A lot of triathletes (and athletes in general) seem to buy into the idea of an off-season. It seems to me that the idea of an "off-season" in triathlon is a by-product of American sports. The so called "off season" in sports like basebally, football, and basketball are filled with moves made by an organization but frequently a LOT of downtime by the athletes. Many of them typically report back at the beginning of the year fat and out of shape. While this comparison isn't completely accurate, it serves to make my point. Calling this time of year an "off-season" only really leads down a path to fatness.
For most triathletes that actually want to be good, there should be no such thing as an off-season. Everything has a purpose, and this time of year has the purpose of making you better, just in a slightly different way. Too many see downtime as a week of light workouts and eating crap (if the latter were a determiner for an off-season I'd be on that plan every day...but that's another post) which is a terrible, terrible idea.
Now, if your off-season consists of a week of rest and recuperation then two plus weeks of very light, barely structured workouts then you are like me. I THOUGHT - before this year - that I knew what downtime really meant. I was wrong. You have to look at season down time as equally important as workouts during the season. As much as you tried to nail every single workout from March to October you have to focus as much on nailing things like:
1) Getting enough sleep. Seriously, forego some workouts in favor of some extra sleepy deliciousness. There is nothing better than sleeping. Well, more of it is better I suppose...!
2) Using your legs as little as possible. If you're not working out (very lightly duh) then sit at the desk, on your couch, or in your bed. Slap on those compression tights and socks.
3) Eat well. After a big race, focus on eating good proteins (not the crappy ones like I do) as if you think about it, THOSE are the nutrients that your body is going to use to rebuild your muscles.
4) Do other stuff. Yoga. Sleeping.
When you're training hard in February and March (like you should) you can look back and realize how awesome it was. You have to "detrain" to "train." To have a peak there also needs to be a valley.
Sleep more, workout less. It feels SO good. You will wish you had in Spring of 2012 :)