Saturday, November 22, 2014

What I Did For My Summer Vacation

No, this is not a horribly out of date post, though we all know I'm capable of that. Nor am I unaware of the frigid weather descending upon DC this fall. Running a 10 K in sub-30 degree weather this morning sent a clear message that we are nearly in December. Let's just call this a "metaphorical summer vacation."

For triathletes in the northern hemisphere, race season runs from around March or April until September or October. This year, I started racing in February and was pretty burned out by 70.3 Worlds in early September. Enter the off-season. Late fall/early winter, aka off-season, is a magical time in the triathlete's year when sleeping in (until 6!), culinary indulgences, and reconnecting with long-neglected friends/relatives/spouses take the place of swims, rides, and runs. True, there are always cautionary tales of athletes who take it too easy and have trouble getting back into shape in the spring, or simply continue training and wonder why they are an unmotivated zombie in March. Time will tell where I fall in that spectrum, but here's my strategy:

  • Sleep. That's a no-brainer. (Or actually, a better-brainer, since sleep makes you smarter.) Over the past year, I've gotten into the habit of going to bed early, usually around 9:15, since my workouts required a wake up call "in the 4s." Now that my training volume is lower, I can often sleep in until 6...nearly 9 glorious hours of snoozeville. 
  • Core work. How to avoid over-use injuries? Core work, including abs, back, and glutes. What do triathletes never dedicate enough time to do? Core work. Knowing myself and my likes (being social, saving money, obsessively completing workouts in Training Peaks), and dislikes (doing crunches in a crowded gym, motivating myself to hold a plank longer than :30 if no one is watching), I am adding core work/PT/foam rolling to my Training Peaks calendar and also subscribed to Class Pass. If you haven't already been recruited into the Class Pass mafia, it works like this: $99 per month for unlimited (ish) classes at local yoga, pilates, barre, and spin studios. (The "ish" is that you can only take three classes per month at a single studio, but considering there are over 75 studios in the DC area and classes are usually $25 a pop, this is an incredible deal. H/T Lynn!) 
At left: the glute-burn-erator, aka, pilates reformer

  • ART: No, not painting. Active Release Therapy. I'll do a separate post on it soon (yes, it's that awesome) but in a nutshell, it's a really effective soft tissue therapy that helps "remodel" muscles, prevent scar tissue formation, and improve range of motion. Rose PT offers it *and* accepts insurance, so why even bother with a "fluff n' buff" massage at a spa? 
  • Social Time: Did you know that a universe exists in which people join their friends for brunch, talk about things other than training, and then go shopping (albeit for running shoes)? Or visit small farms in Frederick County and meet alpacas? I'm also enjoying the opportunity to learn more about the sport from people who know their stuff, like the Women and Bicycles event at Rose PT and my speedy triathlete friend, Holli
Well, hello, there.

  • Culture: Yes, the other kind of art. Elliott and I are now making a point to schedule at least one cultural or educational activity per month. So far, we have attended a dinner with the Charcuterie Club of DC and learned about Civil War history in western Maryland. Next up: a 3D printing class. Fancy! 
Charcuterie + wine + fiance = happiness

  • Racing: Yes, I know, it's the off-season. But my coach and I decided to add two low-key, non-taper, single sport races to the schedule to test my training a bit and put a fire under me for next year. Smart move: in both races (10 mile bike time trial and 10K road race), I placed second. Next year... 
What are your off-season plans? 

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