Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Triathlon Off-Season Top 10

I recently presented my "TOP 10: Tips for Triathlon Off-Season" at our triathlon club get together and thought I would share it here as well. Although I wanted it to be a true top 10 list, beyond the first two, it's hard to say what the actual order is as they are all necessary ingredients to have a successful off-season. How much time should you take off? Your body will tell you when it's ready. In my "younger years" it was almost standard two weeks completely off. Now it's often 3-4 of rest and rehab before I start itching to begin cross training. Good luck on your off-season journey of fun activities!

1. Family Time: Spend time with, and do some extra nice things for your family and friends. They put up with all of our training and racing needs following us around to races, running for things we forgot, dealing with our over-training induced mood swings the rest of the year. For the next few months go above and beyond to show them how much you appreciate it by doing extra house chores, take the kids on play trips, etc.

2. Time-Off: If you use TrainingPeaks there is a reason the symbol is a little couch. Day off means day off...not a light run or ride or “Hey now I have time for 10 hours of yard work.” Those “light” or “recovery” days have their place too but the body needs it’s rest at some point. Perfect the art of relaxation on these days by playing with the kids, reading, seeing a movie, or just enjoy sleeping in past 5:30am.

3. Rehab: Rest, rehab and heal your injuries from the season. Don’t forget about them just because you’re training less and assume they’ll heal themselves. If it’s something that’s been bothering you for a while get it checked out by a specialist or a PT to get you on the mend (The Summit, Hutchinson).

4. Strength Training: Use a comprehensive program utilizing all major muscles with at least 2-3 sets of 8-12 exercises, 8-12 repetitions each exercise, 2-3 times per week to prepare your body for the pounding of miles that are coming. Spend additional time on posterior muscles that see less action...hamstrings, glutes, back, shoulders or additional corrective exercises to address muscle weaknesses (Pinnacle Sports Performance, Hutchinson).

5. Cross Train: Try new sport activities to scratch the exercise itch. If weather is nice, kayaking/canoeing/SUP are all great cross training activities that develop underutilized muscles. Mountain biking, cyclocross, road bike, hiking, and walking will also provide a great benefit.

6. New Shoes: As soon as you are ready to start hitting the road again double check the mileage on your shoes and make sure it's less than 100 miles. I’ve been taught this lesson several times the hard way by lacing up old shoes and ending in pain on my first run back (First Gear Running Company, Wichita).

7. Massage: Get a massage from someone who ideally works with triathletes (Eddie U. Massage Clinic, Wichita), or a sport specific massage therapist who works with athletes, to work out the kinks from a season worth of training and lets face it, you earned it.

8. Bike Overhaul: Take your bike(s) over to your local bike store (Bicycle X-Change, Wichita) and get your tri bike overhauled so you won’t have to part with it when next season starts and your off-season bike (mountain/road/cross) for a tune up.

9. Yoga: Put a little extra attention into your flexibility whether through a yoga class or a set aside time for your own 15 minute stretching routine. If you do yoga you'll get the bonus of some strength and meditation as well.

10. Triathlon Weakness Focus: Late off-season/early pre-season is a great time to do some focused time on your weakest triathlon sport. Get a coach or go workout with people who only do that sport. Group runs/trackworkouts (First Gear Running Company, Wichita), masters swim club, or a cycling group that will push you to be better.

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