Off-season

So many thoughts on this one, but here are some basics:

1) Take some time off, from working out, from structure.  Enjoy more time with family and friends.  BUT, don’t take it as an excuse to be completely lazy, at least not for more than a few weeks. Try new activities, keep volumes down, do more social workouts, don’t take any workout too seriously.

2) After a little time off,  focus on your limiters!!!  The vast majority of the time, people do their favorite activity instead.  But, by the time the middle of their season roles around, they are mad they aren’t improving more with their limiters.  Hmmm…

3) What I love about the off-season is that you can focus on just one discipline and really drop down in volume in the other two.  For instance, I normally work on my run this time of year.  It’s great as my legs are fresh much more often than in triathlon season as my legs aren’t always so trashed from all the biking and kicking (yes, I do kick sets in the pool and you should too).  So, it’s a lot easier to gain speed and get some PR’s.  Plus the temps are ideal for it too…at least in the midwest.

4) A word on #3 though, be cautious with the speed work and when you do it.  Not many can get away with doing it year round, hill work too.  It’s VERY individual as it can pose quite the risk for injury and burnout, and can diminish longevity in the sport.  With or without a coach, 60-80% of runners get some sort of injury each year.  If you don’t train smart, or do so with less than ideal technique, you’re pushing those risks even higher.

5) Ok, this is the most difficult feat.  If one of your goals next season is to race at a lighter weight, then this is the time to start losing it.  Believe me, I know how hard it is to do this while working out less and with all the holidays!   But this is not something which should be done during your season as it’ll affect your workouts.  I’m not saying you need to get to race weight by the time you start your season, but you should be knocking on the door.  Think big picture, if you really want to drop some time in your bike, and run especially, it’s easier to do so at a lighter weight.  I’m not saying you need to be skinny,  just ensure your goals are in line with your commitments,  sacrifices, and lifestyle. If  need be, consult a Dietician for help as you need energy to train and need to be careful about any weight loss approach.

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11.13.12

Sometimes I get slack for being so positive on many of my posts, as if I have a perfect life. (There is no such thing).  Believe me,  I’m not someone who has ever worn rose-colored glasses or expects life to be all rainbows and flowers.  I’m a realist.  Shit happens, and often, that’s life.  I usually just choose not to focus on it, especially if I can’t change it.  What’s the point?  Why not seek the positive and try to change the negative?  But then there are weeks like this one where it’s really difficult to be anything other than sad, angry, and just depressed.  We’ve had bad news galore with various illnesses progressing with family and friends, a death of a friends husband, and the closest piece being the passing of Scott’s uncle last night.  There truly is no one like him.  Everyone loved him, his wit, his zest for life, his humor, his character, his aura, his incredible talent in story-telling, etc.  I recall him celebrating our wedding like no one else too.  He was the first one to cut a rug by doing the ‘Fly Fisherman’, the ‘Sprinkler’, and the like.  And, he never did leave the dance floor all night.  It’s a huge testament that in his last days,  his male family members grew mustaches in his honor (as he’s always had a mighty one), my sister and brother-in-law wrote and sang a song for him, my nephew called him to sing him Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Courtney yelled at him not to die,  and immediately after the call about his death last night, Scott made a loving video of him to share with the family.  (There were several other gifts of love like this as well).   People like this don’t come along often.  The good news is we all recognized that and appreciated him greatly while he was here.  He was, and always will be, loved. RIP Steve Staub.

Training tips!

1) Technique, technique, technique!  If you don’t have sound technique in all 3 disciplines, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. And, the longer you train without it, the more difficult it will be to fix down the road.  So many athletes work so hard, improve some, but then quickly hit a plateau.Then after struggling with a lack of progress, they finally turn to honing in on technique.  Unfortunately, now that they have muscle memory with their current ways of doing things, technique improvement can become increasingly frustrating as it will most likely take longer than had they worked on it first. Patience is not common with triathletes, so they often give up on this focus pretty quickly.

2) There is NO extra credit in triathlon training.  No matter how good you feel, putting in extra mileage and/or intensity can hinder future workouts and race performance, and can cause injury as well.  I often hear clients say, ‘but I was feeling so good I just had to see how fast I could go,’ ‘I couldn’t help myself,’ or ‘the workout was too easy and I felt great so I pushed the pace.’   All workouts have a purpose, altering them affects the training plan. Keep the big picture in mind, not just the daily grind. You need to train smart to race fast!!!  Would you rather win the workout or the race?

3) Rest and recovery are JUST as important as workouts.  Without R&R, workouts won’t be as fruitful, nor will race performance. That being said, it’s not a green light to take a day off whenever you please.  There are days when you’ll be tired and don’t feel like training.  These are the days to suck it up and just do the workout. (Note, this is not the same as fatigue, nor is the advice).

