Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Feeling weak?

This is a good time of year to feel pretty weak.  The only people racing triathlons now are those crazy (and rich) enough to travel to other parts of the world that are in the southern hemisphere, or perhaps those who already live down there.  I'll stick to my Turkey Trot and local 5k performances, mmk.

Here's my guide to the most useful things you can do for yourself (as a triathlete) during this time of year:

1) Swimming

You don't have to swim a lot of volume, you just need to swim some. You can either continue to work on strengths (biking, anyone?), which will gain you small percentage points in your FTP (if you're lucky), or you can work on a weakness (swimming, anyone?).  Most of you are weak swimmers.  I'm not saying that specifically, I am saying it generally. Triathlons is a sport for generally weaker swimmers (because they are frequently new to swimming).  Compared to a 12 year old year round swimmer girl, I am also a weak swimmer.

Be that as it may, this is the time of year to do something about that. Instead of spending hours and hours on the indoor trainer, why don't you spend a few of those hours inside with friends in a nice pool (and not your virtual friends, REAL friends) and work on a raging weakness.  In 2 months of dedicated, purposeful, and committed swim practice you can make pretty significant gains to your glaring weakness. If you spend 10 hours/week on your bike through March you may gain 5% in your FTP (if you ended the season as a trained individual), and that's great.  Good for you.  But if you don't swim, you'll go from a 40 minute half ironman swim to a 42 minute half ironman swim that sucks the life out of you.

If, however, you choose to work on your swim, you can drop minutes off your time (potentially) and be a better biker and runner in your triathlon racing.  I see a lot of people sign up and do races that reward swim weakness (Chattanooga, Augusta, etc) but then qualify for races where a swim weakness is exaggerated (Kona) and just get utterly obliterated.

Don't let it happen to you.

2) Relax

Now is not the time of year to worry about getting in every single little workout.  You need a mental break from being Type A from March through November.  Take one (/some).

3) Buy stuff

Sometimes I need a nice little purchase that functions as a little pick-me-up from a motivation standpoint.  Since I've moved out to AZ (and don't work at IOS anymore), I haven't bought much.  But you should.  This is America, after all.  And the American Dream is to buy s***.

4) Plan

This could mean a lot of different things. Maybe talking to a coach about a plan for next year gets you excited about racing.  Maybe doing a little variety gets you excited to go hard (CX, MTB, etc).  Maybe your schedule for next year in terms of races is enough; whatever it is just make one! Planning is good for the soul

5) Try new stuff

Juicing is a good example.  Hiking is another.

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