A key phase in an annual plan, the transition phase allows for recovery and rejuvination both physically and mentally after peaking for the major competiton of the year. It is the precursor to another general phase when the aerbic base is rebuilt - or one hopes, built upon. Not long ago coaches would suggest a 3-4 week period away from the major sport and while staying active a drop in fitness was expected as athletes take a very significant drop in their training.
Now, it is important to look at the transition phase as another step in a long-term plan. Training plans often look far beyond a year now. Athletes look to improve over a four year (or longer) cycle. The transition phase is important for recovery, but it is important to maintain fitness so that the upcoming phase of building the aerobic base is not a period for making up for lost fitness thanks to a virtual layoff from training for a month.
Coaches now will encourage some brief break after the final competition followed by a period of reduced volume and intesity and perhaps an extra rest day each week - but the maintenance of fitness is important. It is also likely that any highly trained athlete will actually recover better by staying active.
In the coming days we will look at some recommendations for the transition phase and some publicatins with interesting findings that impact this time. For those in schools and colleges about to hit the water again, we will soon get into the beginning of season training and how best to build the aerobic system.
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