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Sat 21st Sep 2019
The 'Get out of Shape' phase
Posted by: Simon Ward
Posted on: Monday 30th September 2013

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Simon Ward has a tough challenge ahead of him as he seeks to qualify for Kona next year in his Hawaii Five-0 project.

Despite all the tough training ahead, Simon is currently working on... getting OUT of shape?! And he strongly suggests you should too. Read on to find out more about how to approach the end of season recovery phase of your training.

I'm currently enjoying my “Get out of Shape phase.” Are you?

This is my new name for the better known end of season recovery phase. I think most triathletes would agree that its a good idea to have an end of season break and indeed there are some people who actually put this into practice. Of course there are some, in typical triathlete fashion, who embrace this a little too much and spend far too long getting out of shape.

There is a balancing act to be performed.

Not long enough and you are neither physically or mentally recovered when you start training again. The likely outcome is that sometime later in the winter you'll start feeling burnt out.

Spend too long getting out of shape and you'll have gained so much weight and lost so much fitness that you'll spend the first 2-3 months of your winter programme getting back into a shape that allows regular training.

For me the optimum time is about 4-8 weeks depending upon the length and toughness of your season and, especially if you are racing over long distances, the severity of your final event.

So what does the “get out of shape” phase look like?

It will be different for everyone so here's what I have been doing and plan to do until the end of October.

Our last race was ÖtillÖ at the beginning of September. This was a tough one with 65km of running and 10km of swimming which took us over 13 hours to complete. With over 11 months of training culminating in the final event I definitely needed a break.

There was the immediate physical impact of the event such as a swollen ankle, sore back and knees plus general fatigue. What is often overlooked is the mental fatigue that comes with following a disciplined routine for almost a year.
For long distance triathletes and many competing at shorter distances, there is a daily grind which goes something like this...

  • Get up at 5.45
  • leave for pool at 6.15
  • start swimming at 6.45
  • finish swimming at 8am
  • eat breakfast
  • change and race off to work for 9am
  • Eat mid morning snack
  • hit the gym at 12
  • Eat lunch
  • start work again at 1
  • Eat mid afternoon snack
  • leave work early to run home at 6
  • Get home at 7
  • Eat dinner
  • Get training kit, work bags, breakfast & lunch ready for tomorrow
  • Watch an hour of TV
  • get into bed for 10pm
  • repeat every day (just about) for 11 months).

The activities on each day change but this is fairly common for most days of the week apart from Weekends when work is replaced by more training

Some people have a slightly more relaxed schedule and I know others whose daily routine is more tightly packed than this. You can probably see by now the attractiveness of a few weeks where this discipline is set to one side.

“Get out of shape” means the following to me

  • Being active when I feel like it
  • Doing some different activities
  • Not timing or measuring and workouts
  • eating more “junk” food
  • Drinking more wine
  • Losing fitness
  • Gaining weight
  • Going to bed a bit later
  • Trying to forget about triathlon (very difficult when it's your life...but I try)
  • Spending time catching up with friends

After a few weeks of this I'm actually quite glad to get back into the “normal” routine, but without that break I'm sure there would be a point where it would all get a bit too much and that's when the burn out starts.

If you've got a BIG goals for 2014 like I have, then having some time to “get out of shape” first might just give you the boost you need to achieve great things next year.

Stay healthy & have fun


Supported by the following brands

Hawaii Sponsors Sketchers Impact CT FondriestLe Beau VeloAMP Vekta Velosport

Simon Ward About the Author

Simon Ward is the founder of, the most experienced group of coaches in the UK. You can contact him on 08700 418131, by e-mailing or by visiting

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