By Sarah Currie, MS RD, USAT Level 1

 

What zone am I in? What’s my cadence? How many calories have I burned so far? I bet I can catch that cyclist in front of me. OH WAIT, I’m not wearing my heart rate monitor! Slight panic sets in before a headwind blast off the Hudson snaps me out of it. Tri season is over. I’m not supposed to be “training.” My therapist said I need to practice simply enjoying my occasional ride to work. Appreciate the views along the Westside highway, gaze at the changing leaves in Riverside Park, ride around the pedestrians with patience rather than anger. OK, I’m not REALLY in therapy for my type-A, rigid, all-or-nothing personality, but I’m sure many of you can relate. Now that we are entering winter, especially in the Northeast, what is your off-season plan going to be?

 

First, review and reflect on this past season. Did you achieve your goals? Are you already itching to start training for next year or are you burned out? Are you injured? These are a few questions to ask yourself when devising your off-season plan. Second, set new goals for next season. Did you lose weight and want to keep it off? Does your swim technique need improving? Can your grandmother bench more than you? Do you need more power on the bike? Third, figure out how to achieve those goals. Should you sign up for a technique class? Should you hit the weight room? Should you hire a Dietitian to help you keep the weight off? Whatever your goals and plan may be, consider the following.

 

Take a break, mentally and physically. Go ahead, be crazy and stay up past 10pm on a Friday or Saturday night! Call your non-triathlon friends whom you’ve ignored the last six months. Go running without a pre-planned distance or pace.

 
Nutrition - Now that your training has decreased, be mindful of what goes in your mouth. You probably don’t need to be eating like you’re in-season. Cut back on portion sizes. Ditch the gels, bars and sports drink. A plain yogurt plus a piece of fruit is fewer calories than a bar and is more filling.
Balance your body - Strengthen your weak areas and stretch your tight areas. Do yoga, Pliates, gyrotonics or lift weights. Move laterally by playing basketball or tennis. Sign up for a dance class.
Take care of injuries - Rest, physical therapy, massage, and body balancing tactics may not be enough. Look into Active Release Technique (ART), Rolfing, or acupuncture if you have some stubborn sore spots.

 

As you plan your off-season, build on last year. Set achievable goals. They don’t have to be extreme. If you haven’t lifted a weight in months, start with one full-body session a week. That will be more than you were doing before!

 

For more information on off-season strategies, consult a Physical Equilibrium USA Triathlon certified coach.