What do you over the course of a week? How do you fit your workouts in? I get this question often so I thought I would write about it this week–the who, what, where, when, and how of my workout week!
Ahhh the offseason, a time for sitting, eating, and lazing about….right? Um, no. Ok, yes and no. Every athlete should take some time off during the year to recharge and recover from a season of racing. Often times the ‘holiday season’ is a great time to have an offseason. We’re busy with families and parties, the weather is getting cold, our bodies simply want to hibernate. It is a great time to back off of our strict training schedules, to exercise for fun rather than purpose. Our training becomes ‘exercise’ and is more flexible. However, if we don’t play our cards right we can rest so perfectly that we’re not ready for the new year of training and racing looming a few weeks away. A month of fun and sloth-like behavior can lead to 10-15 lb weight gain and lack of fitness. How SHOULD you approach the offseason and plan for the ‘beyond’? Follow these basic steps:
Long distance, endurance training– some people love it, some people hate it. Clearly those who enjoy it or get a personal benefit from it choose long distance races over shorter races, but why? Why would someone sign up for a looonnnngggg race that requires hours and hours of training? Why would someone choose to get up at 4am to get in a long run before the start of the day? Why would someone forego weekend nights full of fun in order to train all weekend? For many people it doesn’t seem logical. However illogical it might seem. more and more people are choosing to engage it long endurance races whether they are cycling, running or swimming events. Of course I don’t know all the reasons behind choosing different events, but given that I too am drawn to endurance events, I have some idea..
To take a true day off or not? The struggle is real! What do I mean by a “true” day off? Obviously no running, but also no swimming, biking, yoga, strength training, bootcamp, etc. NOTHING! For the obsessive type like Siobhan and I, this is a real dilemma. Are we the only crazy ones? Possibly, but there are plenty of reasons a true day off is important.
Spring is springing here in Charleston providing longer hours of daylight, warmer temperatures, and more opportunities to get out and exercise! We’re no longer relegated to treadmill running or bike trainer workouts. Outdoor neighborhood pools will open soon. We can now move all of our workouts outside. However, with greater freedom comes a greater need to focus on safety. Safety concerns are found all areas of exercise, however, with triathlon season approaching, I’m going to focus on swim, bike, and run safety.
Most people have one sport or activity that they absolutely love. For me, I think that it’s pretty obvious that my favorite sport is running. However, I’m fortunate enough to really really like several other activities as well. It’s probably pretty clear why I think I’m fortunate— with my stress fracture from running, I have been able to workout in other ways while letting my leg heal. Participating in another sport, called cross training, is also beneficial to develop muscles that support running, thereby decreasing the chance of injury. However, ‘cross training’ has many benefits as I learned from my own experiences and outlined on Runner’s World and ACE Fit websites.
As you know from my previous blog posts, I (Siobhan) got a stress fracture while training for my first 100mile race. This was a pretty devastating injury for me and only partly due to the fact that I would miss my goal race. I was pretty freaked out that I got a stress fracture. Plus treatment included crutches and NO exercise for at least 2 weeks…That part killed me…it was very tough mentally to be on the sidelines with no access to my normal stress relief mechanism. I knew I would survive that period, and I did, but it was still very challenging. And it’s not over yet….
The ‘off-season’ for some athletes is the dreaded time after the last race of the year before training for the next race begins. It can last anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months. I used the word “dreaded” because many athletes hate this time of year. It’s a time of unstructured workouts and a time of unstructured eating. Some people feel like a sailboat adrift at sea with no direction and feel very uncomfortable about that–me included.