The “Off” Season

This has been shamelessly taken from the very enlightening and entertaining blog of Chuckie V.  He once raced here in Springfield back in the mid-90s.  He was just as funny back then, only with better hair.  The below excerpt is very pertinent to the foursome in the most recent podcast. (The four suckers with an Ironman on their schedule)  So… without further ado:

“Off” Season Recommendations…

Okay, it’s now officially the “off” season here in North America, or at least it is here in the US (Ironman Cozumel takes place down near Cancun this weekend) and I thought I’d jot down some of the more important considerations for the Ironman-focused triathlete. If you have an Ironman on your “To-Do” list in 2010, listen up! (My To-Do list? Write To-Do list…). Anyway, race day will be here before you know it, so…

1) STAY ACTIVE. The vital aspects are to…

  • -Keep some semblance of fitness going all winter, whether it’s specific to triathlon or a partially-related form of cross-training (hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, mountain biking, weight-lifting, pogo-sticking, shoveling snow, scraping windshields, lawn-bowling, curling, etc)
  • -Work on your specific weaknesses (athletes who train how they need to always beat athletes who train how they want to)
  • -If you’re an Ironman athlete be sure to keep your weekly long run(s) going. Of all the workouts necessary for a solid Ironman performance this is the toughest on the human body; it is also the toughest (and riskiest in an injury sense) to reintegrate after a prolonged lay-off. Bottom line: no matter what, keep running.

So, if you’re a pathetic swimmer living in a winter environment (weather forecast: sh!tty) you need to work your swim this winter once and for all, all the meanwhile maintaining a weekly long run (90+ minutes) and a few “filler” workouts that get you out the door when it’s necessary (and it’s always necessary when lofty goals stand in the way). If it’s moving a bunch of chrome-plated weights around, then by all means move a bunch of weights around.

But about those weights. If your first (or big) race is in May (Ironman St George, for example), you’ll want to do workouts that are increasing more like that particular race, to try to meet the demands presented to you that day. Lifting weights is, no doubt, a workout, and it’s better than doing nothing. But if you’re already a thickly-muscled guy who can out-lift those kicking your ass on race day (e.g., I’m willing to put money down that almost every male age-group triathlete can out-lift Chrissie Wellington or Jordan Rapp but yet they’re nowhere near the same zip-code as either of them on race day; never mind that NO ONE was near Jordan this weekend. Here’s your next American Kona winner, if you care about all that red, white and blue crap) well, then you need to reshape not your pecs but your priorities big guy, or else you’ll always have those same excuses or comments I was forced to hear after this weekend’s race in Tempe…

“Nutrition…” (the ubiquitous scapegoat excuse)

“Oh, man, I know I can do better than that…”

Well then, do so tough guy! Train by doing what the race asks of you, not what your feeble ego tells you to do. And though now is not necessarily the best time to go do some open-water swimming or long-ass bike rides (unless you desperately crave frostbite or hypothermia) it is a good time to rewrite the wiring in your head. Your head is ultimately what runs the show and until you get it screwed on right you’ll always be required to dish-out those same lame excuses post race. The clock doesn’t care about you. Nor does the race. So rewire yourself before time runs out. Winter—just like spring, summer or fall—is a good time to do what’s needed.