Athletes, especially endurance athletes, tend to be extremely motivated people. They want to excel in their sports and many have a hard time with the concept of rest or off season. Look around and you’ll see that many younger athletes no longer take an off season. They sometimes change sports at different times of the year but often they just seem to keep training and racing year round.
I believe all athletes need some time to rest and rejuvenate. This gives their bodies a chance to heal from nagging injuries and their minds a break of constantly planning and thinking about training schedules. The break doesn’t have to be long (4-6 weeks is usually enough) but it should happen.
I also know that even though the athlete may not be training rigorously, staying active (30-60 minutes daily) is important. The activity doesn’t need to be sport specific but for cardiovascular and mental health, athletes need to move regularly. Hiking, walking, playing other sports, or just dancing or moving in new ways can all be beneficial. The key is to shift the mindset away from competition/improvement to one focused on fun and enjoyment.