Thursday, November 7, 2013

Work Hard, Rest Hard: Off Season

The off season tends to be a tough time for some people.  It throws people for a loop because we are all so type-A and used to having a schedule.  Some athletes may ask "if there isn't training, well, what else is there to do?!".  Um.. Hello!  There are plenty of things to do!  Sure, it takes us getting out of our routine and trying some new things.  It also means reconnecting with the people we love and doing a little extra for them just to say "Hey, I love you, thanks for supporting me all year even when I was a crazy lunatic in Ironman training about 60% of the time".  It's the mental break that most of us really need.

It may seem like the professionals are on a different level, but darn it, we're just the same as everyone else!  At the end of the season, I was dreading dragging my stuff to the pool and continuing "the grind" just as much as the next guy!  We wouldn't be human if we didn't crave a little variety and a little time to kick back and not worry about 8+ hours of sleep or having your workout bag packed for the next day (etc. etc. the list goes on and on!).

This year I trained right around fifteen hundred hours from December 2012 to October 2013.  No small amount for me personally!  My light/recovery weeks were around 12-15 hours and my biggest were around 28-29 hours.  It felt like a job at times because, frankly, at times that's what it was!  It was a job I loved in the good times and the tough times!  That's the kind we can all only HOPE to have in my opinion.  I have another post coming on what I think it actually took to get to this next level and hopefully, it will help you fellow athletes out there do the same in 2014! Hold that thought :)

SO, what have I been up to in the off season?  In no particular order - here it is! 

Directly after Kona (and I mean directly, like arrived home on Thurs night and left on Friday morning), I headed to the Food and Nutrition Conference in Houston, TX.  I had some specific meetings and networking events.  One of those meetings was with this guy! This is a breed of cattle called "Brahman".  One of the neat things I had the opportunity to do, courtesy of The Beef Checkoff Program, was take a ranch tour to find out how real ranchers handle these guys and what their handling practices are to ensure our food supply stays safe and healthy.  It was really a very enlightening eye-opening experience that I enjoyed immensely!  It's important for all of us to try to understand how our food gets to the table and what processes are employed by farmers to handle things correctly.  You can learn more here if you would like to find out more information!

Dressing up with your husband for Halloween and singing a LOT of karaoke, is not only a good way to have fun, but it may just convince you that miracles can happen (like fitting into a costume you made in college that you actually GLUED together vs. sewing because of course you didn't know HOW - ok, still don't).  Getting the outfit off, not nearly as fun or enjoyable.  I think I might have to retire that one!

Eating sushi in New York City.  Yes Please!! 

OH YES, I did partake (and it was a-ma-zing, no I did not eat the whole thing in one sitting, but I did eat the whole thing).  I was instructed to gain seven pounds after the season was over.  Check, check and CHECK!  Now the jeans are tight and it is time to get back at it in about a week!  I'm not big on added sugar and believe that ALL can be included in moderation especially at certain times of year.  I eat VERY well 95% of the time, but I too have a sweet tooth so it's nice to indulge sometimes!

Check out cute triathletes who are sporting only the BEST gear!  This cutie is already a Fuel Your Passion fan (let's face it, who isn't!).  Love the picture!  Baby/Future Superstar: Ben, Proud Father: Jeff

Run in Central Park among the beautiful leaves and other fitness enthusiasts!  I'm only doing short 30 min workouts (2 per sport per week - yep, that's only 3 hours total) so by the time I made it to central park from my hotel it was almost time to turn around.  Bummer!  I do what I'm told, even in the off season!

Go to some social events and let your hair down!  That's just what I did this past weekend at Kyle's brother's wedding!  We had a blast and got to see two of our favorite people get married!  A huge congratulations to Jeremy and Jen!!  These are my SISTERS!  Not sister-in-laws, but real sisters!  Love ya Jen, Lis & Brit!

Also hung with my Fern crew, Renee and Aimee!

Cook your____ off!   I've been playing Martha Stewart in my spare time.  I've made everything from brie/apple/chicken quesadillas to this butternut squash lasagna!  If you'd like to cook along with me, just follow my Pinterest Boards. It's all on there!  I'm not sure what has gotten into me. It must be just a combo of having more time and really wanting to incorporate some new fall foods and recipes into my regimen.

Next up - brand new playlist for 2014 workouts!  If you have any good songs PLEASE leave them as a comment!  I'm really dying for some new music!!  I'm into EVERYTHING!

As you can see, if you're in the time of year where you're taking a step back, re-evaluating where you've been and just about to take the next step into a new season of training, it's a great idea to have a little fun and not be afraid to branch out and do some things that don't usually fit in your schedule.  I've loved this time!  Even though I'm getting to the point where I'm ready to be back to my regular training schedule, I believe every athlete needs a break from training both physically and mentally to start next year with a renewed sense of motivation!!  I ask all of my athletes to take this time and take it seriously!  We all work really hard and recovering / resting hard is just as important. The amount of time you need will depend on how many hours you put in. Someone like me at that fifteen hundred hour level needs around five weeks total.  You may need just a few weeks and your body and mind will be ready to go!   Give it a try!

Let me know what you've been up to in YOUR off season!!

1 comment:

millerb said...

Thanks for this! I'm not a pro, but have been struggling with taking time off this fall. I realized I've been continuing the same volume and intensity since my last race in September, and I really don't need to. I gave myself the day off today and am trying to be ok with that. Thanks for setting a good example!