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Relax, it's the off season.

The next few months are a time of holidays and time with family and friends.  It is the time to celebrate 2017, NOT be in top shape and lay a foundation for a great 2018 season!

Relax

You should train over the next few months, but in a very different way from how you train when close to a key race.  Your training volume should be manageable with everything else in your life right now.  Do some fun events with no outcome goals……a swim event at your local pool, a Holiday 5K, or a cycling event at your gym.  Now is a great time to participate in activities triathlon training make difficult to fit in: hiking, a group exercise class, golf, etc.

Don’t go crazy with your eating, but enjoy!  If you are coming off of a busy Ironman racing season and you are super lean, you probably should gain a few pounds. 

Technique

Have someone film you swimming, biking or running and get feedback on your technique, by someone that knows what they are doing that works in the field. Small (or big) changes can lead to big results. For example, correcting muscle recruitment in your pedal stroke, running stride length, or head position while swimming can immediately improve efficiency and speed.  Furthermore, proper technique provides the foundation for injury prevention.

Strength

The winter is a great time to hit the gym for a total body strength regime.  The main goals should be to correct muscle imbalances and encourage tendon strength.

Be a Swimmer, Cyclist or Runner only (almost) for awhile

Dedicating specific blocks during your training to focus on your weak sport can pay big dividends.  At the beginning of 2018, take 2-6 weeks and make your weak sport your most frequented. The exception to this is if you are working on your running in an Ironman, this doesn’t mean run a bunch of marathons in the off season in preparation for Ironmans.  That is a good way to get injured.  But, you can do some shorter, technique focused runs more frequently and some shorter races to provide a bump in your performance.  When doing a focus block, do the other disciplines at least 2 times a week, even if the sessions are brief.

Consider a rose. For a rose bush to get better every year, it has to be pruned right after it blooms it's most beautiful.  Whenever I do this to the rose bushes in my yard, it feels wrong!  They are big and beautiful and I'm chopping the branches!  But, if you don't, the rose bush becomes gnarly and blooms less and less.  YOUR fitness works the same way!  It is physically impossible to keep getting fitter and fitter without a period of pulling back.   For some of you this is harder than other, but trust the science behind it.

~Dawn English is a coach with OutRival Racing and has been coaching for 10 years.  She been a triathlete since 1999, and enjoys fitting in triathlon alongside her family and work.

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