Offseason? Is that what I’m In?

triathlon_offseason_training_ROIWith my last triathlon of the season having been completed on Sunday at Austin 70.3 I started thinking about what this off-season would represent for me.  What I would focus on during this stretch.  I have a half-marathon coming up in two weeks and then 4 weeks after that I am going to make my first (and possibly last) attempt at a Boston qualifying time at the Las Vegas marathon.

Neither of those events is a triathlon so what do I focus on that is tri specific in this offseason.  Then it dawned on me that I don’t have much of an off-season considering I am racing 70.3 Puerto Rico in March of 2012.  That race is 144 days away.  If coach decides to do a 16 week training schedule that mean I would have 112 days of training (that includes rest days.)  If you do the math that means that I would have a total of 32 days of an off-season, which will be filled with marathon training.

In doing some research into off-season ideas and thoughts from other athletes I ran across an interesting article in  The article was based on the time investment for the off-season.  As a sales rep of internet marketing and web design I am always asked about ROI (Return On Investment) and that is what this article’s focus was.  It spoke to me from a business perspective.  Allow me to pause for a moment to say this is how I decide whether or not it is worth it for me to pay for a service.

For example, I could mow my own lawn.  I could go get gas for the lawn mower.  I could sharpen the blades.  I could spend time walking the mower around and then edging, raking the clippings, etc……you get the picture.  Let’s say that one mowing takes me 2 hours.  So now this is where my MBA comes in.  If I were to get paid $40/hour then the cost for me to mow my own lawn starts at $80 per mow.  Let’s not forget the cost of gas and oil, etc but we will leave that out of this equation.

I pay a mowing service $25 per visit.  So for the same $80 I can get 3 mows from the service and not have to worry about anything.  That is a great ROI on my time.  From an age grouper standpoint we need to calculate the ROI of a workout and this article did a great job at breaking it down.

The article pointed out three investment principles and they were:

Time Investment Principle #1: Any discussion of how to train must begin with a discussion of how much time you have available to train.

Time Investment Principle #2: What is your return on investment (ROI) on race day for every training session (and dollar) invested?

offseason_triathlon_trainingHere were the high-ROI investments:

  • 45-90 minutes of hard interval training per week on the bike
  • Well-planned tempo running intervals
  • Running frequency
  • 1-on-1 swim lessons, especially with underwater video
  • Training with pace (ie, purchasing a GPS or training on a measured run course)
  • Aero helmet
  • Training with power
  • Bike fit
The bad or low ROI investments were:
  • Weight training
  • Swimming year round
  • Race wheels, especially a rear disk
  • Easy cycling volume
  • Long, slow, distance running, to the exclusion of tempo work

Time Investment Principle #3: Training time cost is variable across seasons.

I do know that my off-season will include a new bike fit to make sure that all the parts are working together from my legs to the bike.  I will also investigate training with power as I have heard Jeff and Jon speak of this often and virtually every article published today focuses on Watts and KJoules.  I need to understand this to see how it can improve my performance.

What Are Your Plans For This Off-Season?

Do You Calculate ROI for Life and for Training?

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  1. The Rockstar says:

    Training with power is high ROI. You can get more effective workouts in less time. Your coach, though, needs to understand it as it can be different. I won’t even get into racing with power. Ping me if you have any questions.
    The Rockstar recently posted..Quote of the week.My Profile

    • CTER says:

      Joe –

      I will certainly email you in two weeks after IMFL to discuss this. No need in you worrying about answering my questions when you have your race coming up.

      I can’t wait to track you out there. It’s going to be epic.

  2. BDD says:

    We dont really have an off season, we get 2-6 weeks to rest our bodies, recharge some, and freshen up our legs, then its back to work

    In Ohio, with 8 months inbetween race seasons, one would think we have an long off season, 6-7 of those months are spent, mostly indoors, on a trainer, on a dreadmill, in the weight room, we are borderline insane come Feb or March, dying to get outdoors.

    Heart rate training is the poor mans version of power tap training, I cant afford to drop $2k on a power system.

    I do not agree with some of the low ROI for northerners, weight lifting for 7 months would be a higher return then aero helmet would return. If you dont have the engine for the bike, you will not get the benefit of the aero helmet, for an aero helmet to be any use what so ever, you must be averaging 20mph+ and the greatest benefit is when your at 24+mph

    Another, easy cycling volume is a must, Zone 2 work is a must, yes it sucks to train this way, its boring, it doesnt “feel” like its doing anything, but before you start hammering in the anaerobic zones, you need the aerobic fitness to subtain a higher pace.
    BDD recently posted..What Cyclists Say and What They MeanMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I agree with you in regards to the weight training compared to the aero helmet. Just like wheels the true benefit doesn’t happen until your engine can push that car 20+ mph.

      Look at Kevin at IMWI. He put up a great bike split and wasn’t using deep dish.

      I can’t imagine you guys sitting in that winter for that long. I would lose my mind and can’t believe I did do that for as long as I did.

  3. marlene says:

    Funny, I just started a post on “off season” yesterday! Probably for next week.

    I like that cost analysis with respect to time investment!
    marlene recently posted..What I Ate WednesdayMy Profile

  4. adena says:

    This is how I justify my cleaning service.. ;-) my off season was racing season so no more off anything for me. ;-)

  5. I don’t calculate ROI for life, but I will for some other things. You can’t put a price tag on what I enjoy doing.
    Carolina John recently posted..One Year AgoMy Profile

  6. I enjoyed reading this post. I mentally do calculate the ROI but I like how you laid it out here.

    I don’t really have an off season since I’m a Southern California girl and we are very lucky to be able to run year round.
    The Green Girl recently posted..The Green Girl’s Long Beach Marathon Race ReportMy Profile

  7. Jill says:

    I’m not sure why weight lifting would be lumped into a low ROI, seems to me if you continue the wt training in the off season, you won’t eat away the muscle strength you can lose. Just what I learned as a trainer.
    Jill recently posted..Weeks 7 and 8 in the numbersMy Profile

  8. Jeff Irvin says:

    I ROI everything I do.

    Also think in terms of opportunity costs when planning training and racing. That is a tough one because o all the cool races I want to do!

  9. misszippy1 says:

    Interesting. And yes, you have virtually no offseason! My usual is to take a couple of months of just easy running, but include weekly spinervals sessions and hard swimming. This gives the running muscles some downtime. I also believe in strength training and usually up it to 3x/week in the offseason vs. 2x during the season. I always feel like I need as much mental break from harder training as I do physical.

    Can’t wait to see what you can do at Vegas!
    misszippy1 recently posted..Rules of race dayMy Profile

  10. Patrick says:

    Love this post. I’ve heard from two professional coaches regarding off season training and both of them told me to focus on speed rather than endurance, even though that sounds counterintuitive. Cruise intervals, tempo, etc. A lot of food for thought.
    Patrick recently posted..Winter TrainingMy Profile

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