Beating the Winter Blues

author : Endorphin Hub
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It's five months until race season; how will I survive?!

For many athletes across the country, winter is in full swing.  Thankfully, it seems to be a milder one so far (knock on wood!); but with the shorter and darker days, many are forced indoors to get in their training even if the temperatures are mild. These colder and darker days, lack of outdoor training opportunities and fresh air, lead to a slump in many athletes' training programs. 

When you look at your calendar, you realize the season (or your very first triathlon!) doesn't start for another 4 - 5 months, so you start to question how much training should you do and if you are OK to skip a workout here and there. 


Don't fall into the winter blues trap!


It's easy to fall into this way of thinking.  But the reality is; now is the BEST time to get some training in!  First of all, it lets you really break down and challenge your body without the fear of overdoing it right before the race.  More importantly however, it gives you an opportunity to train when your competition is feeling the blues!

Here are a few tips to get thru the next few months and optimally prepare for your next year's season! 


If you are a beginner triathlete: 


If you are doing your very first race next year, start training now!  Just because your race isn't for 5 months; doesn't mean you procrastinate until 2 weeks before your big test!  Take the time this winter to: 



  • Work on your form (swim, bike & running!)

  • Get in the gym and build some strength - start off easy with proper form

  • Get in some overall training time ... after all, you are new, so build up your endurance! 

  • Did I already say work on your form?

  • Spend time with your family!  Your new to the sport; don't overlook this important aspect of your new lifestyle. Trust me, come warmer and longer days you'll be away from them!  

  • Be consistent and log your training.  You can use BT's training log; a notepad or any other on-line training source.  But get into the habit of recording what you do.  You can't improve what you don't measure.  


If you are an experienced athlete: 


You've been racing for years now, and your next race isn't until the spring.  You still need to train this winter!  First, you don't want to lose those fitness gains you've made during the course of your racing season!  And secondly, you want to continue to build your fitness, work on any limiters and get your fitness on track some race day!  Some tips for you: 



  • Check yourself (before you wreck yourself).  Go get a massage, see a chiropractor or physical therapists.  If you've had any nagging issues this season, go get them checked out before you make it worse! 

  • Work on form (all three sports!)

  • Work on any limiters.  Swimming is your weakness?  Spend an extra day or two in the pool this winter and make some gains! 

  • Get in the gym and build some strength.  Your body and finish times will thank you next season. 

  • Catch up with your family!  Training and racing all season can take it's toll on the family, get some mental R&R and play some board games! 

  • Do something different.  If it's snowing by you, try some cross country skiing or snowshoeing.  If you are by the beach, how about some stand up paddle boarding.  Try a new sport, even just once a week to break up the pattern of S-B-R (swim-bike-run) all year.  


Make a plan!   "Those who fail to plan, plan to fail"


Lastly, make a plan for your next season!  Start out with your race day, and work your way backwards through today.  Work with a coach, or do the homework yourself, but make a plan.  Think about the limiters you want to work on, and schedule in some fitness tests over the winter to keep you honest.

Do these tricks, and you'll be on your way to a great new year!  


Tony Zamora is a USA Triathlon-certified coach who coaches athletes throughout the world as Founder & head coach of TZCoaching, an online endurance sports coaching proram based in northern Los Angeles.


 

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date: January 30, 2016

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