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.