You've done the Challenges. You've conquered the Events. You've gotten all the patches. Is Life just another patch...? Or is it something more? If you don't remember when the last time you had a meaningful break with active recovery and intentionally less mileage over a consecutive time period, it's time for an off-season.
Going into Official Off Season can feel intimidating. It's like three months of tapering...or is it? Just like tapering, off season can create anxiety, but it can also create something so much more powerful, beneficial and long lasting: balance. With balance comes freedom, and maybe putting a little enjoyment back into your training programming if it's started to feel like a grind lately.
You might be wondering what an Off Season with PATHFINDER will look like. So we've put together this sample calendar with suggestions about how a roster could go about planning. The first thing you'll notice is this calendar isn't empty. It's still active with one day off a week. The rest of the week, the roster has decided on lower, consistent miles at a manageable ruck weight - and that weight is less than what they were using a week ago. Drop 10-20% at a time, get to a comfy spot, and if you're planning on moving back into other programming for the next PATHFINDER cycle, start adding it back slowly in the last month of the Life cycle.
The roster has divided up their miles and workouts to match their needs. They've begun by selecting the Fitness Assessment for their first Challenge. In this setting, the roster wants to make sure they're watching their baseline fitness, but with an eye to maintaining their base rather than expanding it. This fitness assessment is different than other PATHFINDER assessments, and they know this will just be a snapshot of their progress and true fitness level.
Our roster has also chosen Double (2x) Workouts and 1.5x Miles to keep their edge, but with a focus on weaving less intense workouts and pace times into their training. They've chosen to do the 6 Mile Challenge, a great mid-distance ruck they plan to incorporate into their training cycle three times, one each month of the PFLife cycle, while using slightly-less than their standard weight.
Our roster has selected the Firefighter Challenge, a quick 15 minute stair climb, and will be doing that once a month during Life as well. They may choose to focus on overall effort and go all-out on this brief stair climb, or they just may take it easy. The choice is theirs, depending on how they feel.
Lastly, our roster has decided that as a part of their less aggressive training regime, they are going to incorporate the Yoga and Mobility Challenge into their plan. They are new to yoga, but have heard about the benefits in strength and well being and have committed it to their programming.