What is a Break Really?

May 22

This blog is in response to enquiries from our readers. They see differing rest periods given to different athletes for their 'time off' out of race season. Back in 2018 after reading that Daniela was given an extended long rest of three months, many athletes seem confused as to what is necessary for them. So, let’s get into it by first putting the Angry Birds break into perspective.

This was a much needed complete 'spell in the paddocks' for Danni. She has raced brilliantly for 4 straight seasons with me, without a big rest. Not only is this physically exhausting but mentally draining as well. So, we decided it was time for a career reset. A large break away from swim, bike, and run training; plus, all the media pressure that builds with a career like hers.

I'm asked did she do absolutely nothing? If I had my way, then yes! However, the bird kept in partial shape by gym visits and doing stuff that she can’t afford to do when in full Triathlon mode. What stuff?  I have no idea! I made her realise that I wanted her to have a break from me telling her what to do. So, we call this type of break a 'career reset'. However, at Trisutto we usually have much smaller breaks. Up to 21 days / 3 weeks for athletes who have all the skill sets in swim, bike and run. This is a very important point, because if one has a big weakness, then after a small break we go into specific stimulus programs.

So, let’s break it into two:

1.     If you are extremely good in all three (swim, bike and run), our pros do something every second day. It always revolves around swim today, then nothing tomorrow.  Bike the next day, then a run the day after. They are all as short as possible for the individual. These short workouts are very important, so when one returns, we don’t waste a month just getting rhythm back to old levels and getting used to all three disciplines. But the point is we do take time off from any organised sessions.

2.     Now the complicated! If one has a perceived weakness in one discipline, we will take a little rest, then go straight into a very specific stimulus program which targets that problem. When we do this, we minimise the other two disciplines to a more maintainable level. This is expected to be embraced by our athletes, be categorised as 'I want to improve' in their own minds, and they willingly buy into doing it.


Breaks vary because of the individual needs of the athlete. Some with great skills are afforded the opportunity to run their own breaks. Before you say the old clichés again, we have already dealt with 'No pain, no gain' in the last blog!

Now here is another Cliché - 'We should always be trying to improve as to stand still is to go backwards'. Again, this is a lot of nonsense.

Nicola Spirig is similar except for her swim. So, in her 'break' we worked on the swim stroke again. She will be sporting her fifth 'new' swim stroke. This was dialled in over the winter and was the only focus. I’m sure the critics will like this one a little better. We did the same with 'Little Pistol' Julie Derron who had a break that was about improving her run, this resulted in a number of ITU pro wins and many other great results.

Triathlon Breaks are very important to the program. The rest has done our squad of athletes a world of good. And that is what you are looking for in your break.

You want it to be beneficial so you can get back into training healthy with a few extra kilos to work with and feel good about it.