Summer is over, and for many of us so is triathlon season. Your next race could be six months away or more!
Motivation is defined as "the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose".
Many triathletes are deciding what to do in the next few months. In late September, I listened to a podcast by Adam Carolla during which he interviewed Olympic swimming gold medalist Natalie Coughlin. I was surprised to find out that she has not trained in the pool since the Beijing games over one year ago, even though she is planning to compete in the London Olympics in 2012!
That gives a good perspective on the need for a break, even at that high a level of competition. Think about focusing on just one discipline, or doing something else to stay in shape for a while until the next race. The shift in focus can bring on a welcomed new perspective when you get back to serious training.
However, though a break from swim, bike, and run is a good thing, complacency is not.
So what's the plan?
For swimming, it's simple. Focus on these three things this offseason, and you will come in strong next year for spring and early-summer races:
Drills - What else? It's not as crucial during this time to train hard and get as much pool time, but getting in and practicing drills will set you up for an easier time when your real training starts.
Long Slow Distance (LSD) - This will allow you to build endurance as well as focus on your stroke technique.
Yoga and/or Weights - When you are training for a race, it often becomes difficult to squeeze in the all-important strength workouts. Yoga can help you gain strength in your core and improve your flexibility, two things that are vital to triathlon racing.
When you are swimming, running, and biking to get in shape for your race, trying to make gains in the gym is nearly impossible. Now is the perfect time to revisit your goals in this area.
Within each of these three areas, make sure you are setting goals. So for drills, it may be executing several drills with precision. For distance, it may be doing a certain number of laps or yards straight through with no breaks. And for yoga or weights, there are all kinds of mini-goals you can challenge yourself with.
Whatever you do, enjoy the next couple of months, but try not to lose your motivation—or you might lose yourself!
Kevin coaches sessions for Masters swimming and triathletes in San Diego, and conducts a variety of clinics, private lessons and video-analysis of personal swim style with critique and correction. He has helped professional Ironman triathletes reach their goal, but his passion is to give the new triathlete the confidence to be successful in the swim portion of the race. He also runs the websites www.triswimcoachonline.com and www.triswimcoach.com, where you can find his products, including The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD and The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming.