I know this post comes earlier than usual for most. I only had the time and money to race three times this year and I raced my last race last weekend, so technically I am in the off season. I am focused and preparing for next year right now. In all training, but especially in triathlon training you must prepare for the next season by doing things now. I know that if I do not work hard now, then I will not reach my goals for next year at all. It has begun, I promise it will be hard, I MUST be faster next year!
This week marked the beginning of the process of doing my off season. My basic plan is to workout in each discipline, plus do strength training and have weight loss. The off season provides time that you do not have in between races during the season. I will use this post to discuss briefly what I am doing in each discipline during the off season:
-Swimming: I must get faster in swimming by getting better in my form. I have been working hard on my form for about 3 weeks now in each workout. I have been steadily getting faster and faster in the pool. I was able to do my fastest times of the season in the swim in the race last weekend. I am doing more drills, along with kick board training. I am also including some swim sprints of 50 and 100 yard distances. The key to swimming faster in a race is to swim faster in practice. I am concentrating mostly on a streamline body position and the proper location of the arm during the stroke. I have a tendency to have my arm swoop across my chest which is not providing the proper force in the swim. I am making sure that I am leaving a slight bow in the arm and making the stroke the most effective. The swim sprints are meant to help me put all the drills together with cardiovascular help in the pool. I will also be working on breathing better and taking less breaths per length of the pool.
-Bicycling: Strength, Strength, Strength, Endurance. The formula for me to get faster next year in the bike has to do with three parts strength and one part endurance. I must get my legs more bike strength. This comes through time on the bike in decent weather doing climbs. It also involves doing workouts on the bike on the indoor trainer with maximum resistance on. Lastly, it involves doing some leg workouts off of the bike such as squats and leg presses. Hopefully, I can get my legs stronger for next year. I also must improve in my endurance on the bike. I have to get to the end of the bike with enough juice left over to do well in the run. I felt like this year I really struggled with how much energy to exert on the bike to allow for a good run. This next year I need to have more endurance which comes from extended times on the bike either outside or on the trainer. I must commit the time.
-Running: I have to continue to improve my pace and lose weight. This aspect of the race is impacted by weight more than any other. I need to lose those 5-10 pounds. I also will be working on my form to make sure I am getting the maximum amount of push off of my legs during the run. I also want to continue to see my pace fall over longer periods of time. I plan on running outside as long as I can stand the cold. I will complete fartlek intervals, and shorter tempo runs during the first part of the week and then attempt longer runs at a certain race pace. I also want to try and do a couple of races this fall of the 5k and half-marathon variety. These races should continue to push me in the run. Last year I was sidelined by a bad cough and cold around Thanksgiving and didn’t get to run for over a month. I cannot have that this year and need to stay healthy.
-Strength Training: I will be doing some basic strength training that will provide some cross training aspects to my triathlon racing. I will be doing the 30 day AB challenge each month to continue to push my core and hopefully get my six pack. I want to do push ups to provide for shoulder strength and lat strength for the swim. I will be doing some curls to provide bicep strength. I want to do some pull-ups for swim strength. I will be doing some wall squats and squats with weights for leg strength. I will be doing some plyometric workouts from the P90X workouts to keep my legs strong. Overall, I want to improve my strength in all areas so that I avoid injury.
-Weight Loss: I have written about this recently, but in summary I weigh around 180 pounds. I need to race around 170. I need to drop those 10 pounds by eating better and avoiding as much sugar. One things that happens to me is that in the winter I do not seem to put in as much work so I gain weight. I hope this will not happen this year by belonging to a gym and continuing to swim, bike, and run regularly. I must weigh less by next season!
The off season will be an exciting time of continued growth in my ability to race. I must push myself even though there is not a race on the calendar. I MUST punish my body to get it to do what I want next year. I have a few months before I race again and these months must count. Next year, I will race my first ironman triathlon and I will be in better shape than I was this year.