Mondays Trip Tip: Approaching the off season correctly.

I just finished my triathlon season this last weekend. I had a great year and I am looking forward to kicking some booty next season. Although the off season can bring some depression and let down it’s a perfect time to relax, work on new techniques, maintain fitness and strength train.  I always thought the off season was for wussies. However, as I learn more about the sport of triathlon I discovered that the off season is what separates the smart athlete from the over achieving athlete. This Monday’s tri tip is dedicated to approaching the off season correctly and wisely.
Throw away your training schedule.
The off season is a time to relax and not be bogged down to any set training schedule. You can enjoy some time to relax without feeling the need to fill every second with a planned workout. Unscheduled workouts can be less stressful, fun and less demanding. The off season provides an opportunity to enjoy new sports without sacrificing the endurance that you worked hard for during race season. Try to do very light workouts in the aerobic training zone without overdoing it. This might be a good time to invest in a heart rate monitor to ensure that you are not working too hard.
Fix what’s not working.
If you can swim 5000 yards during your swim workout that’s great but that does not mean a hill of beans if you cannot swim properly. If you had trouble running or your cycling cadence is low then the offseason was designed for you. Now is the time to work on your mechanics for all three sports. Incorporate drills in all your workouts. Concentrate on sound mechanics and techniques. Figure out what you were doing wrong and study up on improving those skills. It does not matter if you are a beginning triathlete or a seasoned pro we all have areas that need to be improved on.
 You won’t lose fitness, I promise!
If you are running a five minute mile and can maintain that effort for 26.2 miles during the month of January, you’re doing something wrong. Running at this effort takes time and dedication during the season. The off season months are meant for maintaining fitness levels and building endurance with nice long slow efforts. In order to maintain and build fitness you need to take it easy.  If you choose to run, bike, or swim do it at aerobic levels during off season workouts. A triathlete should never engage in demanding efforts year round.
Get strong not buff.
Many triathletes avoid lifting weights because they are afraid of bulking up like the incredible hulk. You would have to put on a significant amount of muscle mass to see numbers like that skyrocket on the scale. However, weight training during the off season is crucial to gain new strength and prevent injury. A triathlete does not have to worry about bulking up if they are using lighter weights at higher reps. the stronger you become the faster and fitter you become. Incorporate several strength training days during the week to maintain proper strength levels. 
Now is a perfect time to adjust to relaxing and enjoying your workouts. If you rest up and gain new strengths and skills you should be ready to take on another season of triathlon. Approaching the off season is crucial to having success in your up coming season.

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