Off Season Fun

Coach Alan writes about the off-season and how to keep fit whilst also resetting your batteries for next season.

So the nights are drawing in and the time has come for everybody to accept that the Triathlon season is over.

The Question That Everyone Faces: 'What Now?'

The more enthusiastic triathletes will already be entered into races already and have their heads
down working hard, focused on next season and will be entered into a number of races. Many athletes give themselves a tough time for enjoying themselves at this time of year and are hard on themselves for not being motivated. But is this the right thing to do? 

No is the answer - relax! The season is long and a lot of us are very hard on ourselves when it comes to our level of expectations. This carries with it a significant mental stress; it isn't appropriate to push incredibly hard to achieve a personal laser beam focus throughout the year. (Be very careful with comparisons to other athletes here, as one athlete's easy week can seem an impossible feat to other athletes) 

It is, therefore, very important to have an element of psychological performance in your periodised plan for the year.

So the answer to the question above, 'what now?' is perhaps in answering this question for yourself;

What would you like to do as an athlete that is fun and exercise based? 

Now is the time of year to strike.

Differentiation can be a wonderful thing! In the last two weeks I have really enjoyed training but doing some different things. Mountain Biking is something I have really wanted to do for the last few years as wwell as visiting the Lake District and taking a serious hike up to one of the peaks. 

I have done two of these and it is surprising how much fun Mountain Biking or something similar can be, forgetting your goals, zones, niggles, strengths and weaknesses for a few hours is incredibly rejuvenating. It is also surprising how tiring simply going for what is effectively a long walk can be! It could also be as simple as completing some training without your Garmin! Going on a night ride (with appropriate lighting), Cyclocross, Cross Country running and racing. All of these, however, have to be done with a relaxed and laid-back attitude if triathlon performance next summer is your priority. 

General fitness and laying stable foundations are important before the New Year but, remember that it is winter and not the competition period immediately before your 'A' race. So you can, therefore, afford to have a bit of fun with your training itself as well as spending more time on other aspects of your life, friends, family and that nagging bit of house maintenance that needs doing. 

To summarise more focus over the coming months should firstly be upon simply staying healthy and, training consistently which means building up your mental reserve of energy somewhat as well. If anything, more energy should be put towards strength and conditioning for injury prevention and performance, but more on that over the coming weeks.

If you can apply yourself rigorously to this laid-back attitude during this part of the season you will not only find yourself enjoying time with friends and family and repaying some debts, but you will also find yourself mentally fresh and highly motivated when training picks up in the New Year.

If you liked this article you can read a similar one here.