November 20, 2017 - Thanksgiving is less than a week away, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years are just around the corner. Many are in their off-season phase. Temptations to eat and drink (to excess) or sit around and binge watch Netflix, are around every corner. So what’s a triathlete to do to keep some of those pounds off and not let all of the fitness fade away like so many summer days? Here are a few tips to “Survive the Holidays and NOT have to buy new clothes”!
1. Set some tangible and realistic training goals. Off-season does not mean NO training season. Sit down and think about what type of training you want to do. Reduction in volume and intensity is needed during this recovery time, but knowing that you want to swim, bike, run, lift weights, go to yoga – what ever – X times a week is the starting point. And make those goals easily achievable! Success and consistency builds the desire to continue to keep to plan.
2. Once you have some training goals – figure out a schedule that will allow you to get those workouts in! This may be the singe area that people fail the most in – planning and scheduling! Let’s face it the holidays are very busy times, with many more enjoyable activities than sweating it out on your trainer for an hour. To combat the chaos, and hopefully give you the chance to get those workouts in – invest 30 minutes a week in setting a STANDARD PLAN – carve out time that no one or no activity can invade. If it’s Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 6 -7 p.m and Sunday from 9 – noon – then those are the ‘off limits’ times for YOU to do your training.
3. Put that 3rd plate or 4th beer DOWN! Mid November till early January has some transformative hold on people where they come to think that they must shove every high calorie treat into their pie hole. Couple tricks to curbing your gluttony – drink A LOT of water, particularly before a meal or going to a party – every time you fill up your plate, stop for a second an think, “do I really need this much food, is another helping necessary” – keep an eye on the longer term effect not the short term pleasure, i.e. Do I really want to have to work off 5 more lbs post New Year’s Day? Or is tomorrow morning’s hangover worth it?
4. At least once a week train with a friend. This is a great habit all year long, but very helpful over the holidays. Make a commitment to someone else to show up to run 5 miles or hit swim practice. There are actually LOTS of group training activities going on right now. If you know someone is counting on you to show up, you are far more likely to NOT blow off your training.
5. Enter a race in January. Knowing you have an event on the books is a fantastic motivator to get you out there to do some exercising. Oftentimes fear and pressure are good stressors that motivate.
6. Ask someone to hold you accountable. Maybe a family member or friend. Tell them your goal to train X times a week or curb you food/alcohol intake. Then ask them to help keep you accountable. But remember YOU asked for this help. No biting your significant others head off when they mention that the 4th brownie might not be necessary!
7. Indulge in something that will positively impact your motivation to get some training in. Buy some new work out clothes, sign up for Trainer Road, buy that smart trainer – whatever – but get your self something that will not only make you feel good, but will make working out more fun and exciting.
The off-season is an incredibly important time of the year for triathletes. Yes, it is when we rest and rejuvenate our bodies and minds from the very hard work of last summer and big races. That’s the looking back part of off-season. But the often forgotten part of this training phase is the looking forward aspect. If you want to set your self up for a great 2018, be ready and prepared to begin your base training next year. Don’t create a giant hole for your self during the off-season. Keep moderately active, focus on structure, and be mindful of your weight, as you enjoy the holidays. Those are the best things you can do to have a successful 2018!
-Article By: Rob Reddy - Triathlon Coach at AJ Baucco Coaching