Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Top 10 Things I'll Do This Offseason

10. Do not confuse "Off-Season" with "Taco Bell". This week, for instance - this one week - I'm eating for the enjoyment of it, whatever I want. But y'know, if I can go ahead and not gain my usual 10% or so, so that I'm having to first lose weight before getting serious about performance once real training begins again, that'd be suuuuuper. Part of having higher aspirations for myself next year and in '09 is living like it. No reason I can't stay consistently active all year 'round, even when not engaged in the full OCD of "training".

9. As Rich Strauss says - "take the next month off, just don't get fat." I'm going to do a few active things I've been wanting to do that otherwise don't really fit into a structured training schedule. This will allow me to take a break, without totally uninvolving myself. Also, I'm really excited about these things, so the benefits of actually "training" in the course of them will be almost secondary and accidnetal - I won't feel like I'm training. Starting with:

8. Ride my mountain bike more. I have a trail picked out about an hour east of here for the weekend that I'm going to hit. I'm really excited about it.

7. Learn to rollerblade. I think Jack would think that was pretty sweet, and it looks like fun. A thousand years ago I rocked the rollerskates (picture it...) and even ice skates pretty well, so hopefully it'll all come back to me.

6. Join a Masters swim class. I talked to the woman at the pool about it just yesterday. An added benefit is that the class is twice weekly, at, like, 5:30am or some silly thing. That would hurt, but would also I think instill some discipline that I'd appreciate. Besides, I may be looking for early morning and late evening workouts more often now with the major changes ahead (see No. 1). The swim is still my biggest limiter (though I have to say after this summer, the disparity between it and the other 2 disciplines isn't nearly as huge as it used to be - or at least it doesn't seem to be.) Training through it this winter with discpline will be a good thing for me.

5. I learned a lot after Ironman and training for a winter marathon afterwards and the injury etc. about where the edge of burnout is for me. It was a good lesson - I want to approach that edge, but be smart enough to know when to back off of it. Base training for next summer's Half Iron starts for me in October. I'll treat that base as "fun" triathlon-centric training for the first several weeks, without being all OCD about it. If I get too serious too early, I'll burn out by summertime. I want to avoid that.

4. Continue developing speed in all three disciplines - even this offseason, I'll be looking for ways to strengthen my legs and core, and when on the bike will be throwing in intervals, etc.

3. Get really, really disciplined, especially for the next 8-12 weeks, about strength training, stretching, and yoga. There is a direct relationship between my improved swim this season and my stronger left side. I'm an idiot not to continually work on these things. Alas, they lack for me the glimmer of getting on my bike or heading out for a run, but they're important and now's the time to be real about them.

2. Be strategic about my race schedule next year. I'll plug in a few runs this fall, and I'm yet to really define next season's schedule, but it has to be the right mix of fun and fast and hard and difficult. All through my Ironman '06 training, all my HIM distance races were experiments and experiences - I've never "raced" the distance. Nor have I ever raced a marathon or a 13.1. My early season Sprints were just to kick-start the season, knock out the cob-webs. My Olympic races - which I haven't done a true Olympic since...geez, August of '05 (my one Oly in '06 was shortened due to heat) - has not been done with refinement and strategy. I still have so much to learn, but am so much better a triathlete now than before Ironman. I want to revisit all the distances with a plan, a goal, a purpose. Not to always go all out and try and blow the doors off - there will still be races where the purpose is to explore and experiment. But nothing's alien to me anymore, and I want to use that to my advantage.

1. HAVE A KID! Yeah, so we're about 7 and 1/2 weeks away from gametime over here. As my sister said to me, "You're at a place now where literally one day you don't have a kid, and the next day you do." Which sounds pretty obvious, but if you wrap your mind around that truth, it's pretty insane. I'm so excited to meet this little person I can hardly stand it, but I also want her to stay in there for as long as she wants. Amy's getting pretty uncomfortable now, and is looking forward to having her body back. And it's becoming one of those things where the fun in talking about it is waning - enough talk, let's DO this thing! Most of the details are completed - her room is ready, the necessities are mostly taken care of, all the things so that "if she showed up tonight", she'd have a comfortable home to live in. Still, there's more stuff I'd like taken care of, just things around here, even not yet taken care of from the move, and I'll try and nail that stuff down in the coming weeks.

Of course, once the kid comes I expect changes and interruptions to training, and that's fine. I spent quite a few times this summer getting out for a workout even when I was exhausted or hadn't had enough sleep, just to familiarize my body with it. I'm not worried about any of that, though - the game obviously takes a backseat when it needs to, and so it will be. But part of Becoming again is to do it this time with these new and exciting things in my life, not in spite of them. If I'm going to Become Ironman again, then I'll be responsible for figuring all of that out along the way. It won't be hard, I don't think, to keep perspective - nothing so amazing as new life, after all. So says I.


Steve S. said...

Taco Bell! TACO BELL!!! That's MY off-season!...

marathon2tri said...

My wife and I have two young kids and I have just finished training for my first HIM (racing this Sunday) after being inspired by your and Erin's blogs. In some ways, having my family responsibilities helped focus my training efforts - - - sure I missed a bunch of workouts when more important (read kids) things arose, but that taught me to focus and use the workouts I had. Each provided needed mental relief from the other - - it's tough to worry about my sore hamstring when changing a diaper at 2 am and conversely it's hard to worry about whether I closed the diaper pail when I am pushing a 10 mile run in Zone 4.
Balance in all things . . . .

Jason said...

Definitely a plan.

xt4 said...

Awesome perspective marathon2tri - I really appreciate what you had to say. I'm glad you checked in!

PS - Erin's blog is awesome, totally inspiring -

PSS - keep me posted on how your HIM goes, and best of luck!!!!