how long exactly is an off-season?
It’s almost December! And even if you’re heading to one of the final races of the triathlon season, your off-season is right around the corner. Woohoo!! And that will last until … when exactly? Coach Julie has some great thoughts on how long your off-season should be in this article in Triathlete Magazine – everything from the different phases of your off-season (wait, there are phases in the off-season?), durations by race distance, and tips on what to keep in mind outside of training.
what to read / watch / listen to:
Watch: NYAD on Netflix tells the story about Diana Nyad achieving her dream of completing the open water swim from Cuba to Florida. It took 5 attempts. Her first try was at age 28, then at 60 (at 60!!!) she decided she wanted to try it again. It would take her several more years to accomplish the feat. My big takeaway – it’s never too late to go all in on a dream!
athlete win of the month:
Coach Julie: (Coach) Shana Frederickson
A DNF (Did Not Finish) can be a tough experience. However, it’s your actions afterward that truly define you as an athlete. After encountering a DNF at IMLP, Shana took a few weeks to reflect, then fully committed to IMCA. She put in the hard work, including long rides and allowing me to push her during those 2-hour runs, often pushing her limits. Her unwavering commitment and willingness to tackle workouts without hesitation were impressive. Some sessions were challenging, while others were remarkable, but she consistently showed up.
Her dedication paid off with a 10th-place finish at IMCA, setting a race PR and earning a well-deserved spot in IMWC in Nice.
what makes us better:
Coach Kristin: Get Uncomfortable
Warm bed. Cozy slippers. Hot cup of coffee. Steamy shower. Heated seats. Ergonomic office chair… there’s no denying that if you’re reading this, your life is probably pretty comfortable. I just finished reading The Comfort Crisis so embracing the sucky things in life is fresh in my mind. One of the throughlines of the book is that as humans we place more value on the things we work for, and suffer a bit for. It keeps our brains engaged, and without just the right amount of hardship we can get bored, even depressed. I’m not advocating for extreme danger or putting yourself in life-threatening situations, but consider a few of these suggestions as you hibernate in your cozy “pain cave” for the winter:
– Get outside. Don’t do all of your workouts indoors. Snow? Throw on some yaktrax, know your pace will be slower than usual, and get out there. Wind? Put your head down and focus on power output on the bike, not speed. Rain? Come on, no race gets canceled because of rain.
– Think about your death daily. I admit this sounds morbid but western culture is pretty death averse and as a result we live life like we’ve got all the time in the world. Newsflash: we don’t.
– Let your mind wander. Sound scary? One study found that people would sooner give themselves electric shocks rather than be alone with their thoughts. Giving your mind the freedom to wander can enhance creativity and, since many races don’t allow the use of headphones, getting accustomed to the voice in your head is actually good race prep! Do your next run with no music, or drive somewhere without turning on the radio. Staring at screens means we spend a lot of time with our brains “on” and focused. Give your brain a break from distractions and see what happens!
did you know?
Coach Alison: Absorbing your fuel requires hydration
This Q&A with Alex & Michelle Harrison, founders of a nutrition & Fueling app called Saturday, was taken from the Triathlonish newsletter, published by Kelly O’Mara (former Editor in Chief of Triathlete Magazine). So (A) you should totally get the newsletter if you don’t already, and (B) I found the discussion super interesting!
“What is the most common thing triathletes and runners get wrong about fueling?
Underestimating how much hydration affects gut tolerance for intaking fuel.
When you exercise, your body sends blood to the periphery to keep you cool, and to keep your muscles oxygenated, but your gut needs blood flow to function. If you skimp on consuming fluid and sodium in the first 45 minutes of an activity because it feels like you don’t need it, the amount of blood flow that your gut is receiving goes down dramatically. And with it, it’s ability to absorb energy intake. That’s why sometimes gels just hit your gut like a ton of bricks, towards the end of the race. Your gut just can’t process the high carb density without adequate blood flow. And it doesn’t have adequate blood flow when you’re dehydrated and exercising.
Fix it by drinking from the start, and get in the habit of sipping regularly.”
I bet you are reading this email on your phone. If you are, you also probably spend some time on social media. The fitness industry is blowing up and it is easy to see how far we need to go instead of how far we’ve come. One way to combat this is to interact with people in person who have similar goals. This can look like training partners, clubs, teams, or even coaching. There is a social phenomenon called social facilitation where individuals do better when they are around others. While I typically enjoy training alone, I’ve found that I can get myself to a better headspace with more motivation and excitement for endurance sport when I train with others. If social support isn’t a priority in your training, try it out! It may help you in your endurance goals.
meet a teammate:
Teammate: Robin Hernaez, coached by Coach Alison, resides in Temecula, CA with his wife Julie, his dog Carly, his cat Pretzel, and his in-and-out college student Emma.
- Favorite race: IM 70.3 Indian Wells
- Walk-out song: The Day I Tried to Live
- 3 Words that family/friends would use to describe you: Tenacious, loyal, positive
- Worst style choice you’ve ever made: Z Cavaricci’s
- If you could have an unlimited supply of 1 thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Food