It's our favorite part of the year. OFF SEASON! Coach Eric Turner from SuperFly Coaching is here to help you set yourself up for success this off season and make 2019 your best season yet.
It’s finally here, the moment we’ve been waiting for. OFFSEASON! Time to break out the cookies, the doughnuts, the beer, the wine and all the other crap we’ve been avoiding in our effort to get better this season. Time to get fat and lazy….right? Well….not so fast. This was my plan every off season. Stop working out, eat like garbage, enjoy some adult beverages and by the time I got around to training again, I could easily be 25 pounds over my race weight. But start talking to some of the most elite coaches and athletes in the sport and they are gonna let you in on a very important secret. What you do this offseason, is going to determine your success next race season.
It’s pretty intuitive when you stop and think about it. Start the season healthy, strong and in relatively good shape and that’s less time you have to spend burning off all the off season losses. I’m not saying you need to keep training like an animal all winter long, but doing a couple of things to keep it together can really set you up to have your best season ever.
- Make sure you are healthy – First and foremost, make sure you are healthy. That might be physically healthy or mentally healthy. Sometimes reconnecting with your non-triathlon friends (if you have any left) is just as important as getting that nagging calf crap to go away. Continue with the R&R portion of your training over the course of your offseason and work to eliminate some of those nagging injuries. Keep the yoga class or the foam roller sessions and make sure you work out all the kinks. Hit up happy hour with your coworkers, let them know you do have a life outside of being the ‘crazy triathlete’ in the office. Recovery of the physical systems is just as important as the mental systems.
- Set some off season goals – or in my case ‘set some weight limits.’ For those of us who struggle with our offseason weight this might be as simple as tuning into your diet and making sure you cut the calories back accordingly. If you aren’t burning calories working out, there’s no need to consume calories like you are working out. The body can take some time to adjust to the lack of exercise and therefore the lack of necessary calories, so just be aware of how much you eat in the weeks following the A race and, even though it’s tough, don’t go too crazy on the cupcakes. Offseason goals don’t have to be weight related, but they should be beneficial and relatively easy to maintain. Something along the lines of “work up a sweat 3 times a week” or “make it to the gym 6 times this month.” Don’t over complicate it. K.I.S.S.
- Keep Working out but not too seriously – I still like to work out a bit in the offseason, but the tone and seriousness definitely changes. If I wake up and think “I’d rather run today than ride” you know what? I go for a run. When I do go run, I ignore the Garmin. I don’t worry about my pace or the distance, I just go for a nice little jog. I also use this time to get some training in with some of my triathlete friends I may have been ignoring during the peak training weeks. There are guys I’d love to ride with more often but maybe our schedules don’t match up or maybe we’re too different in ability levels to train together. Now’s the time to bend the schedule or training group to hang out with some of the people you don’t normally get to train with.
- Start setting goals – I spend a lot of time on my off season runs thinking about what my goals should be for the next season. Usually this gets me really amped to start training again. It also makes some of the miles pass a bit faster.
- Try something new – Now’s the perfect time to test the waters of some new thing. If you really love triathlon, you’ll be back, but switching it up in the offseason can keep you in shape and let you focus on something new. Maybe you want to start climbing and can joining a newbie climbing class at the local gym. One winter I spent some time doing MMA with a buddy of mine who was getting really into it, have you ever done the cardio portions of Muay Thai trainings? yeesh. The point is, forgetting about triathlon and switching up the focus can bring you back to triathlon with a renewed determination.
Hitting the start of next season healthy is the most important part of the off season, but trying to limit the fitness losses can help set you up for your best season yet. Imagine how much fast you will be if you start the next season in just a little bit better shape, or just a little bit lighter than you started last season? You’ll spend less time ‘getting in shape’ and can really focus on getting faster this season.