Four smart ways to stay focused and get the most out of your winter
By coach Em Quinn
As much as we try to deny it for as long as possible, it is inevitable, winter is here (for those on the southern part of the globe)! We have gone from from 5am sunrises and 6pm sunsets, to dark mornings, cold temperatures and shorter days. On mornings when we use to bounce out of bed and be out the door in a flash, the warmth of bed becomes even more appealing as the cooler months settle in. For us here in the land down under, the months of June, July and August also bring with them an absence from triathlon racing (although I swear every year the season gets just a little bit longer). Many individuals often struggle for motivation, lack of goals and sometimes generally feel uneasy about what the next few months have installed. We have trained and raced so hard over the spring, summer and autumn and now what?
In my experience, off season brings about so many positives it is hard to crunch them all into one blog, so I have tried to summaries what I feel are some importance elements to carry with you into winter 2017.
Often of most importance, have a bit of a rest. Usually the most overlooked element of endurance performance is recovery and ultimately this has an enormous impact upon longevity in this sport is rest! Active recovery can be factored into a well-tailored program, so you won’t go completely insane by the thought of “doing nothing”.
According to traditional periodisation, the off season is a time to go back to basics and year after year this is where your aerobic endurance and strength will develop. Generally, intensity over these months may be replaced with easy volume work, the track may be replaced by the trails and the pool with the ocean or dam (with a wet suit of course). Hitting up different training venues and mixing things up over the next few months will not only benefit an athlete physiologically it often also provides a new love for swimming, riding and running, provides the opportunity to mingle with new people or run/ride with those you may not usually join as well as mentally refresh and re-energize the mind and body for the pending season of competitive racing.
I often find that having some goals over the off season can be a perfect way to make the cooler months fly past. From the months of May to September one doesn’t have to travel far to find a 10km race, half marathon or full marathon. Running races are a perfect opportunity to stay motivated and energized over winter as well as having a goal to tick off to keep ourselves sain. Often Athletics Australia will also hold local cross country meets throughout each state, these can be a great challenge to your training and also a family affair as racing can start from as young as 2 (and yes I have looked into this and have Cooper’s name to stay competing in July :)). As well as running events, the cycling world is also expanding and across Australia there are a number of 100-160km riding events which can be a great way again to build some endurance and strength and again have a bit of fun whilst still maintaining some quality. As far as ocean swims over the cooler months, they are a little harder to find, but an afternoon dam swim or ocean dip can be a great way to stay familiar with the open water as well as integrate a recovery swim into your tailored plan.
Lastly, this time of the year can be great time to start planning next season. Start setting some new benchmarks. goals and bucket list to do races. We are usually creatures of habit and love being in control and having a black and white plan to follow. The upcoming months can be a great time of the year to sit down with your coach and chat about future goals and plans, perhaps what was once impossible may now be possible. Dream big as we only have one shot at this life :)
I hope that the winter treats you well and that the cooler months offer some quality sessions in the pool, on the bike and on two legs. They key to endurance sporting success and longevity is consistency and quality, so utilize your time well, enjoy some higher volume and lower intensity sessions as well as embrace the opportunity to wear some sweet and stylish winter gear ;)
Happy training, until next time….. Coach Em.
Want to know more about Coach Em? Check her out HERE