Now the racing season is over, it’s important to rest, give your mind and body the chance to recover, change your routines, see family and friends – and maybe even allow yourself a few of those little pleasures that are forbidden during the competition season!

The BIU asked some experienced coaches and athletes for their tips on how to make the most of the off-season.

After the return of the IBU World Cup tour to US soil at Soldier Hollow on 8 to 10 March, the first time competing at home for many US athletes, Armin Auchentaller, Team USA coach, told us that “slowing down the pace after five months of racing and several months of pre-season training is crucial, physically, mentally and emotionally.”

His advice? “Give yourself a chance to heal yourself, either through stillness or many other different opportunities and activities you may have in life, aside from biathlon.”

Team USA’s BIU athlete ambassador Chloe Levins added: “To completely direct your energy to something unrelated to biathlon is the best thing you can do for your brain and body.

“Make sure you continue to eat full, healthy meals during the off-season. Your body worked extremely hard, week after week, during the competition season and needs sufficient fuel to recalibrate.

“Use the springtime to be spontaneous and let your soul roam! Chase after other interests or simply enjoy the peace.”

Jonne Kahkonen, the Finnish coach of the Italian women’s team, spoke to us after helping Lisa Vittozzi to lift her first-ever Total Score crystal globe. After such a demanding physical and mental effort, he values the importance of resting and recovering, not only for those, like Vittozzi, who return from a successful season, but also for the ones who felt like the season could have gone better.

He said: “Even if you are behind and you know you need to work to catch up, recovery dictates how much and how often you can train.

“During the off-season, you can allow yourself to have a little extra, whether it is a nice dessert or some chocolate or candy at the movies – all part of the physical and mental recovery.

“Spend some more time with family, friends and loved ones. Be happy with what you have accomplished, whether you met your goals or not Leave the past behind and look forward!”