It's the Off Season! Now What?
If you’re like most triathletes, making it to the off season is bitter sweet. You’ve just spent your entire year focused on one goal, and now it’s over. Whether or not you met that goal, the off season is an important part of the process. It’s the key to long term development and the key to maintaining your sanity! The following are ways to make sure that you do the off season right this year.
Chill the heck out! I’ve coached a lot of different age group triathletes in the past five years and they all have one thing in common. They find themselves more motivated AFTER their goal race. As triathletes, we want to constantly improve. That motivation grows after races because on race day we are reminded exactly what we have to improve. Unfortunately, the first few weeks of the off season isn’t the time to make those improvements. It’s important to let your body (and your mind) rest and recover. Takeaway: Stop training for a week or two. If you’re still super motivated after your goal race, you should have trained harder.
Gain weight. Triathletes can be self-conscious. We all understand that. But gaining some off season weight isn’t the worst idea. Getting a little soft can be a good mental reset. Besides helping achieve a little balance, starting your training a little heavy will help keep you healthy. Nothing causes more problems in training than being too skinny for too much of the year. Takeaway: Allow yourself to get a little fat. Gaining a few pounds is natural and healthy. Embrace the fat!
Be normal. I’m sorry to be the one that says it, but triathletes are NOT normal. We avoid any social outing that starts past 7pm, and we typically spend our entire Saturday in a basement, sweating on a stationary bike. Now is the time to become fun again. Do things you wouldn’t normally do, and hang out with the people that you’ve been dodging for months. Takeaway: Triathletes can be boring. Don’t be boring in the off season.
Train your weakness. Everyone has heard this, but very few triathletes do this. Most triathletes suck at swimming, but you don’t see them pumped up to swim all winter. The only way to improve as a TRI-athlete is to work on your weakest sport. Spend the first 8-12 weeks of the new season focusing on that weakness. Takeaway: You probably aren’t very good at one of the sports, so spend some real time this winter doing that sport.
Lift something heavy. No, that 12 ounce curl doesn’t count. Get into the gym and throw some heavy stuff around. It’s also not a bad idea to know what you are doing when it comes to lifting weights. Thankfully, we live in a time when you can find a video that shows you how to do just about anything. Watch a few YouTube videos and make sure you do things right. Takeaway: Lifting weights in the winter is good. It makes you look better naked, and it also helps you become a stronger triathlete.
AJ Baucco is an established long course professional triathlete from Cleveland, Ohio. He founded AJ Baucco Coaching LLC, which currently coaches nearly 50 age group triathletes from all over the country. He also runs an age group triathlon team called the “Baucco Squad”. In 2014, AJ Baucco was crowned the first ever Kona Beer Mile Champion. He has since been given legendary status on the Big Island.
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