4) Consistency is key.  I’d much rather have athletes train 30 minutes daily than skip a few days and then put in several hours on the weekends.  That’s a great recipe for injury and poor race performance. Due to life, a workout may be missed once in a while.  Even so, don’t try to ‘make it up’ the next day in conjunction with the planned workout(s), at least not without permission from your coach, if you have one. Workouts should have a rhyme and reason from day to day and should be planned with specific intensities on specific days.  Altering, missing, or swapping them can have major consequences.  Again, check with your plan/ coach to ensure.

5) Be smart. You can train perfectly and do 100% of the workouts exactly as asked 100% of the time, but if you eat poorly, lack sleep, and are often stressed, you won’t train or race as fast as your potential.  The more serious you are, the more seriously you need to consider these factors and adjust accordingly. I see lots of athletes ‘reward’ themselves with inadequate nutrition after races and workouts and/or eat more than usual.  That’s ok to do on occasion, especially after an A race, but doing so regularly will hinder workout and race performance.  Proper nutrition will help with recovery and help with future workouts and lead to a faster you!

6) Most athletes are good at training the body, but what about training your mind?  You could be in the best shape of your life, but if you go into a hard workout or race with lots of doubt and ‘what ifs,’ you are shooting yourself in the foot.  Take time daily to train your brain.  Create some mantras, list some inspirational people, keep positive thoughts, think of great workouts you’ve put in the bank, sing positive songs, etc.  Draw on all these during the next hard workout or race. I often go the extent of writing on my hand before a race.  It’s all in secret code, but it all means something and helps me stay focused.

7) There is no such thing as the perfect athlete or perfect race. As serious of an athlete as you may be, a workout is still a workout, and a race is a still a race.  Its results do not define you.

8) Expect the unexpected and know how you will deal with any issues ahead of time, from technical issues, to course changes, to weather.  We all have to contend with unexpected issues from time to time, but if you are prepared to deal with them, you’ll be much better off.  Tips:  put air in your wheels prior to every ride (you’d be surprised how many triathletes don’t do this), ensure your brakes aren’t rubbing your wheels, know your course, always have extra goggles, be ready for inclement weather and train in it when its safe (suck it up here as we all have to race in less than ideal conditions from time to time), always carry an ID and money, etc.

9) Be a good sport. If you happen to have a poor workout or race, learn from any mistakes, take time to encourage others on and/or congratulate them, find something positive about your experience.  There’s always something.   If at a race, remember no matter how you did, you still got out there and put it on the line.  You’re way ahead of other people.  So smile no matter how much it hurts, stand tall, be proud, and set a good example to others.

10) Have fun!!! If you’ve lost the joy of it all, then performance is sure to suffer.  Triathlon is a great sport, but it’s not for everyone.  No sport is, so if you don’t like it, find something else you really enjoy and go for it!

Now, go enjoy your off-season…and work on your technique!  😉

The break-up

It’s been coming, and thoughts of it were exciting and sad at the same time.  It was mutual and quite amicable when Scott and I opted to break up.  Yep, after 8 great years, we decided to terminate the coach-athlete relationship.  In many aspects, I could not have had a better coach.  He not only knew all my workouts and race data, he knew what I did daily, and sacrificed, day in and day out first hand.  There was no fibbing or trying to hide anything.  He knew if my eating, sleeping, stress, or anything else was not up to par and could, and did, call me on it.  Now many couples wouldn’t be able to have this type of relationship.  It certainly would not have worked had I been coaching him, but I, I loved being coached by my husband.  I liked that he knew everything, I liked that he called me on my shenanigans (not that there were many), I liked him knowing first hand when to back off or tell me to work harder, etc. It was all good!  Plus, he took me from someone who was just participating in the sport, to an athlete who barely made it to Nationals (I didn’t even know about Nats for many years), to an athlete who placed well at Nats, to someone who placed top 10 at the World Championships in the olympic and half -ironman distances, AND I accomplished much of this after I had our twins.  Pretty cool if you ask me and I can’t thank Scott enough for getting me this far and being my #1 cheerleader, sherpa, husband, and coach the entire time.  I’m quite fortunate!

However,  we all know, good things must often come to an end.  We both felt there were few stones left unturned in this journey and it was time to try something, and someone new. But even though we have parted ways, I know Scott will remain my #1 cheerleader, sherpa, and husband.  I think it’ll be less stress for him to ‘deal with’ me as an athlete too. 😉  Regardless, it’s all good and I’m fortunate I have so much support!  Thanks for so many great years Scott!

Now, off to enjoy my off-season!