End of season break / Longer breaks

What are the longer breaks good for? Like two weeks or more…

I’ve been training for 15 years and never had more then two weeks off.

It acts as a supercompensation period for your body.

What is taking so long?

You will loose both strength and endurance.

I think the main reasons are to give the body a chance to heal the aches and niggles that accumulate over a long competitive season and to allow the mind a break to re-gain motivation for the mentally and physically exhausting GPP. I personally never did more than 2 weeks either, though, and even that I disliked because my first one or two weeks back training were always hampered by severe DOMS.

As a thrower I had 2 weeks off completely, then I would start active recovery by doing things not associated with throwing or the track. I would bushwalk, climb play other sports etc…

And it was to get over mental fatigue and physical fatigue - injuries and general tiredness.

I would come back to level not a lot lower then prior - power and speed where down, for example a standing 30 was slower by about .2 my OL and squats where down by 5%, but after a 4 week cycle both where back to near same levels.

The longer you take off, the more gradual your return must be- or the result will be what you experienced.

As a coach I have 6 weeks off after Easter, normally returning about the 3rd week of May (depends on when Easter falls).

I personally need the break to recharge the batteries and mentally recover from a pretty hectic and busy schedule. Our comp schedule started in October and won’t end until Easter, so its a long time to be ‘on the ball’ keeping up with the various comps ensuring athletes are in the shape to do what they have to do. Just on the weekend I had athletes in Adelaide SA, Loxton (260kms north of Adelaide) & Sydney. The week before it was Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane & a pro meet at Tea Tree Gully.

This Thursday it’s the Melbourne World track Tour, then Bendigo on Saturday. I also have athletes competing in Adelaide on Saturday.

I’m starting to look forward to the break already. I also use it to review my list (of athletes) and think about any I believe I need to ‘move on’ and consider (look around :wink: ) those wanting to join.

I encourage my athletes to have an active rest - keep fit doing what ever they want but with moderation and just have fun doing it.

That break goes for 6 weeks before the start of the next GPP. However the athletes themselves generally get back into it sooner because they simply miss doing something so they organise among themselves to do some training.

This year might be a little different because I have a couple of athletes looking to compete at a more elite level during the Aussie winter with one possibly in an Australian relay team. But until that is confirmed we will stick to our traditional break.

Maybe that’s just me, but after 2 weeks off training, even squatting 40% of my max will give me DOMS. The running part (tempo and hill sprints) is not usually a problem, it’s the weights that are the killer.

For me it’s completely the opposite, after 6 weeks off did sprinting+weights and had lots of DOMS, took another 8 weeks off and I am doing just weights and have no DOMS, even though I am hitting high reps (8) and more sets than ever.

I’ve been told that the body holds water when you train (hard) and if you take a longer break (2+ weeks) it will get rid of the water and toxic waste with it.

I’ve also read an interesting study on pubmed which found that after a long break (2+ weeks) the fast twitch type muscles (Type IIx or Type IIb I don’t remember) will increase.
However, when the test subjects got back into training again the fast twitch muscles decrease and the more enduring muscle (Type IIa) increased.

What happened with Jonathan Edwards? He took like 4-6 months off, continued training and improved massively. Perhaps the absolute amount of IIb increases? If he had reverted again to IIa then he wouldn’t be able to jump as massively as he did.