Now that you don’t need to train so much, you’ll hopefully have more time on your hands. Here are a few things to mull over while you have your feet up
Wouldn’t it be great if you could eat as much as you liked without it making a difference to your triathlon results?
Sadly it’s not the case but during the off season you can at least afford to kick back and relax a bit. Go ahead and drink that beer you promised yourself and order that takeaway safe in the knowledge that from January onwards you’ll be back on the straight and narrow.
However, make sure you weigh yourself at the end of the summer and then weekly thereafter. Once you’ve put on four or five pounds of weight, it’s time to hold back on the snacks and start training a bit more. You don’t want to leave yourself a mountain to climb afterwards.
October, November and December are the best months for bagging triathlon bargains. For instance, bike shops often sell their 2015 bikes for up to a third less than the July prices. This is because the 2016 models arrive in the spring and they need to flog their old stock first.
In some cases the 2016 models are different, but often they are exactly the same bikes in different colours. The same applies to second-hand gear on websites such as eBay.
Season specific items like carbon wheels and wetsuits can be found at mouth-watering prices in the bleak winter months. So rather than wait until the spring, now is the ideal time to break out your wallet.
Enter races now
If you’re planning on an exciting season in 2016, you need to start entering events now. Many of the biggest and best races sell out extremely quickly, sometimes in less than an hour such as Challenge Roth, Ironman 70.3 UK and The Outlaw.
And it’s not just the big long-distance events that fill up quickly. Plan ahead so you’re not left with a handful of inconvenient races to choose from. Another good reason to enter events early is that it gives you a sense of focus and fear that will motivate you to get out of the door when it’s cold, dark and wet.
How to motivate yourself again
It can be hard to get back into the swing of things and by the time December looms into view you might find your old sense of motivation has deserted you. During this period the key word is momentum.
The more momentum you pick up, the easier it gets. So on day one when you’re feeling a bit heavy and unfit, you have zero training momentum.
You feel as if you have nothing behind you and six months of training ahead of you. If you can get through one week of training, you’ll have seven days of momentum under your belt.
Once you’ve successfully trained for a few weeks you’ll start to feel you’ve achieved something. Focus on one week at a time and eventually your training momentum will start carrying you forward all on its own.
Think about how many hours you’re willing to dedicate to your training next season. It’s important to get this right, as it has a knock-on effect on other areas of your life.
It can be tempting to think more is better but it’s not always the case. Many triathletes are balancing a career, studies, a family and friendships, and it is important to allow yourself time and energy to enjoy these things.
Set yourself a realistic training limit based on your available free time and what you want to achieve. For example, this might be an average of six hours training per week. Then stick to it and don’t feel bad that you’re not doing more.