Off Season music to my ears. After the gruelling grind of training and racing for however many months or weeks of the year, you finally get to take a well-deserved break. For some people, the off-season is a week or two. Personally I like a month or more.
I look forward to The off-season because it gives me a chance for rest and recharge my batteries. But it is possible to find yourself feeling so drained or exhausted that you don’t truly get the most out of your off-season. You merely collapse and sink into a daze of catching up on TV shows or playing video games or reading books. Other people may find themselves getting restless, going a little stir-crazy. How soon can they get back to training?
Striking a balance between these two extremes is important. You need to take a break, but you also don’t want to lose all your motivation. Here are some idea on how you couldstay motivated during the off-season?
Take a Break
First and foremost, remember to take a break. Some triathletes think they’ll lose momentum if they take a break, but going hard 52 weeks of the year means you will be stronger. But your body and mind need the chance to relax.
Training and racing are both tiring activities. Over time, you’ll begin to feel the drain, if not physically, then mentally. I have found that there is a maximum amount of time I can train before I need a long break to refocus and allow myself to continue loving the sport.
It’ s important to remember rest is a part in your success. Just like you need to recover to receive the full benefits of any training session, taking a break is mentally and physically refreshing. Off-season switches up the routine and lets you stop thinking about triathlon.
If you’re feeling mentally worn out, be sure to take a full week or two away from all triathlon-related activities. This includes thinking about or planning for triathlons. I find I need to even step away from triathlon related social media.
Reflect on Your Year
One of the best ways to stay motivated during off-season is to plan for next season and set goals for yourself. Before you do that, however, take stock of where you’ve already been. Reflect, what did you do well and what can you do better.
You likely had some goals at the start of the season. Did you achieve them? If not, why do you think that was? And how can you not make the same mistakes again.
But always member to reward yourself for you achieved goals and all the work you put in even if the outcome was not perfect.
Once you’ve reflected on your last triathlon season, it’s time to begin setting goals for the year ahead. What do you want from this year? What things did you do last year that worked? What were are weaknesses? What mistakes did you make last year? These are all important question to think about.
Also be sure to set goals based off your successes from last year. Creating large and smaller goals will help in the long run. Progressively harder goals will ensure you stay motivated during your career. But having the smaller goals will keep you motivated and seeing the progress to the lager goal.
Once you’ve set goals, begin on the action plan for achieving them. How are you going to beat your personal best? Maybe you’re planning to return to a particular race because you know the terrain. Maybe you want to set yourself a new challenge and race in a completely new place, so that you can explore the world while racing.
This kind of planning shows you the road to achieving your goals. It’s also incredibly exciting: Picking your races lets you daydream a little bit about next season. Where will you be going? What new adventures and successes will ou have? Building excitement this way will help you get motivated and stay motivated during the off-season.
Design a New Training Regimen
Now you have goals and the beginnings of an action plan. Creating and designing your training regimen really lays out the roadmap to achieving those goals. Take a look at what your goals are. How will you beat your personal best time? What training tactics will you use to get your run time down? What old training tactics were working and which ones were not?
You may also want to incorporate ideas about elevation or heat training. Depending on the race you will be doing. Do you need to plan a winter camp somewhere warm? Be sure to build it into your training regimen and plan.
It can be very helpful to work with a coach when it comes to these kinds of things. They may help you stay countable and have idea you did not think off.
You may also decide to switch things up and ditch some of the routines you’ve grown bored with. Constantly challenging yourself in new ways will help you achieve your full potential as an athlete.
Try Something New
You’ve got goals, an action plan, and a new training regimen. Not quite ready to jump back into triathlon training, but itching for some physical activity? Why not try something new during the off-season? You don’t want to try anything crazy while you’re in the middle of training for a big race, so if you’ve been feeling bored or drained by your workouts, the off-season is your chance to delve into something new and exciting.
Take up yoga or weightlifting or even skiing if you want during the off-season. I spent a lot of time mountain biking this past off-season. I was bored with riding the time trial bike on the road, so hopping on the mountain bike gave me a new challenge and new scenery. I fell a couple of times, reminding me of why I don’t do this in-season; the risk of injury is high. Still, in the couple of weeks where I was free from the demands of training, it was great! I had a lot of fun and still got my physical activity in. Better yet, when I went back to triathlon training, I wasn’t quite as bored with it as I might have been because I’d been able to engage in another activity I enjoyed.
Wait Until You’re Ready
Not feeling your training after a week of rest? Maybe two weeks go by. Maybe it’s three weeks or a month. Professional athletes don’t want to take much more than that, but amateurs and age groupers might feel they really need the break to stretch on a litter longer. Some people take a year to focus on other aspects of there life before they come back to the hard training game.
If racing is in the plan you don’t want to let your break linger on forever. Next thing you know, your big race will be here and you’ll be stressing about getting the training hours in.
Nonetheless, there should be a certain point where you begin craving the challenges of triathlon training again. You’ll feel ready to take it on, both mentally and physically. You should wait for this moment before you dive back in. If you don’t, you’re more likely to feel burnt out in the middle of the season. Who wants to feel like that? Take your break, enjoy it, and start planning for next year. The combination of rest and planning should get you fired up and ready to tackle your next season.