Where Did My Endorphins Go?

Well it’s here, the dreaded end of my Triathlon season. I will not be racing again until I take the starting line at Ironman 70.3 in April 2012. I have one more race this weekend. I like to finish the season with a small sprint event. Towards the end of the season I am wreck, sore beaten up, and tired. If my feet could speak I am sure they would have a few choice words for me.
One thing for sure, that I do not look forward to, is the dreaded off season blues. Come Monday I will wonder around my house like a lost dog. I will make up some excuse to get in a workout though. My favorite excuse is to convince my wife that I need to “maintain fitness”. It does not matter how hard she to tries to get me to chill I find a way somehow to train.
I guess this is the part of the year that most triathletes put on a lot of weight sit around and on occasion go for a walk. Others though continue to sneak in a few hard work outs now and then.  Either way, it’s a known fact that many athletes who train hard during the season will experience some kind of short term depression during the off season months. Weeks of dedicated training and sticking to a plan can become habit forming. When there are no more races to train for the habit or training routine is broken and it’s normal to feel blue.
Endorphins, those tiny little chemicals that swim around your body making you feel happy also take an off season break. This in turn has the potential to do wierd things to us athletes.  Some examples may include, in women (or in some cases men) random crying for no reason, late night binges on captain crunch followed by Ice cream, a few “extra” beers on the weekend, random crying followed by laughing, spontaneous head slams against a wall, talking to your bike like it’s a real person (my bike's name is Cindy), dusting off your running shoes as if you are going to run but never do, eating gels for dinner and buying new gear even though you do not need it.
So here is the deal. I am going to try to relax a little bit more this off season. Perhaps 20 mile ride instead of 60. Maybe 30-40 minutes in the pool not an hour in half and maybe a short run here and there. I will try to be less disciplined about nutrition and splurge on occasion. I am even considering trying to sleep in more on the weekends and do a light work out later in the day. I may consider enjoying another sport in the meanwhile.  I will try to relax more but I can’t promise anything.  I find myself every year trying to do this but I am such a failure, oh well.
The good news however, training for the Ironman 70.3 is right around the corner and this keeps me somewhat sane for 16 weeks until I take on another season of racing for those struggling with clubfoot deformity.

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