Time Keeps Ticking. Recovery Time of Year, by Greg Pace

So the season is mostly over or close to over (unless you are one of the crazies doing IM FLA , Arizona, Texas 70.3 or Kona).  So what do we do now,  more of the same?  Get fat and take up making all the recipes on IRONCHEF?

I call this time of year, your hiatus period.  A time to sit back a bit and do a bunch of things – here is a list of the “bunch of things” I would suggest you make part of your program – and resting, recovering and retooling are truly an important part of your PROGRAM.

Book some time away for the grid of SBR.  Dust off your in-line skates, your squash or tennis racquet, dig a new garden, try out hot yoga, cool yoga Hatha yoga or ashtanga yoga, learn to ballroom dance, mountain bike, cycle cross, BMX.  Keep active but only wave to your tri gear as you run out the door.   The idea here is to stay relatively fit while giving your body and head a rest.  This should last anywhere from 3-6 weeks depending on your next year’s goals.

Nail your goal before they nail you.  Just before your seasonal “A” race sit down and prepare a loose plan for next year – will you do the Grimsby or Chilli ½ marathon, Around the Bay, Pairs to Ancaster Bike ride, Tucson Camp?  Define your “A” “B” and “C” races for next year.  This allows you to plan your season and allows you to rest guilt free over this important hiatus period.  Just don’t get caught up in the buzz and start to focus to soon.  Burn out and over training are the demons you are avoiding.

Don’t stress your lack of stress – as a tri geek we are typically drivers, so when we aren’t pushing we feel we are falling behind.  If you stress your lack of focus you are robbing yourself of your recovery.  Workouts are stress, family is stress (although we love them), work is stress so do we really want our rest to be stress?  Here is my analogy for detraining.  When you pull a new balloon out of a package it is hard to inflate.  When you let the air out it is much easier to re-inflate.  Your muscles work the same way – it may have taken you a full year of training to get this level of fitness.  When you take time off and start your training again you will respond easily and quickly back to your pre break fitness level.  So don’t stress your down time.

Get your fun factor back, Triathlons are our recreation.  Taking time off to do other fun active stuff is why we try to stay fit.  Try to build a versatile fitness.  Have you ever been stiff after bowling….if yes then you do not have a versatile fitness level.  Start today and bring some physical fun into your workouts – that is what this hiatus period is all about.

So in summary the hiatus period should start 1-2 weeks after your “A” event of the year.  It should last 3-6 weeks.  It would be reasonably active but not over taxing.  It should challenge you to do things other then swim bike and run.  Make it fun.  Ease off on the stress factor even if you are slightly detraining, let yourself enjoy the down time.  Make your plans for next year, fitness goals, events goals and maybe even time goals.

Recovery comes in a few forms,

micro recovery – that 1 day off from workouts each week

macro recovery – that week of lower volumes every 4-5 weeks and

mega recovery – the hiatus period we just noted above.

Remember are bodies do not get fit from working out,  we get fit from working out and recovering from that workout and repeating this process.

Please contact me if I can be of any assistance.



Race Report: ITU World Championships, London England. By Paul Allingham

Well it’s over and it was really fun – although quite wet.  Went over to check-in at 6 while Joanne slept in (what a guy eh JoAnne).  Got back by 7 and read for a bit and then we went for breakfast – it was raining again.  Joanne left her room key on the cafeteria tray with dirty dishes so we had to go back and fortunately someone had found it and fortunately I had built in a half hour contingency to get to the venue with time to spare before my 11:35 start.  The only waves after me were the 70+ men and the 60+ women – my kind of speedsters.

The weather was crummy but nobody seemed to care – about 16C and raining.  Got into the wet suit and into the line with my age groupers – 58 of us.  Down onto the pontoon again and I was first in line which put me at the far end with no one on my left – my plan, same distance less distraction and bumping.  Water was 61.2F and a bit cooler than Wednesday but no big deal.  Good swim in 15:08, right about my pace and near the middle of the pack – some fast guys there.  Run to transition about 500-600m (all the transition runs were long so my T-1 time was double what it was Wed. and over 5 min.


Out onto the bike course and while I finished in 44 min averaging 31K/hr (the course was 22.5K rather than the typical 20) this was disappointing but totally attributable to the weather.  With constant rain the roads were quite wet with puddles, the surface was quire slippery as it was kind of pebbled rather than smooth, and the speed bumps (or humps as they call them here – don’t anyone get excited now) are cobblestone.  So cautious turns were required and each of the 3 loops had 2 180 degree U turns – thus a slow pace).


Nevertheless after and long run in with the bike and a long run out from T-2 transition, plus a giant leap over a huge puddle/pond that had formed at the curb entrance to the run course (like steeplechase) I was away.  I felt slower but actually had a faster run time than Wed by 3 seconds.  Lots of Cdn fans and teammates everywhere, all in red gear – and they were the noisiest by far of all I heard.


Overall I was done in 1:37:56 which was 12 min slower than my qualifying time in Toronto – 7 minutes longer on the bike due to the longer course and weather, and down 5 minutes in transitions attributable to the longer run ins and outs.  I finished 51 out of 58 in my age group but I’m still really happy.  Since I’m in the 70+ age group next year my time would have place me right in the middle of them.  Better things coming, just have to stay alive.


I’m quite tired and hungry at the moment so I’ll sign off and head for a pub somewhere – they are everywhere.  But I will send a separate email with a few photos that Joanne took and also a couple by another athlete’s wife we met who already sent them to us.


Hope I haven’t bored you.  But I’ve enjoyed this so much it is hard to shut up – wait ’till I get home.


Cheers, Paul