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There's an Off-Season?

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

I've heard of this urban legend called the off-season. While I myself haven't seen it up close, I've been told that it exists. I train year round at a pretty high (but manageable) intensity. Obviously, winter training definitely looks different from spring and summer training. The winter months include a higher volume of strength and core work, a lower running volume, cycling on the trainer, and of course pool swims, which focus more on interval work then the distance work that OWS offers. I am by nature a creature who yearns to be outside as much as possible and so I do find it challenging to swim, bike, run and strength train all inside of 4 walls. There's a lot of self-talk involved with constant reminders to myself that all this indoor training is temporary and helping me to mentally (and physically) prepare for races to come.

What does a week of training look like during the winter?

Monday: Cycling: 45 miles (2+ hours) For this session I increase and decrease the resistance about every 5 minutes (via the Wahoo app) and focus a fair amount on cadence. I use my TT bike for this ride so I can continue to get comfortable in the aero position for the 56 mile ride I'll have at HIM Maine in August. I find that movies and television series keep me entertained during these longer rides. I remind myself that I'm going to be out on a course for 56 miles without my training partners or pace line and that these longer and sometimes monotonous indoor training rides are good mental prep for the HIM. Strength/core work (1 hour):

- Chin/pull-ups. I strive for quality over quantity. About 30 reps between pull ups, chin ups, hanging bent knees, and baseball grip without a resistance band.

- Slam Ball: 2 sets of 12 reps with 15 lb. ball.

- P90X3 Complex Upper

- Hammer & Chisel Hammer Abs

Stretching and rolling.

Tuesday: Swimming: 3,400 yards (55 minutes) I always warm up with a 500 yards, as my body needs that time to adjust to the water and for the muscles to loosen up.

From there I usually do pyramids with interval training layered in with kicking drills and a pull buoy. FYI: Pull buoys provide additional strength work. I work hard to keep the rest between intervals limited as the wall isn't your friend.

Run: 4 miles (34:00 minutes) Treadmill run. I have mild asthma and so running outside during Boston winters isn't really an option for me and thus I take my running inside around mid-December. My goal is to maintain my running fitness so when spring hits I'm ready to add on more mileage in an efficient manner. My coach/partner limits the TM runs to 4 miles, as gym treadmills are heavily used and we're unsure of their condition. My goal is to run a pace close to what I would run outside. Strength/core work (45 minutes):

- TRX Arms/Shoulders & Chest/Back: TRX is a great tool that engages your core while building your strength.

- Chalean Extreme Ab Burner

Stretching and rolling.

Wednesday: Cycling: 40 miles (2+ hours) For this session I use my road bike (the Princessrello) as I find that Wahoo and Zwift work better with my road bike as my TT bike has 650 wheels and for some reason, it's just not a great combination. I Zwift for about 20 miles (i.e.: London Loop) and then for the remaining 20, I do an easier recovery spin. Strength/core work (45 minutes):

- P90X One-on-One Iso Abs (very challenging)

- Sandbag: This is a newer modailty for me and will definitely take some time to get proficient at it. I use several Youtube videos that offer an array of moves.

Stretching and rolling.


Swimming: 3,400 yards (55 minutes) Similar to the workout above, although I may switch up some of the interval work and again, keep the rest time limited.

Run: 4 miles (34 minutes) Treadmill run.

Strength/core work (1 hour):

- Battle Rope: I use a variety of videos from Youtube.

Battle rope is a newer tool for me and so my fitness with this modality is developing. The battle rope is deceptively challenging and great for developing power and cardiovascular fitness simultaneously.

- Pull/chin-ups: About 30 reps between pull ups, chin ups, hanging bent knees, and baseball grip without a resistance band.

- Slam Ball: 2 sets of 12 reps with 15 lb. ball.

- P90X3 Incinerator

- Shift Shop Shift Core

Stretching and rolling.

Friday: Cycling: 30 miles (90 minutes) For this session I use my road bike (the Princessrello) and simulate various routes on Zwift (similar to Wednesday's ride) with an easy recovery.

Saturday: Cycling: 49 miles (2 hours). This happened to be a hill climbing Computrainer class at our local studio and I used my road bike. Normally on Saturdays, I am on the trainer at home and ride between 30-35 miles, some of it Zwift and some cadence work using my Wahoo Kickr app.

Sunday: Rest Day. I look forward to this day all week. I see it as my day to reflect on the week, reset, and renew. I usually take an epsom salt bath and of course, food shop and meal prep for the coming week.

What keeps me motivated and who holds me accountable? A variety of things. I find technology very helpful and use STRAVA and Garmin, as well as being a member of a virtual Beachbody Challenge Group. STRAVA enables me to keep track of lots of data (love data) and see my progress, which is incredibly motivating. I do love seeing PRs and QOMs pop up on my screen post-workouts. Of course, dropping money on triathlon gear and races also keeps me accountable as this sport isn't cheap. And perhaps the biggest factor behind my motivation for training is my health and wellness. Losing the weight and inches, and finding this love of fitness has improved my mental and physical well being in ways I never knew were possible — and to honor that I will continue to train and thrive — and hopefully motivate someone else to take control of their wellness.

Follow my progress on STRAVA.

Check out my moves of the week.

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