Thursday, December 26, 2013

Off Seasons Fun!

Off Season!!  So this is a bit late, my off season officially came to an end a week ago :p

A time to let the body relax, gain a few pounds and let the mind turn to jelly after a year of obsessing thinking about training and racing.  This year I met some of my hero's, figured out I don't suck at triathlon, raced in 6 countries and became an Ironman.

This would be my first planned off season...planned being the key word.  Since I got into running about 2 years ago the only time off I have had was when I fractured my pelvis...5 never ending months off from a misdiagnosed injury.  Since then it has been a whorl wind of running races which turned into triathlon that lead to Ironman.

Ok time off.  Its been an intense year and I was definitely ready for some down time.  I think more mentally than anything.  I hadn't been able to train to the level I was before moving to Denver so the body didn't feel too bad but the head needed a rest.  I'm also taking some time off being coached at the moment, just playing things by feel.  I will absolutely be knocking down Lucho's door when I have my next "A" race on the schedule, he got me to a level of fitness I did not think possible!

I've heard all this talk about off season, how important it is, how you should work on the hard stuff, but should just do the things you like, gain weight, but not gain weight, don't train at all, but train your weakness, eat whatever junk you want, but try to get into healthy eating habits for the coming season.   The usual confusion that comes from so many differing styles and opinions.  So here I was on the plane ride home from Nevis thinking, "What now?"

Usually I don't have to think too much, there is always a plan laid out for each day, but now coachless and raceless I had no idea what to do with myself.  I got into a little bit of a post race season funk.  After such an intense race season it was like coming down from an adrenaline high.

So I did the only logical thing I head on over to coach Google to try to figure out what this off season is all about, and figured out what I want to do.

Off Season Plan:

1) Indulge - mm that box of chocolates looks good...

2) Work on my glaringly obvious weakness the swim

3) No Running

4) Try some new stuff unrelated to triathlon

5) Bike when I feel like it

Off Season Plan Results

1) Indulge - you cant go wrong with this one, lots off yumminess

2)   Tried something new with the swim, if I'm honest with myself I merely survived the workouts all year, there was no attention to detail or the level of focus needed to improve my swim.  So cutting the workouts down to 2000-2500yds and swimming 5-6 times a week.  Plan was the shorter workouts would help me stay focussed instead of losing interest and just flailing like I've done all year.  It definitely worked, in the last month I've taken almost 10 seconds off per 100yds in the last month.  Thats the same amount I took off all year last year.  So I'm not a hopeless swimmer as I previously believed there is hope if I can just stay focussed and learn to suffer in the swim like I enjoy doing on the bike and run.

3) No running, while more extreme then I would want I cut the run completely.  I started getting pain just above the arch of my foot about 3 weeks before Miami (same time I got the new bike).  So I wanted to nip it in the bud and get rid of it.  After 3 weeks of not running I was still feeling the pain when I tried a short run back and my calves were still rock solid tight.  Turns out it was the bike fit causing the problem, I had my seat slammed forward on my last bike because the frame was too big, so I got used to riding like that and it puts very little demand on my calves, well the new bike was set up "properly" and put a hell of a lot of demand on my calves.  Usually I would go back to the bike shop for a 2nd fit to get it sorted out but my little truck died so I haven't been able to get up to Boulder.  I started fiddling with the fit, I eventually got it to a more similar position to what I had before.  What a difference, a week later I went for a 5 mile run zero pain or discomfort and its all been good since then.  Well good except I am so horribly unfit on the run!  I have to keep reminding myself I used to like running :p

4) I had so much fun mixing it up.  Right now I live right across the street from my gym so I went crazy trying out different classes.  Zumba, Hot Yoga and Muay Thai, replaced swim/bike/run.  What I learned is I have zero rhythm, the flexibility of a cyclist (I dont think the yoga teacher meant that as a compliment) and a lot of aggression :p  It was a blast.  As a result I will be continuing the Yoga classes, I actually found one I liked that is challenging, with a little of the yoga mentality but not so much that there is a zen overload.  I also got back into strength training, my favorite!  It's Strength training that helped me lose all the weight and where I feel most comfortable, lifting heavy stuff and putting it right back down where I found it (sounds productive eh?).

5) Turns out I like biking a couple times a week, I didn't have any planned workouts, if I felt like biking I would go for it.  I did a complete 180 from my training all year.  Instead of an Ironman focus on volume nothing but short and intense workouts.  I forgot what zone 4 & 5 felt like!  I definitely struggle with the top end, having trouble getting my HR that high to start.  Once in a while would randomly log into the MaccaX app, choose a bike workout and go hard as Macca coached me through my headphones.  I'm going to keep using these the next 2 months, mix it up before I go back to volume and work a little more on the top end.

I figured out when to end my off season when I started really itching for some solid training.  I found the number of workouts creeping up, the bike rides were getting more frequent, and I just wanted to start going hard again. That was about a week ago and I'm loving it.  Its bizarre trying to write my own plan, I have to hold myself back as I come back to fitness (not my strong point).  I'm having trouble realising that I'm not as fit as I was before Ironman and I need to adjust accordingly.  I made the mistake of looking at a week of workouts about 6 months ago, pretty sure I would die if I attempted that right now!

Time to get my head back in the game, and figure out what I am doing next season.


Switching it up, not looking like a sweaty triathlete :p

Drinks with friends and Ironman recaps are an off season must!

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