How to Improve this Offseason without Swimming, Biking, or Running
Many athletes are considered superhuman. How can a baseball player hit a ball 450 feet? How can a basketball player jump over 4 feet high? How can a triathlete run a marathon after biking and swimming so far? Indeed this talent is fairly superhuman, but even for the most impressive athletes, the body needs a break.
The offseason is a time to let the body and mind recharge, and time to enjoy a more “normal” life. The problem with triathletes is that most of us are so obsessed with working out that we often don’t give ourselves enough off time because we start to feel lazy after just 2 days of no training.
Triathlon is a never-ending season. Every weekend, somewhere in the world, there is an opportunity to race. This means athletes must set aside time to enjoy a break. For many Coloradoans that time is now. The days are getting shorter and colder, and the local lakes are too cold to swim in. For most triathletes, the offseason is negatively associated with getting slower. But in reality the offseason is a great time to improve while having fun.
Tips to improve this offseason, while having fun:
Play Other Sports– Most triathletes grew up playing sports, and in one way or another found triathlon because of their passion for an active lifestyle. The repetitive motions of swimming, biking, and running have probably left you less coordinated and agile than you would hope. This offseason jump in on a volleyball league, play some basketball, pick up a racquet, or even just throw the Frisbee around. The unpredictable motions of these sports will strengthen muscles that are normally neglected and injury prone, and you might be able to successfully snag a water bottle from a bike aid station next year.
Yoga– If you haven’t tried it, sign up for a class. If you are already a regular, bring a friend. Yoga is a great way to clear the mind while improving flexibility, strength, and mental capacity. It is sometimes difficult to find time for yoga during the season, but now is a great time to introduce or re-introduce it into your routine.
Experimenting With Your Diet– They say don’t try something new before a race. The offseason is when you can and should experiment. Try removing or adding foods to your diet and document how you feel. Go on a detox cleanse. Try the latest craze. Paleo, Vegan, Pizza-only (not a thing), and see if you notice changes. Also, with a little bit more time on your hands, now would be a great time to spend some time in the kitchen creating some staple meals to add to your routine. It is a new season, make it feel and taste like one.
Go Explore– Okay this one involves running and biking, but in the most fun way possible. Many of us fall into a routine where we typically ride and run the same routes. We know how hilly they are, how long they take, and where the water fountains are. In the offseason, it doesn’t really matter if you ride 2 hours instead of 1.5, or if you run up a steep hill when you were supposed to run flat. This sounds crazy, but go on Google maps and look at some roads that you think would be fun. Don’t be afraid to have a ride or run with lots of stops and turn-arounds, because when you find that amazing route that you never knew existed, it will be well worth it.
If you want to see some cool routes in Boulder that I have explored, check out my Strava. I am in the offseason so you can expect some hiking and cross country skiing, and maybe snow-shoeing as well.