So you had a great race season. You trained hard, raced harder and had great results. You are heading into the off-season, or may be well into it now. The offseason is typically a time where you don’t have any significant training goals or events planned. You may lose some focus on your fitness or even stop exercising entirely.
Instead, why not use the off-season to springboard your way into the 2013 season?
Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you recover, and launch into next year:
- DON’T completely shut down and ride the couch until the flowers bloom. You’ll lose a big chunk of the fitness you worked so hard to gain during the season! If you shut down your training from October through January, it will take you until April to get back your base fitness.
- DO learn a new sport! If you are in northern climate, consider learning speed skating, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Look into options for winter triathlons that combine some of these sports. If you live in a warmer environment, you might look at stand-up paddle boarding, trail running or mountain biking.
- DON’T be a “Christmas Star” – Piling on hours in the pool, and miles on the trainer or treadmill trying to build “base fitness” will burn you out very quickly.
- DO something different. The off season is a good time to try a completely new exercise program. Look at programs at your local gym or YMCA. Some local park & recreation groups in communities offer fitness programs as well. Look for a program that will get your heart rate elevated, and have you moving in multiple dimensions. Think of programs like Zumba, P90X, Pilates, Yoga or TRX
- DON’T try to extend your normal swim/bike/run workouts from the main part of your season. You will risk injury, burn out and limit the potential for a break-through 2013 season
- DO train like a single sport athlete. The off season is a great time to work on the weaknesses in one sport. Having problems with your swim speed? Train like a swimmer. Is your run holding you back? Train like a runner. In both cases, focus on form and drills more than endurance.
- DON’T ignore any nagging injuries you may have from the racing season. You need to take active action to heal and recover.
- DO make friends with your foam roller, Trigger Point massage rollers, or other recovery equipment.
- DON’T obsess about the data. Stop scrutinizing your heart rate, caloric burn, pace and power. If you simply like recording the data, that’s ok just don’t over analyze it.
- DO spend time in the gym. Focus on building a strong foundation for next year. Build strength and power, but not muscular endurance.
Have fun with your fitness this off season, and you’ll come out of the dark & cold, stronger, healthier and ready to take on the world!