By now, most Oklahoma area athletes are entering a grey area in their training and racing schedule. Darkness and cold temperature have become the norm, and most of our racing is done for the year.
Suddenly, we are left to decide what to do with all this extra time on our hands and we finally have a chance to focus on areas of our life that often get neglected during peak training and racing season. For many, myself included, this is met with mixed emotions. We are thankful and happy to have finished another season in endurance sports, but sad to think about all that precious time and work we put into this season going to waste for a few months. As much as some of us hate to see that daylight savings time clock get set back an hour, the offseason is a necessary part of a successful and long career in endurance sports. It’s a lifestyle that demands so much of our time, body, and resources for months at a time. Every now and then we have to take a step back and really soak in what we’ve done, loosen the grip just a bit, and recharge the mind and body for what still lies ahead.
My offseason used to be a time when my focus would shift to other areas of my life besides triathlon and running. It was a time to reconnect with family and friends. It was a time to go to a few concerts, maybe have a few drinks, and generally just do whatever I felt like doing with no real schedule. While some of that still holds true, I’ve found my offseason is much more productive if I have a set of goals or intentions. The days of sporadic workouts and loss of focus during the winter have come and gone.
As I’ve progressed in endurance sports, I have found that the most competitive people in triathlon are the models of consistency. Consistency builds success in this sport.
My goals for this offseason are to work on my swim, develop more power on the bike, run more socially with my friends, and spend a lot more time in the yoga studio. To me, this seems like the perfect mix for my winter training. I love to run and I know I’ll pick up my running when my next training block comes around in the spring. It’s an area I’m comfortable letting take a step back if it means two steps forward in the other two disciplines.
I’ve always struggled with the swim in triathlon and I’ve decided to devote the time necessary to make it less of a burden when I’m racing. I absolutely love yoga too. I miss yoga when I get deep into Ironman training, but it’s something I always enjoy coming back to in the offseason. While I still do maintain a yoga practice during the season, I typically can only fit in one or two sessions a week when I’m in full training mode. The offseason lets me get back in the studio 3-4 times a week and really work on my core and stabilizers that prove to be extremely beneficial during the grind of an Ironman season. It also lets me recharge my mind and soak in all the positive energy of those around me. I truly think yoga is a powerful tool in endurance sports. It forces you to find a place of focus and strength when everything around you is trying to knock you off balance. It’s the perfect parallel to what you experience during a season of training and racing in Ironman.
Lastly, I’ll use this offseason to look back at what was successful in 2014 and lay out the path forward for 2015. The offseason is a great time to make travel plans, sign up for races that fill up quickly, and get the support crew on board for some fun family trips.
So that’s my offseason plan in a nutshell. What’s your plan?
Everyone has his or her own idea of what offseason means (and there really isn’t a right answer). That’s why offseason should really be what you want it to be – nothing more and nothing less. Don’t feel guilty if you want to put up the bike and running shoes for a while and focus on something different. It could be just the break you need to enter next season healthy and hungry to keep training. Maybe it’s a time to try out some new hobbies or spend more time with family and friends. Maybe it’s a chance to work on some weaknesses and get back in the gym to focus on getting stronger. It might just be a chance to gain a few pounds and not be so hard on yourself when you want some ice cream or a drink after dinner. Whatever it is, find the right mix for yourself and have fun doing what you want this winter.
No matter how you choose to spend these next few months, never lose sight of why you continue to chase those dreams and those goals waiting for you in the distance.
Keep fighting my friends.
Share this post: