You did it! You crossed your last triathlon finish line of the season. Whether you built up to your "A" race, or tapered off with one last sprint before winter, it's normal to feel restless and even a tad depressed as you head into the offseason. After all, you've spent the last several weeks, months or even year building your fitness, ticking off workouts, and meticulously planning your schedule to make sure you accomplished everything you wanted.
There were probably times in the middle of your training block when you couldn't wait until the last race was finished and you could sleep in on the weekends. But after a few lazy recovery weekends, you might start to experience a little post-race madness.
For some people, post-race madness often leads to an unfocused and overly strenuous training regimen, which can make you more susceptible to illness and injury. Other athletes stop exercising altogether, setting themselves up for some long inroads to make once they start building their base again for another race.
The key is to stay sane, healthy and energized through the offseason to set yourself up for the best racing season possible next year.
Reduce Duration, Maintain Intensity
Now is not the time to knock out 100-mile rides or 15-mile runs just for the heck of it. You'll be much better off if you focus on shorter, more intense work. Start attending a regular indoor cycling class to improve your heart rate reserve and power output. Instead of long, slow runs, focus on hour-long tempo runs where you hold a target pace for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. By doing this, you can improve your efficiency, speed and power without unnecessary miles and fatigue.
Focus on Your Weakest Leg
Have you wanted to improve your swim but had trouble finding the extra time? That's the beauty of the offseason: You have all the time you need now. For the best results, spend six weeks focusing on whatever part of the race you struggle with. If it's swimming, join a Masters team or commit to your practices four times a week. If you can afford it, take some one-on-one lessons with a coach to improve your stroke, or get a video analysis of your swimming so you know what to work on.
Whatever your weakest leg is, the same two rules apply: Join a sports-specific team and emphasize technique above all else. Running 50 miles a week poorly won't get you any faster. Running 25 miles a week while working on tempo, efficiency and mechanics will.