The temperature has been dropping to single digits and we turned the clocks back this past weekend – a sure sign that Winter is fast approaching and the triathlon ‘off-season’ is upon us. You’ve been buzzing for months, having an amazing season of highs and lows, with targets to go for and the achievement of goals that seemed almost impossible all those long months ago. And wham, all of a sudden, the post-season blues hit you hard.
What to do now?
Your last race of the season is history; now is the time to rest, recover, and reflect, and then start planning and preparing for next season.
My top 10 tips for making the most of the winter months:
- Take a break. It’s important to have both a physical and emotional break from structured training. Continue to swim and bike and run as you choose, but keep it relaxed for a few weeks or so, without the pressure and pain of training (and without that Garmin!). Taking a break allows your mind and body to recover from a long season of structured training sessions and racing.
- Have some fun! Do what makes you happiest, enjoy those things you may have set aside while you’ve been immersed in your training and racing regimen. Read a book, go to the cinema, let loose, get on your mountain bike, do a cross-country run – it doesn’t matter as long as you thoroughly enjoy yourself.
- Relax with friends and family. You’ve put a lot of hours into your training this year and your friends and family have supported you all the way. It’s a perfect time to shift the focus away from yourself and give some time back to them.
- Congratulate and celebrate yourself. Take in what you’ve achieved. Look back on all that hard work and take the time to savour a job well done. Don’t be too hard on yourself, revel in the achievements and acknowledge the lessons learned.
- Develop a winter training plan. Maintain the solid base that you’ve built over the season and continue to build on your strengths, but don’t leave it there. Winter is a great time to work on those areas that need improving. Include strength and conditioning as well as work on the technical aspects of each discipline, such as specific speed work and swim stroke drills. Perhaps you want to get involved with some group training sessions to keep you motivated during those dark winter months, and test yourself against fellow triathletes.
- Explore your winter training options. For example, I love training outdoors, no matter the weather, even in winter. But I fully appreciate that many of us don’t and even for those who do, there are just a lot of days when the weather makes outdoor training dangerous. There are many alternatives to training outdoors. I personally use and love the GoZwift app, which I combine with Wattbike training in my Pain Cave.
- Get your bike serviced. Or perhaps you’re considering a new bike. And once it’s serviced or purchased, schedule a professional bike fit. Do it now so that you have the winter to adapt.
- Keep it fresh. Inject some variety into your winter training. Many of us (myself included) tend to be creatures of habit. Explore a little, find a new road to cycle, a new route to run.
- Consider and articulate your goals for the 2019 season. This time next year, what do you want to have achieved? Perhaps you want to improve your times or try a new distance. How will you achieve those goals? Is it time for some one-on-one coaching? Is joining a triathlon team or participating in group sessions the way to go?
- Explore the 2019 race calendar, decide on your races, and enter them. And then let the hard work begin again!
You’ve taken an end-of-season break and are starting to feel like you want to get back into training mode again. You don’t have to do it on your own. For coaching and mentoring, one-on-one or in group sessions, take the next step and give me a call or email me. Together we can structure your 2019 triathlon season around your goals, decide on races to enter and develop a training plan that will help you achieve whatever you set your mind and body to.