In my early years of triathlon training and racing in the late 90's, I would typically race from May to September in a normal year. My Autumn was usually freckled with a trail race or two and then I would enter what some refer to, and what I used to refer to as my "Off-Season." Off-Season, or what I now refer to as transition season, is a time of year that ought to be characterized by just as much strategy and intentionality as any other phase of ones training year.
Transition season, as its name indicates, is a phase of the training year when the body is allowed to deconditon at a controlled and intentional rate; an intentional transition from fitness to inactivity. Typically one's transition season depends on the level of intensity and competition the athlete was competing at during their season as well as the distance of racing, the age of the athlete and the depth of tenure in the sport and mode of training. Depending on these variables a transition season can be anywhere from 2-8 weeks. Some athletes will take an intentional two weeks of no exercise followed by 4 weeks of non-sport related general fitness or a non-triathlon sport like cyclocross racing or single track mountain bicycling. This gives the body time to heal itself of any injuries one may have been keeping at bay during the racing season. If it's your first triathlon racing season maybe you'd benefit from 4 weeks of non-activity, while for a seasoned veteran, two weeks might do the trick. Whatever the amount of time you take away from the sport, allow it to be a time to recharge mentally, physically as well as relationally.
Training can have positive and negative impact on your family and personal life. Make sure to keep loved ones a top priority during your off season and transition season. Talk with your coach or trainer about how much time off is right for you.
As always, Train Smart-Keep Balanced!