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Off-Season Essentials

I have been giving a lot of thought to what I want to get out of next year as far as training and racing.  It’s funny, the racing season isn’t even over for 2009 and I have most of my 2010 schedule already mapped out!  But it isn’t just about putting races on the calendar, it is about going bigger and getting better.  And the one of the prime times to work on oneself as a Triathlete, is the off-season.

In the latest issue of Triathlon Life (Fall 2009) there was an interesting article that encouraged triathletes to focus on three essentials for the off-season: recover, try something new and work on your weakness.  I am taking the article to heart and making it a priority to do all three.

Recover: For the majority of the year we are training and/or racing and taking time off is difficult.  The off-season is the perfect time to give the body the break it needs.  Allow yourself to physically and mentally recover.  This doesn’t mean do nothing (although, that is okay too!), it just means don’t obsess over a schedule.  Take some time to just be active without looking at it like “training”.  Do what you feel like, when you feel like it. Staying active will make it easier to jump back into training when it is time but won’t leave you feeling burnt out too soon in the season.

My recovery plan: I fully intend on taking two full weeks off after the Philly half-marathon.  After a nice little break my plan is to take a few more weeks just having fun with my work-outs.  I have two fun 5ks planned for early December and I figure if I want to swim, I’ll swim…if I want to spin, I’ll spin…I am just going to leave it up to how I feel each day.  I have a half-marathon in February and my training plan for that will begin at the end of December.  Beginning in late winter, I’ll start adding in more swimming and biking.  Full training for triathlon will be back in effect as of the beginning of April.

Try something new: The off-season is the best time for cross-training.  Sure, most triathletes cross-train throughout the year, but now is the time to dedicate oneself to something outside of the swim-bike-run.

What I am trying that is new: This winter, I will be skiing and taking pilates.  I have skied a few times but it was over 15 years ago and I have been dying to get back on the slopes for a while now.  I have one ski trip planned but am hoping to get out there a few times over the winter months.  I am also going to try out pilates.  Yoga and I do not get along, it is too slow for me and I have been known to fall asleep in class.  Pilates has a good reputation and a few of the women in my Tuesday morning spin class talk about the great class at my gym.  In addition to this, I am going to work really hard on my core training.  I have decent abs but my core in general could use some work.  I plan to devote two full work-outs a week to core training, the pilates class being one and another on my own.

Work on your weakness: This is not suggesting that one spends all their free time on one sport, but the off-season is the best time for a set period of focus on the weaker sport.

My weakness work: My weakness this year is the same as last…the bike.  I have come so far but still have a long way to go.  My goals are to continue to attend spin class, work with videos on a trainer at home and when the weather is nicer, get out on the bike more often.  Specifically, I want to work with clipless pedals.  By the time race season rolls around, I am hoping to be more confident and less fearful on the bike and in turn be more efficient in my riding skills.

How about you bloggies?  Are you planning to and/or looking forward to taking a break?  Plan to try anything new or work on any weaknesses?

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8 thoughts on “Off-Season Essentials

  1. Sounds like you have a solid plan. Rest & recovery is important, as is planning a training routine for the off-season. Looks like you have both covered well for the upcoming months. Make sure to leave plenty of time for fun too.

  2. This is a great post and you have done an excellent job lining everything up! I am going to take these three points and marinade on them for myself… Unfortunately off season for me is not until after Gasparilla marathon in Feb… I start back full time training again here in a minute. But I have been enjoying myself the last few weeks, rest days, races, etc…

  3. GReat list! My weakness is my left leg…I plan to bulk it up and get in the weight room with hubby. I also am very bad at starting fast and getting slower and slower..I want to work on negative splits. I also need to work on my breathing and arm swing. All good things while I am not officially training for anything..

    I am hoping to get a FUN 5K in December on my calendar too..

  4. great plan and great ideas!!!! i like the idea of working on weaknesses and specific ideas for non-training weeks/months. skiing and pilates will be such a great total body workout!!!! very inspiring post 🙂

  5. I’m impressed by how you thought this through. It sounds fun too and by that I mean by working out when you feel like it. Knowing myself however I know that won’t work for me, if I don’t plan workouts I skip easily.

    I don’t like yoga either but I do like Pilates. Right now I’m working on strenght and when that’s better and my running is faster I will pick up Pilates again.

    Running and Pilates is a great combination so I have been told.

  6. Great post!!!! Sounds like you have some awesome goals lined up!

    I’m so ready for off-season recovery! I’m so burnt out and feel like I’ve been training most of the year. Yay for trying new things during this time!

  7. I love doing what you did in this post… writing things down, getting clarity, setting eyes on new things to be done. I’m not ready for that yet!!!! Can’t wait, though, to start thinking about my off season 🙂

  8. I love the idea of concentrating on these three things. I have definitely been taking it easier since race season ended for me but I do still try to work out at least 4 days a week, two of those running. I’m also working with a trainer on strength and core training. I love the change of pace.
    Like you, I need work on the bike. I’m also going to work on going farther and a little faster with my running. What I’m finding that surprised me though is that when I take off two or three days between running workouts and do other stuff, my runs are better. There’s something to be said for that recovery piece! Great post. Thanks.

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