As the season winds down, some athletes feel lost. These athletes want to keep training and racing because they had so much fun over the summer. Other athletes are physically and mentally drained. These athletes are tired and need a break.
If you are finished (or near finished) with your last event of the season and you are looking for some ideas about what to do next, check out the list that follows:
- If you have been following a structured training plan, take a break from the structure. Take one to two days off per week, for two to four weeks, and only workout when you feel like it. Stay aerobically fit, but keep all the workouts easy.
- Spend time with your training and racing support team. How about spending time with them doing something that is not focused on your racing? Also spend time with people that care about you, but don't get to spend much time with you in the summer months.
- Try a new skill. Take some lessons and expand your knowledge base. How about yoga, golf, rock climbing, dance, singing, play an instrument, learn to paint or sculpt, ride a horse or racquetball? The possibilities are endless. This new skill might even help your racing next season.
- Read something that is not triathlon or training related. Expand your breadth of knowledge.
- Get your bike to the shop for a total overhaul. I mean the "big" overhaul—the kind where the entire bike is taken apart, cleaned, greased and worn parts are replaced.
- Do you need a new bike? With next year's models flowing into shops within the next few weeks, this year's models are or soon will be on sale. Do you want the latest and greatest for next season or a hot deal? The same concept goes for running shoes and swim suits—there are great deals on closeout inventory.
- Go to the closet, give your favorite clothes the sniff test and throw out all the clothes that stink. I mean all those jerseys, shirts, tanks and jackets that have armpits permanently marked with odor-de-you. Think you are exempt from this problem? Unless you have been using one the new sports detergents on the market made to remove athletic body odors, such as Win, I suspect you are more stimulating to olfactory tracts than you know.
- Be a mentor. Help someone, young or not-so-young, get started in the sport of triathlon.
- Clean and organize your personal spaces. This includes the car that transports you to events and training sessions, the space that stores your bicycle, your work space, clothing storage areas and equipment storage areas. Are there items you can donate to others?
- Closely examine all water bottles and drinking systems. The drinking tubes should be clear—not brown, green, pink or black. (I'm not kidding, I've seen all of these colors in athletes' drinking systems.) If your hydration systems are now biology projects, or you can scrap "stuff" off the system, either clean or replace them.
Enjoy this off-season and take care of items that were neglected while you were busy training and racing. When it's time to get started on a routine again, you'll be physically and mentally ready.
Gale Bernhardt was the 2003 USA Triathlon Pan American Games and 2004 USA Triathlon Olympic coach for both the men's and women's teams. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's pre-built, easy-to-follow training plans. For more information, click here. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.