The festive season proves to be one of the most difficult periods in the year to optimise training. Here's how you can help yourself ahead of the upcoming season.
Overload is key; and essential to set yourself up for a record breaking 2023. However, rest and recovery are crucial elements of training to make sure you can adapt and also avoid injury and illness.
Over winter and more importantly, the festive period, it's vital to take into account the stress, time, and recovery implications of other aspects of day to day life. There's less daylight and as such the immune system takes a hit, so it's even more important to err on the side of caution rather than pushing the body too hard; and then becoming ill or overtrained.
Importantly, it's not a case of missing out during the festive season. Now is the perfect time to spend a bit more time with friends and family, especially if you're looking to hit some big races next year, where you maybe need to use some of those extra brownie points you've accumulated over winter.
While I constantly emphasis the importance of planning, equally important is allowing yourself permission to alter plans in response to other factors. Very little is gained from poor quality training, in fact, at this time of year, it could be deleterious to performance.
Accordingly, adapt your training to fit in with your social calendar and take precautions to avoid winter illnesses (i.e. washing hands regularly, avoiding contact with eyes/nose/mouth, optimise nutrition and hydration etc.). Taking extra care of yourself across the festive season will reduce your risk of illness and the associated loss of training while you recover.
If planned and executed well, the festive period can set you up for a quality start to the new year. Planned and/or executed poorly and you increase the risk of starting the new year in a suboptimal position. I'd always say that until christmas, relax on the training, allow the body some recovery, and then try to get to the new year mentally recharged and ready to push on.
Good luck to everyone who is training over the winter months, ready to hit the ground running in 2023. If you would like to follow Tom’s triathlon journey, be sure to follow him on Instagram.