We've all heard of Taper Madness, but is there such a thing as Cutback Week Madness? Or is it the fact that we've got a crazy amount of stuff we're trying to throw into this week (and next week!) that is making me feel like I'm losing my grip on reality?!
Whatever it is, I'm ready for it to go away!
I'm not sure I've ever explained my Cut-back Week model, so I'll do that now.
Every 3-4 weeks, I will step back from training and let my body rest a little bit. I will do 75% of my workout volume. So my swims the previous week were 1300 meter swims - during Cut-back week, I only swim 1000 meters. My short run was 4.5 miles - I did around 3 this week. My short ride was 18 miles, and I did 13.5 miles yesterday. And so on.
The reason is simple - mental and physical breaks are good for the body. They allow for the integration of all of the work the body has done the previous month and allow the small tears in the muscles to heal. Mentally, it is nice to know that you have a little down time before it's time to work hard again.
Now this fall/winter is my off-season from triathlon but I am using it to slowly build up my base in running and cycling so when the next season starts, I'll be able to use my training time to increase my speed instead of worrying about having to add the distance slowly to avoid injury. It is my hope that this winter, I will be able to add to the mileage slowly (increasing by no more than 10% each MONTH, rather than each week!) and thereby maintain my overall fitness yet build a strong base for next year's endeavors. I hope it works and that I am able to do this without injury since I'm building up over a matter of at least 6 months.
So every 3-4 weeks, I will Cut-back and invest in recovery - but hopefully not go crazy in the process!