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Do You Need a Mid-Season Reset?

targeting a mid-season reset

As endurance athletes, we spend hours training for the next race and hitting new personal bests during the week. Sometimes, however, when managing all this training, along with family and work, it can be essential to know when a mid-season reset might be needed.

And so, whether you’re a triathlete, runner, or ultra-runner, a strategic pause to re-evaluate your goals and training could be just as important as miles logged and races finished.

The Importance of a Mid-Season Break

I recently read an article highlighting the need for a mid-season break in training for most age-group endurance athletes. If you started your racing season early in the year, now is a great time to take a mid-season break for mental and physical rest.

I’ve found this very helpful, especially during the years jam-packed with multiple 70.3 and Ironman races. Those breaks enabled me to refocus and prevent burnout, and they allowed me to approach the latter part of the season refreshed with energy and clarity.

Recalibrating Goals and Races

triathlon planning training programming

But, beyond just taking a break, considering a mid-season reset regarding your goals and race schedule can be just as important. Summertime provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on goals set at the beginning of the year and make any necessary adjustments.

It’s time to ask yourself some hard questions: How has your training been going? Have you been meeting your process and outcome goals? Are any adjustments needed to align better with your current fitness level and life circumstances?

Understanding the Hidden Load

burned out athlete burnout

One critical aspect often overlooked in endurance training is what is sometimes called the “hidden load.” This concept includes the physical demands of training and the cumulative stress from non-training-related activities, such as work, family responsibilities, and social commitments.

Many athletes don’t recognize that these hidden stressors significantly impact cognitive function and overall performance, not to mention the risk of overtraining syndrome. Athletes and coaches should emphasize the need for a balanced approach to managing visible and hidden loads that impact the week.

My Approach to Goal Setting and Recalibration

what duathlon bike training looks like

Personally, I reset or recalibrate my goals two to three times a year. I use a detailed spreadsheet to track my goals, races, and training preferences. This plan is dynamic and evolves based on various factors, including my progress and any changes in my life outside of endurance sports.

The hidden load from work, family, and other responsibilities significantly impacts us as athletes, and it’s important to consider these elements in our training plans.

“Many athletes don’t recognize that these hidden stressors significantly impact cognitive function and overall performance, not to mention the risk of overtraining.”

By maintaining a flexible plan, I can balance my athletic ambitions with other aspects of my life. This approach also provides valuable insights for the coached athlete, enabling the coach to tailor the training program effectively throughout the year. This not only keeps my training aligned with my goals but also helps manage stress and avoid overtraining.

Practical Steps for a Mid-Season Reset

  1. Review Your Goals: Take a critical look at the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Are they still relevant and achievable? Adjust them based on your current fitness level and life circumstances.
  2. Assess Your Training: Reflect on your training progress. Have you been consistent in getting in the workouts? Are there areas where you’ve struggled? Use this assessment to identify what’s working and what needs to change.
  3. Share with Your Coach: Share your reflections with your coach. Coaches are often more objective and can provide valuable insights and help you refine your training plan.
  4. Plan for Flexibility: Ensure your training plan remains flexible to accommodate unexpected changes in your life. This might involve having backup plans for hectic weeks or periods of high stress.
  5. Prioritize Recovery: Remember, recovery is just as important as training. Ensure you’re allowing adequate time for rest and recovery, especially after intense training blocks or races.

A mid-season reset is not a sign of weakness but a strategic approach to ensure long-term success. By taking the time to reassess your goals, make changes in your training, and consider the hidden loads of life, you can continue with this balanced approach to support both the athletic and personal dimensions of your overall well-being.

Use it as a chance to refocus and recharge to finish the season strong and with accomplishment. Finally, endurance sports also involve as much strategic thinking and planning in between successful training blocks as within them. Build regular recalibration into your training routine, and you will approach a more sustainable race season year after year.

References

Triathlete Magazine. (2023, July 13). Do your goals need a mid-season reset? Retrieved June 22, 2024, from https://www.triathlete.com/training/do-your-goals-need-a-mid-season-reset

Triathlete Magazine. (2021, September 27). Losing focus? Feeling grumpy? You might be overtraining. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from https://www.triathlete.com/training/recovery/losing-focus-feeling-grumpy-you-might-be-overtraining/

Cleveland Clinic. (2024, February 28). Overtraining syndrome. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/overtraining-syndrome

Jeff Lukich Triathlon Endurance Coach
Jeff Lukich
Endurance Coach at Drive Multisport | Website

Jeff Lukich is the owner and head coach of Drive Multisport and leads Better Triathlete's coach match program. He is a USA Triathlon (USAT) Level 1, USA Cycling (USAC) Level 2, and USA Track & Field (USATF) certified coach. A 10x Ironman finisher and Boston Marathon Qualifier, Jeff specializes in coaching long-course triathletes, ultra-runners, marathoners, cyclists, and athletes with unique events, such as double Ironman, staged races, and SwimRun events. Learn more about Jeff.