Don’t Fall Away

Setting up for Off-Season Success

Fall, a time of changing colors, back-to-school, pumpkin everything, and the end of the tri season.

Ack! End of season! What am I to do? I thrive on the structure and challenge of a training plan, and I sometimes feel a bit rudderless when the leaves start to fall. One year, I bought a book on off-season triathlon training, read it cover to cover, set up an elaborate schedule, and promptly burnt out.

Last year, I was doing so well on my baby weight-loss plan and didn’t want to lose that progress, so I registered for an October half-marathon. And another in the spring. The problem is that when I began racing in sprint tris, it was because I knew I could take on a greater fitness challenge but got bored running much more than a 10k. All running and more running makes Suzi a dull girl.

So what’s a girl to do?

For me, the most important thing is to formulate a schedule. But keep it simple. Mine tends to look something like this:

Sunday: bike

Monday: rest

Tuesday: yoga

Wednesday: run (and coffee, with my running buddy extraordinaire, without whom I would not survive the week)

Thursday: rest

Friday: swim

Saturday: run (either at o’dark thirty on the ‘mill or with the jog stroller and littles)

That’s it. No distances. No bells and whistles.

Use What You’ve Got

Another strategy that has worked for me is to simply take a copy of the weekly class schedule at the gym and highlight every class that is at my normal exercise time, then pin that up on the inside of my closet door. I have discovered a couple of fun new (to me) classes just a bit outside my comfort zone this way.

If you don’t belong to a gym, just go on YouTube and start searching. Try searching a class you’ve heard of but never tried, or a piece of equipment you have but don’t use. (How many of us bought a balance ball, weights, or whatever that now sit in a corner of the basement?) This might not carry the instant accountability of registering for a class, so consider creating your own “gym schedule” on Excel or just a sheet of paper.

If you want to up your game just a bit, registering for a running race that’s just a bit over your regular distance, but not so far that you can’t mix in other types of exercise, can work.

The takeaway?

  1. Set up a basic framework.
  2. Allow yourself some wiggle room.
  3. Write it down.
  4. And one last tip that I’ve been using for years? Do not underestimate the power of a reward system and those little foil star stickers. If I get enough stars on my calendar, I get some sort of treat.

Maybe even a pumpkin coffee. Happy fall!

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