October 12, 2006


Here's my simple, easy to understand philosophy on off-season training: Whatever
(See, I told you it was simple.)

Let's face it, triathlon is a high-maintenance sport that brings out the anal, addictive personality in the best of us. And the longer the distance you race, the more anal and addictive you need to be.

I can practically hear you bitching and whining already.

No way in hell, I'm not a Type A person, you're screaming to your computer screen.

Addictive?! Me?! B**tch please!, you're yelling as you roll your eyes and spit in my general direction.

First of all, watch your damn language, this is a family institution. Secondly, try using your inside voice for a change, Lion King. Thirdly, yes, you're addictive and anal. Deal with it.

In fact, let's do a test, shall we? Please raise your hand if...

* You wear a heart rate monitor during your training sessions
* You look at your heart rate at least once every five minutes
* You've ever done Lactate Threshold or VO2 testing
* You've ever purchased and followed a specific training schedule
* You count the carbohydrates and calories in your exercise potion and have determined the exact mixture of Tang-like substance that you need to ingest every hour
* You wear certain bathing suits or bike jerseys depending on the length of the workout and the other people participating
* You keep a written log of your workout distances, times and/or mood on a regular basis
* You use a pace calculator at least once a week and still complain that you're not getting faster
* You incessantly read or write triathlon related blogs

If you raised your hand to any of those items, please proceed through the turnstile and step onto the Type A Express. If your hand is still not raised, please get on the Newbie Bus and fasten your seatbelt, you'll be deposited on Addictive Avenue before you know it.

So here we are, my fellow addicts-in-denial - we are in the final stretch of another Type A-filled year. Another wonderfully eventful year packed to the gills with the stress and self-induced pressure of triathlon training. Let's face facts, it can be pretty darn overwhelming without us even knowing it. After ten months of forcing a Type B personality into a Type A hole, it's easy to get just plain tuckered out.

But I recently looked at the calendar and realized it's nearly November. We're just a Turkey Trot away from an eating/drinking holiday paradise where we don't even have to think about racing again until Father Time once again bites the bullet.

Many people say that the off-season is a great time to focus on the weak links of your racing abilities. Didn't perform up to your swimming standards this year? Those people will try and convince you that there is no better time to hone those swimming skills than right now. You know what I say? Whatever.

I've recently realized that the people who are suggesting that you keep honing your skills are coincidentally the same people who are trying desperately to sell you yet another training program so that they can afford to buy little Jimmy his favorite Christmas presents. And perhaps you'll buy one of these training schedules and focus on honing your skills. Then the next thing you know, you'll have spent the entire off-season being just as anal with your honing as you were during the "regular" season.

I say, let it lie. Let's not work ourselves into a tizzy over tweaking this and rejiggering that. The off-season is about refreshing and reinvigorating. It's about, well, taking time "off". That's probably why they call it the off-season. I'm not saying avoid the bike, run or swim at all costs, I'm just suggesting that maybe we should relax a tad. If you wake up in the morning and don't feel like exercising at all - don't. Do some yoga. Go for a walk. Have a goddam Egg McMuffin with Bacon if you really want. See if I care.

We need to remember that it is just as important to let the mind recover as it is to let the body recover. So, relax. Put the tri-addict aside and embrace the Type B personality you once had back when Thursday nights actually meant something on TV. Come January, we'll all be hopping on the Anal Train yet again. As for now.... whatever.

NOTE: For all of you still training for Ironman Florida, please don't read this until November 5th. Thank you.


E-Dub said...

The type B in me says, "YES.. Rock on!" [or, "off," as it were].

The type A in me is... well... scolding you!


It's funny, because there is a "5K Turkey Trot" that I'm thinking of doing in my area, the early morning of Thanksgiving!

j. said...

ah, yes, e-dub, there is always a Turkey Trot... which leads into a Christmas Run... the season just never seems complete without sealing it up at a 5k or 10k "fun run". the problem, of course, is that you're body is so burned out from a years worth of training, you finish the run a lot slower than you expected and, as a result, get all depressed and want to start training again.

in the immortal words of George Jetson, "Jane! Get me off this crazy thing!"

lol.. have a great trot!