food is important 365 days a year. If you have that, you won’t feel the need to all of a sudden completely overeat because you all of a sudden don’t have a race on the schedule. 
 This is a whole lot of goodness! 

And my favorite all year around breakfast of oatmeal with dark chocolate chips melted on top, fruit of your choice and granola! 

These are just a few KEY guidelines that will hopefully help you approach your postseason and will set you up for a successful 2017 Season. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We would love to help you and are currently accepting athletes for 2017.

 “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” -- Michael Phelps 

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