Four weeks of Detraining

Today marks four weeks since the Xterra World Championship race. The “down time” between training seasons is usually referred to as the Transition Period, but to me it seems more like a detraining cycle.

One of the hardest things for many endurance athletes is taking time off and I am no exception. Following the Xterra race I was exhausted from a long season and I was looking forward to spending more time with my family. After about 2 days of inactivity, withdrawal set in. I had to do something. Changing diapers is activity, but it’s not aerobic.

After lying pretty low for about two weeks I decided to add just a little structure. I needed to build my body back up. I started lifting weights again and opted to stay in the pool for a couple months to work on some weaknesses. It was also time to address my lower back issues. I have had a couple sessions with a great PT and some soft tissue work. I never have had any regular massage, but it was time to stop ignoring my tight muscles especially since it was starting to affect my performance. I have always thought that I don’t have time for massage with my schedule and I would rather be exercising, but the truth is I could have seen some great benefit if I would have included some regular massage work even at the expense of a recovery workout. Hindsight is 20-20.

So my weight training is starting to progress and my lower back is coming around. I have also started to increase a long run very gradually once a week. Even though I am getting back on track I feel my aerobic capacity going down-down-down. I guess that when you are only doing about a third of your usual volume, you can’t expect to maintain much.

I expect my aerobic fitness to hit rock bottom sometime in the next two weeks…just in time for the snowshoe season to pick it back up. Vail has reported 48 inches of new snow in the last 7 days and opening day was Friday the 18th. Now I can start adding some snowshoe runs after work. Last year my favorite weekly workout was a 45 minute grind up Vail Mountain and then a body-sparing ride down the Gondola. If I was feeling ambitious I would add another 45 minutes around Game Creek Bowl. After a couple weeks of uphill snowshoeing I should see my capacity bounce right back and I will be set up to reach some higher peaks in 2006.

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About Josiah Middaugh

The mountains and the thin air were the perfect stimulus for me. I bought a mountain bike from the pawn shop and decided I would jump into a 100 mile mountain bike race the next month that included over 13,000 feet of elevation gain. That was my introduction to high altitude racing. I found snowshoe racing that first winter and discovered that I could be good at it. The next year I won the North American Snowshoe Championship and went on to win the National Snowshoe Championship.