A full season of triathlon can just hammer your body. The endless hours of training, the strict nutrition, and the mental challenges can break even the most well prepared athletes down.
So, given this idea, the need to recognize a few critical points about how to handle your off-season seems appropriate. If you want your body and mind to recover and be ready for the next cycle of training and competing, you must understand that the off-season needs to be something different than just a watered down version of the season itself.
Keep in mind that repetition often creates excellent habits and it is generally how an athlete improves skill; however, a repetitious lifestyle that has little variety and less rest can damage anyone.
The four tips below offer you a chance to recharge the proverbial batteries and get yourself in a place where you can truly feel refreshed and excited about putting your body through the grueling yet satisfying season that is to come.
1. Reflect: Not in the least bit physical, spending time reflecting on the process is important. This does not mean looking at your personal bests and seeing how your transitions need to be quicker next year if you are to break any records. Instead, examine how the competition and training impacted you as a person. Did you change? Did you miss out on things you loved as a result of the dedication to the sport? Are you happy with who you are right now? Delve deeply into the psychological side of what you have done and what your life has become. Triathlon is a wonderfully rewarding sport, but it takes a certain sacrifice to be successful. Make sure you are at peace with life. If not, make the needed adjustments before the next season so that you can achieve a true balance between sport and life.
2. Experience freedom: Calorie counting and carbo-loading is unnecessary. Eat the foods you want and live life in a more flexible manner. The rigidity it takes sometimes to get your body in shape is considerably restricting, so the off-season should represent a time where you can revisit some of the things you loved to do before you were bitten by the triathlon bug. Relax, sleep in on the weekends, and avoid putting your race belt on. Life a major league baseball player who ends the season and spends the next four weeks playing golf, you need to do something else.
3. Do other sports: Swim, bike, run…and then do it again. That is your pattern, and for good reason. But now that the next race is a season away, try the other sports you once loved. Play basketball or tennis. Pick up rollerblading or hiking. Do any venture that allows you to maintain your athleticism, keep your blood pumping, but does not involve a transition or stripping off a wetsuit. If you have to put body glide on before doing it, you should be doing it in the off-season.
4. Educate yourself: Spend time reading about the sport or watching videos. They can be professional highlight tapes or articles about anything triathlon. Just keep your mind active and learning. No good athlete completely walks away from his passion. Instead, he manages to provide himself variety within life while finding small ways to stay intimately involved with his love. You should use the time to broaden your knowledge so that when you begin to create your schedule and training plan for the next season, you do so with as much intelligence and information as possible.