Recharge the batteries
I just watched the Hawaii Ironman coverage, and, as usual, I was inspired to try to do the race one more time. But this is an annual thing for me, and I know that after a few weeks I go back to reality and realize I have a family, kids, and a busy coaching business. Add my wife, who is back racing this year, and I quickly realize my Ironman training is in the back seat. It is my reality. However, that was not always the case. Many years in the past, the reality was that with the support of my
family and my internal motivation, I was embarking on a new season with a lot of training and high goals. My goals this year are not set in stone. I plan on doing one half ironman, two at the most. I plan on spending more time in support of my wife and kids on their activities and goals.
For some people, two half ironman races or perhaps a few Olympic distance races or their first sprint is the goal. The big challenge is to spread the motivation and training over a long period of time. A triathlete is not made over a few weeks or months but rather over a few years. There are residual effects that can carry over from one season to the next before we start getting close to our potential. Ones fitness over a racing season goes slightly up and slightly down. What is important it to match the race dates with the very top part of that fitness curve and match the winter and non-racing periods with the low point in the curve. It is hard to match the race with top fitness if we do not also force that low point in fitness to match the non-racing periods.
This is not to say that we do not want to train and just sit on the couch to get out of shape. What it does say is we cannot train so much; recharge the batteries and concentrate on all other aspects of each sport and fitness that we ignore otherwise.
For the swim, this is the best time of the year to concentrate on distance per stroke work. What can you do to improve your distance per stroke? Is it catch-up swimming? Is it bilateral breathing? Is it working on your catch and pull? When doing distance per stroke work, try to get as streamlined as possible. Maybe some dry land core work will be necessary. Get filmed and compare your stroke with some of the fast guys in the pool.
For the bike ride, this is the time to work on your pedaling motion. Many people can have strong legs but they do not power the bike correctly. Using a power meter and the Computrainer spin scan, you can compare your power at different pedaling cadences and on different bike positions. This is also the time of the year to get a new bike fit. Were you uncomfortable on the bike last year? Get with your bike fitter and work on this now.
For the run, this is the time of the year to try new shoes and work on good running motion. If you have knee or hip injuries and pain, and are also a heal striker, you want to look into a more natural running style. Run barefoot on a clean grass area and see how this changes your run motion and mechanics. Then try on a new pair of Newton shoes. This is the time to do this if you have not done so in the past. It's very hard to switch shoes in the middle of heavy training.
Finally keep it fun. If you need a training schedule than that is fine to follow it; however most of you do not have big races in the next three months. Just work on the above with minimal training and recharge the batteries. Once we get close to the 20 week window you can start getting more serious about training and matching that top fitness with your race date. Stay healthy and train safe.