Contributed by Shane Borza, MHR & Certified ICF(c) Coach

As some sports, and parts of life, happen at different parts of the year (Skiing and Climbing or school and summer camp for instance), don’t worry about what month you do what in, instead, focus on what aspect of the season you want to be in when.

For Sports – consider the seasonal aspect you wish to concentrate on. A good way to outline an annual plan is the below.

Off-Season: Strength & Power

Pre-Season: Conditioning & Fitness

Season: Maintenance, Mobility & Flexibility

Post-Season: Rest, Recovery, Alternate Activity(ies)
For life, you may want to program similarly, perhaps you use a different set of seasons however…

Spring: School/Work | Pay off Holidays/Save for TripSummer: Summer Break/Vacation | Spend Savings on TravelAutumn: Back to School/Work | Pay off Trip/Save for HolidaysWinter: Winter Break/Holidays | Time Off/Spend for Gifts and Travel

If you are a Hiker or Climber, you will probably be looking at something like the following as your season:

  • Off-Season: Winter (December-February)
  • Pre-Season: Spring (March-May)
  • Season: Summer (June-Aug)
  • Post-Season: Autumn (September-November)

Skiers, of course, will be the complete opposite:

  • Off-Season: Summer (June-Aug)
  • Pre-Season: Autumn (September-November)
  • Season: Winter (December-February)
  • Post-Season: Spring (March-May)

Of course, these sport guidelines are only rough outlines as you could probably Hike or Climb from March until the snow flies. With Skiing, depending on where you are, you may be on snow in October and stay there until May. And, with life too, big plans and timelines depend on circumstances. Have a lot of kids or no kids? Lots of big projects on the horizon at work or is there an annual slow season? Look at the big picture to set your year up for success, regardless of whether that is mountain adventures, or life planning.

As with all of these programming ideas, use your head and do your homework. For sports, look back at the previous season and ask yourself, “Could I have gotten into better shape earlier?” or “Would I have done better if I’d backed off training?” and, even, “How could I have healed up at the end of the season so this year I don’t have insert nagging injury here still?”

For life, do the same by asking, “Would that big vacation have been easier if I’d started saving earlier?” or “How could I have better planned out going home for Christmas?” and “Could I have had a better plan for paying off my bills before the end of the year?”

Sit down with a calendar and plan out your year and quarter, months and weeks – too if you can. Especially if you know there are certain treks, vacations, expenses, or bills you’ll want to give priority to. After all, if you’ll be on the road travelling for six months, that’s an entirely different planning strategy than going skiing every weekend for the winter. Same goes for juggling three kids going to school as opposed to making that one big purchase at Christmas. You can set yourself up for success, all it requires is some programming.

The above is an excerpt from my new book Total Mountain Fitness. If you found this helpful and would like to receive the free ebook version, please sign up here: