You’ve just spent a season pushing your body to its limits, so think of the off-season as a time of recovery. While it’s a period within the annual plan to take both a mental and physical break from the focus and intensity of the past few months, it’s also an opportunity to set long-term goals, note any weaknesses and take steps to improve in those areas.
Refine your SBR skills
How effective is your swim stroke? Does your running form need tweaking? Are you pedaling efficiently? Most coaches don’t like to introduce major technique changes during the season because you often take a few steps backward before the big performance gain comes. The off-season is the time to work on refining technique and form.
Change body composition
The off-season is also a time to hit the weight room to gain lean muscle mass, or to increase strength in any areas you are lacking. If you’ve put on a few pounds, it’s easier to lose weight now rather than at the height of competition. If your dietary habits need an overhaul, use this time when you have a reduced training load, which could mean more free time to test nutritious recipes and come up with some “go-to” meals you can whip up in the busier months.
Continue to work on core strength and stability and exercises to address any muscle imbalances or lingering injuries. A lot of triathletes have restricted range of motion, so I also recommend exercises that address mobility, especially in the hip flexors, ankles and shoulders.
Rediscover your life balance
As triathletes, we have driven personalities, and sometimes that means our lives get out of balance. Use this time to evaluate your own situation. Did any aspect of your life suffer as you focused on training last year? Take this time to reconnect and nurture important relationships.
Up the fun factor
Don’t forget that triathlon is supposed to be fun. Schedule a workout with friends you don’t normally train with or try out that new group class that didn’t fit into your structured training plan.
The off-season sets the foundation for a successful year. Take some time to recover, and then begin working on those small details that will give you big gains for 2017!
Kim Peek is a triathlon coach based in Kansas City with certifications from USAT, USATF, Newton, Lydiard and RRCA. Her website is Powerofrun.com.