Winter Conditioning - 6 days week/6 week blocks Oct -March. Weight training; Circuits; Pure Plyometrics; Jumping Fartleks (30-40 minute easy run with explosive plyo exercise every 200 meters); Speedwork; technical work January onwards.
May - August -> Track season. We would select 2 key dates for peaking and specifically target those. With weekly meets, midweek training transitioned to very low volume recovery work only. June through early August was the typical window of opportunity to attack personal records.
Jumping (my discipline) places very significant forces on the soft tissues, tendons and joints - particularly in the take-off leg. A competition track surface ups the damage ante further so competing for 12 weeks on the trot would eventually take its toll - typically in the form of shin splints.
Admittedly, I was a young athlete so I do not know is if this would have dissipated over the years with an increased conditioning baseline (a back injury shut me down completely at 18).
Anyway, the thing about shin splints is this - they hurt like hell and they stick around. Once you get em, the only way back is to shut it all down, go away and come back fresh. They have a fancy new name now - Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) - but I suspect scholarship athletes are still taped up and told to get out there and get on with it anyway (ouch!).
Bottom line, the body is showing the signs of overload and chronic inflammation. The prospect of peak performances gets put away at this stage and the closing weeks of the season would have mirrored the opening spell with one or two low key outings (if that).
In September, the focus then switched to recovery mode. 4 weeks off to let the body heal and rebuild itself was a great tactic - physically and mentally.
What I now wonder is this - if keto adaptation is known to reduce the key inflammatory markers in the body (per Volek, Phinney) and positively influence cognitive function (ref Prof D D'Agostino) without any threat to lean muscle mass (and possibly even a +ve), could it be the case that a ketogenic intervention during the off season would fast track both physical recovery and mental appetite for the challenges ahead?
Putting aside the debate over fat adaptation and its implications for acute performance measures, the off season is 100% about recovery - and recovery begins with optimal health.
If a closed season fat adaptation protocol offers a risk free shot at short term physical and cognitive benefits it's tough to imagine what might stop any athlete trying it?
Or must we wait for a Randomized Controlled Trial of dietary interventions for elite athletes in the off season?
There's science...and there's shin splints.