The body loves specific adaptation but tends to plateau quite quickly to any new stimulus which is why changing up your routine is almost guaranteed to bring results every time. Your off season is a great time to challenge yourself by trying new sports or training methods that bring fresh challenges to your endurance.
Rather than seeing it as time off, try to see it as a crucial time for improving your fitness in different ways. Heres my step by step to adapting your training this winter for effective cross training.
1. FREE UP SOME CAPACITY
Training in new ways brings challenge, and challenge brings stress or TSS for those using training peaks. In order to introduce new training methods and not burn out you need to create some space for it first. The easiest way is to back of your specific high intensity work, drop the total volume a little bit and then commit that capacity to new challenges.
Putting it into Practice – keep your normal endurance work to easy efforts for a few weeks whilst you adapt your training, think of your cross training as your focus during this time.
2. GET TO KNOW SOME NEW KIT
If you have a gym try out some of the cv kit you’ve been ignoring for the last 6 months, they challenge your muscles in new different ways which help balance out your muscles groups as well as providing fresh stimulus for your cardiovascular system.
Not got a gym membership mix it up with biking, hiking, or mountain biking.
Putting it into Practice – Assault Bikes & Rowers are great bits of kit for challenging cv sessions, as is the stair master for building some specific strength.
3. MIX IT UP
Try out some new interval patterns you’ve not used before and keep your body guessing. Why not try out some of the following;
TABATA: 20 seconds on 10 seconds off 8 times.
EMOM: Every minute on the minute perform x. Typically lasts up to 20 minutes and should be high intensity.
AMRAP: Set a time cap and look to see how much you can achieve within it, typically in the time range of 10-30 minutes. Great way to work
HERO WORKOUTS: So named because they are normally insane, like 100 x 100m in the pool if you’re a swimmer, or perhaps some destination cycling or running. Freeing up capacity mean you can take a day and go a bit nuts without worrying too much about the repercussions.
Putting it into Practice – Check out our Workout Library
4. GET COMPETITIVE
Your off season doesn’t have to be a beach in Bali just a break from the routine of regularly pounding out meters and miles. This off season is likely to be 3-4 months but if theres a new or old sport you’ve been dying to try your hand at now is the time. Theres plenty of winter versions of endurance sports to choose from or go totally out on a limb and try something totally new.
Alternatively simply challenge yourself to see how far you can improve in something new in a short period of time. Work in small blocks off 4-6 weeks picking 1 or two key workouts to regularly train and improve on.