How To Shift Focus Post Race Season
Triathlon is a demanding sport and with that, comes a range of emotions, including, joy, excitement, and nerves too. However, these emotions aren’t always positive, and without another event on the horizon or unfavorable swim, bike and run conditions, it’s easy to be left feeling de-motivated and lethargic when the season comes to its close.
Due to this, it’s important to try shift your focus away from the lack of races and instead focus inward, and prepare yourself as well as you can for the next season. How you prepare in the off-season is equally as important as the training you do during the season, so check out some of our tips below to discover how to best spend your off-season.
Quality Rest & Recovery
At the start of your off-season, it’s crucial to reset with some quality rest and recovery. After a long and intense season, it’s common to feel mentally and physically exhausted, so making sure you’re getting enough sleep and stepping away from your training is really important. Throughout the season you will have put your body through a great amount of strain in both training and racing and therefore concentrating on recovery is vitally important to begin the rest of your off-season work.
Cross training is a broad term that refers to any form of exercise that isn’t your key sport. So, when it comes to triathlon, cross training means anything that isn’t swimming, cycling or running. This can be anything that gets your heart rate up and gets you moving, such as weightlifting, yoga, trekking, or any other activity. Athletes commonly use cross training as a way to prevent overtraining from doing the same type of exercise repeatedly.
Reflect and Plan
Reflecting on the season gone by can be useful when looking forward to and planning for the upcoming season. Recognizing breakthroughs and any progress made, no matter how big or small, is vitally important. However, its equally as important to reflect on what didn’t go so well or what could of gone better, so that you know what approaches to take to the new season.
For instance, if injury or illness affected how you were able to train and compete, consider how you may prevent these injuries from occurring again. This may just be simple adjustments to your daily routine, such as drinking more water an stretching each day.
After some reflection, it’s time to begin planning for the season to come. Set yourself some goals and consider what you can do to accomplish them. Once this is in place, the next step is to tailor a training plan around your goals and commitments. This way you’ll be able to develop a training plan that fits around your daily life, but still puts you on the right track towards achieving your goals.
Build the base
Winter is the perfect time to build a solid aerobic base. Once you’ve given yourself a bit of time off to recover, it’s time to get back on the horse (or bike!) and start building back up again. In the off-season, speed isn’t important. The important thing is the time that you’re spending training and working on your aerobic base fitness.
On top of the cardiovascular benefits that base fitness brings, it will also help you deal with injuries and ensure that come race season, you’ve got the energy reserves and endurance to push yourself further and faster when it matters.
Check your Gear
The winter months are often when athletes will cover the vast majority of their annual mileage and combined with the change in weather, this can take a toll on your equipment. Take stock of all your gear (bike, wetsuit, running shoes, etc) and check to see what conditions it’s all in. A clean bike is a fast bik and much like the rest of your gear, the more you look after it, the longer it will last.
If you take the time to check on all your gear and make sure it’s all in good condition, you could save yourself some hassle when the season starts and you suddenly realize that your wetsuit has a hole in it or your bike chain is rusted.
Take Care of Yourself
And while you’re taking stock and checking things, why not take the same care with yourself. While your body is able to put up with a lot of strain and pressure, it definitely needs some TLC every now and then. So, when you’ve got the free time that comes with the off-season, try and focus on looking after yourself. We don’t just mean take care of yourself physically with things like stretching and eating well, as it is just as important to look after your mental health. Make the most of your time off by spending some quality time with your friends and family too.