As my first year in the multi-sport world, I found myself ranked #1 in the USA for my age group in IRONMAN distances, and 4th in the world! That deserved some much needed time off. These past two months have been spent with minimal running, heavy weights, and no HR monitors strapped to my chest. Oh, and enormous portions of food.
I only had one goal for this winter. Weigh 150 pounds going into January. My starting weight was 131 pounds, so believe me, gaining 19 pounds has been no easy feat.
My “off season” began a few weeks earlier than expected, due to a stress fracture in my shin. This was achieved by attempting to run 4 trail races in 3 states immediately after my last IRONMAN. Being stubborn, I ignored all of my coach’s advice to stop running. (I know better now Matt) Although sadness kicked in at first, I used it to get a head start at gaining all the weight and muscles I lost throughout my first year as a triathlete.
After being on a set schedule for almost my entire year, I was a bit in shock when I went into Training Peaks and nothing would be on my schedule. For me, these past two months have been more of a mental break than anything. For once, it was nice to wake up and choose what I wanted to do that day, not force myself to do a workout I was dreading. Below I laid out a few key things I tried to incorporate in my schedule to obtain this goal of gaining my weight and sanity back.
Lift heavy things (a lot):
During my training season, I tend to lift lower weight/higher reps to maintain my muscles. But with the little miles I ran, I wanted to lift higher weights/lower reps to build more muscles for the upcoming season. This was also a quick way for me to gain muscles and weight. My gym is my social hour and wouldn’t be complete with many laughs along the way! Most of my winter months is spent at Shawn Casey Results Fitness building my entire body so I don’t look like a lean Skelton (for now).
Rest and socialize!
Not just physically, but mentally. Not being on a training plan gave me the freedom to sleep in, and have multiple days where I don’t do anything but eat. From working out almost two times a day for the entire year, it took some adjusting to be able to be okay with just one easy workout, and grasping on to the little social life I still had.
Instead of being stuck in my saddle for five hours every Saturday, I actually was able to get out and go on hikes to new peaks and lakes. This made for a chance for me to re-gain a tiny bit of a social life I left behind during the summer. Don’t get me wrong, it was temping to not want to just run the trails, because you know I already looked up the Strava KOM records for the trails I would hike...
Although I still continued to barley workout, it was a mental break to just hop on my road bike and not have to worry about intervals, time in the saddle or a mileage goal. I really just went for scenery points and getting comfortable being on a bike, since I just started riding one in April of 2017. If I felt like not finishing a swim set, I would stop. This was NO time for me to force myself through a workout if my body or mind wasn’t in it.
Yoga has always been a part of my life, but training plans always seem to get in the way of the class times. Not this time. I have enjoyed taking time to slow down, improve my flexibility and breathing techniques to truly just relax. I prefer Hatha style of Yoga, as it is slower and there are a lot of single leg balances which are great to build up your ankle muscles for running!
Since I didn’t do much running, I read a LOT about training. I bought 6 books about training, Running, stride/mechanics, mental techniques for running. This is something that I am passionate about and I am always striving to become a better athlete, even if I am not training as hard. My nightly routine would consist of: Tea, book/journal and too much chocolate.
It is December 29th and I can proudly say I achieved my goal of weighing 150lbs. I am going into 2018 strong and healthy, and a little fluffy J. I can not wait to get back to my structured workouts and visits to the pain cave. I hope you all enjoy some much-needed time off throughout your year. Your body will thank you!