It’s 6 weeks to Christmas and many of the 2016 triathlons are over. You know there will be a lull in training over the school holidays when the little ones demand more of your attention, you are away from home or you have eaten too many Christmas treats to contemplate a hard training session. In fact, your next scheduled triathlon is 5 months away. So you are tempted to just take a break from all the hard work and early mornings. What could you be doing in this off-season to prepare yourself fully for a successful, injury free 2017 triathlon season?
Why you should be using December and January to prepare you for 2017
6-8 weeks off training of any kind can derail the 2017 season completely. You will be left with too much to catch up on when the festivities are over and perhaps start too hard and injure yourself in the attempt to put in all those km and laps that were not covered during December and January. Worse still you may have found the decrease in activity was not mirrored by a decrease in eating and those excess kilos will be hard to shake even when you return to training. And even for the non competitive amongst you – it will be hard seeing someone you beat easily in 2016 steam past you in the first race you undertake in 2017. You want to start 2017 highly motivated and strong.
How to use December and January most effectively to prepare for your 2017 triathlon season.
- Reduce your load from the peak you have been undertaking. This will allow your body to recuperate and undergo much needed maintenance whilst ensuring your motivation levels remain high
- Maintain a steady training output – perhaps 2/3 of what you were doing reducing both the number and intensity of sessions
- Focus on your weakest element and use this opportunity to brush up on skills. Perhaps you hate open water swimming? Then find a group who will swim with you in the ocean 2-3 mornings a week followed by a coffee. If the bike leg has never been your strongest then shift some sessions around to allow for 2-3 decent bike rides per week dropping other stronger elements to make room for more bike km. And if swim technique is your downfall then ask for a number of adult swim classes from Santa.
- Utilise this time to do something differently that you would not dare change in the competitive season. One example might be a uni-lateral swimmer – you know, breathes every 2 strokes and only on one side. It’s tricky to change this as a competition nears but now is your perfect opportunity to attempt bi-lateral breathing. If you still feel like you are drowning then decrease the intensity of the session to allow you to incorporate bi-lateral breathing every lap.
- Aim to start the new season at your optimal weight for your size. And yes, I know it’s Christmas in-between! What this means in reality is be sensible NOW with what you eat and drink so that you get to Christmas as close as possible to your optimum. Then enjoy Christmas because, after all you have enjoyed all the extras and parties BUT hit the diet hard in January to get to February at your best possible weight, fat mass and lean muscle mass. There are sensible eating plans that can still facilitate weight loss whilst providing sufficient fuel for training and muscle building. Fit and Fabulous is offering a Festive Waistline Mastery Plan to ensure you do not blob out over Christmas!
- Be social in your training! Many triathletes train alone at odd times of the day. See if you can negotiate time with friends over the holiday season to mix it up and ensure you are still enjoying yourself. A social run whilst talking can be as challenging as an interval session alone!
- Find a coach or change coach. If you have not been getting the results you want then perhaps its time to recruit the support of a new coach who will challenge you in different ways and hold you accountable to your chosen goals. If you are need of some motivation or a push then inquire about our Focus Fit Coaching plans.
- Ask Santa for a new bike or a new training watch! Better still get him to bring you a power wind trainer and aim for some high tech indoor training sessions in 2017.
- Set a goal that motivates and inspires you. If you are approaching 2017 with a feeling of deja-vu then shake it up a bit and set a new audacious yet inspirational goal. If you have previously focused only on Sprint distance, maybe this is the year to move up to Olympic? If you have only ever done a team event then use your new Santa bike to push you into signing up for the whole thing. Go on – let 2017 be your year.
You will know you spent your festive holiday season wisely when early in 2017 you set a new PB for a 1500m swim, easily cycle up the steepest hill on your favourite bike ride or blast your first park run back. You will increase your overall training levels easily without injury and your races will all feel more enjoyable than those in 2016.
Good luck! Train sensibly and enjoyably.
If you know of a novice triathlete (you know – the person that always looks wistful when you tell them of your sporting conquests) then get them inspired to have a go at a triathlon in 2017. Our webinar “Clawing Back the Years with a Triathlon” will surely help in early December – sign them up for it today! And if you are short on motivation and ideas for how to train over December and January then perhaps our Festive Exercise Plan, tailored to your own needs, will help. Check it out today!
Liz is a personal lifestyle transformation and sports coach specialising in helping Mum’s re-define themselves. She brings an Oxford degree in Biochemistry, 20+ years business consulting, hundreds of triathlons, ocean swims, running races as well as representing Great Britain to her coaching. In 2016, Liz became an IronMum transforming her food, attitudes and body to complete the toughest endurance triathlon.