Thursday, November 8, 2012

What my "off season" looks like

"Off season" can vary greatly from person to person and there's no single roadmap. I guess it depends on how beat up we are from racing, the other demands of life, and preference. Some people (i.e. me) want a little more structure, some prefer little to none.

I really don't know how most people do their off season. I figured I'd share what mine looks like because I'm curious what it is for others.

The first week and a half was wide open. I swam once, biked twice, ran twice, and hit the gym twice, but it was all fun and low intensity, and several of those days I did nothing workout-y. Coach Jim and I met during that time and reviewed the year, looked at my Training Peaks data to date, and talked generally about the approach moving forward - the training balance among the three sports, volume, and goals for 2013. We'll meet again and talk specifics early next year.

Off-season does not mean a cessation of training. It means training with lower volume (right now at about 2/3 of what it was), more flexibility, and no need for race-specificity. By that I mean, there's no work at dialed-in paces (i.e. 1 mile at 6:20 pace) or defined intervals right now. There's still quality interval-like work, but it's in the form of things like running "ups" (tempo) and "downs" (recovery).  Training still has structure (which I prefer/need) but it has opened up quite a bit.

Off-season also means:
  1. More FUNctional training - biking and running as transportation to get somewhere
  2. A return to some trail running
  3. Riding the road bike
  4. Adding legs back into the strength training routine. I had stopped last February with my hip injury and never resumed since I was racing well and frankly it scared me to mess with that.
  5. Rehabbing the shoulder that has not been great for probably a year 
  6. Enjoying other sports - hopefully some skiing/snowboarding with the kids and hiking
  7. Sleeping more (maybe)
Off-season means a chunk of my brain has cleared out, leaving more room to think about other things. That's been both good and bad. My poor boss...I've had this incoming rush of "good ideas" that I really need to filter and organize rather than just doing the impulse Skype IM blurts throughout the day.

Off-season means doing those things that I so easily justified procrastinating for months and months because it was "Race Season." For instance, yesterday I:
  • took the compact fluorescent bulbs to be recycled (the ones that have been in my car for four months)
  • picked up my kid's teeth molds from last spring to take to the soon-to-be orthodontist
  • ironed the white pants and eyelet shirt that I wore early summer, washed, and never wore again because they needed to be ironed for the last many months.

Off-season means more family focus and getting ready for the holidays. And starting on the jigsaw puzzles that await us, unopened. Soon. Very soon. Bring on those snow days!!

Off-season means the diet relaxes some. I managed to pack on a few pounds in New Zealand and the kids and I will do a good bit of holiday cookie baking next month, so in and around that I'll stick to my normal eating to keep things in check. But for sure there will be an allowance for cookies, and wine, and chocolate....

So that's how things look for me. How about you?