Off Season Focus (or not….)

Winter for those of us in the Northern hemisphere is a time of year to reconnect with your non-racing friends, reflect on the past season, and build some enthusiasm for the next season while giving your body a break from the traveling and racing.  Your body will have absorbed a lot of training and racing by the end of the triathlon season, so it is important to take a break in order to regenerate not only your muscles, but also your nervous system.  You need a mental and a physical break in order to be at your peak training potential.

 

Since our XTERRA season does not end until the end of October and Ironman pushes on even further, I think it is beneficial to take at least two weeks completely off, meaning NO training and sometimes this needs to be even longer, depending on your level of burnout.  I usually go by feel.  If I really don’t FEEL like training, I don’t do it.  I wait until I really want to go to a workout or for a ride and until then I drink coffee, hang out and do yoga.   This period of time varies from year to year and will vary from one person to another.  I think that during this break is a good time to start thinking about what your goals are going to be for the next season.

 

During this training break, create two lists of goals.  The first list should be your Outcome Goals, i.e. what are the results you would like to get (what place in a certain race or what time for a 10km).  The second list should be your Process Goals, i.e. how you are going to achieve those goals (what skills do you need to develop, injuries to clear up, muscle imbalances to correct, techniques to improve).  For example, one of my goals for 2011 is to qualify for 70.3 Worlds.  In order to do this, I have three process goals.  The first is to lower my race weight, the second is to improve my swim technique and the third is to work on my power on my time trial bike.  I invite you guys to share your goals on the forum so that you can all inspire each other next season and help each other achieve that success!

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Stewart Mountain 10 Miler: Season Over!

I flew back from Hawaii to arrive in Victoria first thing in the morning on Friday.  That overnight flight from the islands is not a treat but the weather on arrival was.  Gorgeous sunny weather was on the menu for my first day home.  Too bad I wasted some of it falling into a coma. 

The next morning was Stewart Mountain… my most favorite of all Bob Reid and the Prairie Inn Harrier trail races of the season.  It is 10 miles up and over Stewart Mountain… and through/around everything in between.  This year it was a swim race.  Instead of giving us the option of many of the run around trails it was an exercise in run-throughs with every puddle and swamp leaving us with soakers.  Coming back from warm 27 degree plus weather… this was not my cup of tea.

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XTERRA 1/2 Marathon Trail World Champs – Kualoa Ranch, Oahu

In my second attempt racing the half marathon distance at the XTERRA Trail Run World Champs I performed far, far better.  A 3rd place versus a 10th place is nice but really, it was the eight minutes of improvement I liked the best.  I think every year this race is slightly different and I felt that the course was probably slower due to the increased amount of singletrack in the first 5km.  Regardless, all the gigantic hills were still in there and all of them were just as hard as I remembered.  Sally Meyerhoff, an elite runner from Arizona, took 8 minutes out of second and 9 minutes from me on her way to the win so she was really racing in another category.  A team of Hawaii University cross country athletes and I had a battle for second that was fun to be a part of and the 1500 athletes that took part in the 1/2 marathon, 10km and 5km all got our money’s worth in terms of adventure and challenge.

I only decided to do this race on Monday last week.  It is time for me to get back on my bike and since the weather has been iffy in Victoria I figured Hawaii was a nice re-introduction to training.  The race was a draw only in that I felt I could run faster than I did last year and I was interested in how much faster.  I wasn’t really here to be truly competitive with anyone rather than myself.  I think that was probably a good race strategy.

I was chauffeured to the start with my homestay family, Barbi and Bob, who were also competing in the race.  They are big fans of the Hurt 100mile trail run race so this race was really the equivalent of track repeats for them.  The race morning was clear, sunny and considerably warmer than the rest of the week.  I kept in mind that I really shouldn’t miss an aid station.  My Nathan bottle for my hydration pack somehow was stolen by TSA so I couldn’t carry it on race day.  Boo!  I also ran in the Avi-Stoltz trail shoe by AVIA which I believe was a better call than the Bolt I ran in last year.

So when we all were off to start our day there were a lot of elbows being thrown in the first 100m so I just kept letting people go.  On the first hill, despite still keeping my heart rate in check, I was in fourth.  Yay!  I was running well even trying to run “slow” for the first half.  Sally was up the road and I was forcing myself to ignore her but Frida Aspinas was pushing the pace with Rachel so I had plenty to focus on.

I am number 16.. photo by Christer Tvedt

By the time we finished about 6 miles I was in second with the other girls pushing hard on the hills.  After an aid station I came up beside Frida and noticed that Rachel wasn’t there. I heard some very heavy breathing from my competitor and wondered if that was the appropriate pace for 21km or whether I wasn’t trying hard enough.  Sure enough, on a long singletrack climb I got a gap on her.  I didn’t really push the advantage but rather just tried to think of my own pace.  The men I ran with would drop me uphill and I would come back on the flats so I was forced to pace by myself most of the way. READ MORE

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