Off-Season Training Observations

Off-season training has been going on since the middle of May.  I had planned to continue with structured workouts but after having raced Ironman Texas as my 3rd Ironman race in 12 months along with 4 Half-Ironman races in 18 months I decided it was time to take a break and get away from structured training.  Getting away from a daily schedule, however, did not mean that I was getting away from working out. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Side bar:  If you are swimming, cycling and running with no ultimate goal (a race) are you just working out? If there is a race does it become training?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I came up with the cycling goals of 650 miles in September (rode 747 miles) and 800 miles in October (rode 809 miles) and along the way I have seen a handful of changes in my base.

Off-Season Training Observations

  • Regardless of my base if I do not drink enough on a long ride I will dehydrate and that will cause my recovery to be longer than it should be.  I learned this lesson, not once but twice, as I almost passed out after a one hour session on the trainer in which I left my water bottle in the kitchen and was too lazy to get it and felt good.  During a 4 hour ride in 55*-60* weather I did not feel myself sweating and thus did not take in the liquids I should have. That evening my legs were more sore than they had been in nearly 2 months after 1500+ miles of riding.
  • I have run a total of 117 miles from September 1st through October 31st or an average of 58 miles per month.  This is low volume for me yet as I picked up running again in November my pace is faster and my RPE is lower.  I am running more efficiently than I did prior to the overload of bike miles I put on.
  • Swimming has been non-existent for the past month.  In October I swam a total of 1200 yards and that is because I felt a bit of guilt from Maria sending me an email and essentially asking me if I needed directions to the pool.  What I noticed in the pool was that my form was horrible.  I was crossing over and my pulls were far deeper than they had been.  On the positive side I noticed that my fitness was great considering the wasted energy with my poor form.
  • Nutrition.  This has been a 'bit' of a struggle because of the lack of structure.  Without the structure of a training schedule I have had a lack of structure with my meal planning.  I am no longer tracking my food and just winging it.  Throw in the fact that I am now getting home from work, working out for an hour and I am eating between 7pm and 8pm.  Prior to this change my dinner was being consumed at 430-5pm.  My off-season weight has been ideal for an off-season as I am anywhere from 5-8 pounds over racing weight.  This is very easy to lose and can be done in a week so I am not concerned about any off-season weight gain.
  • I am a morning person, without a doubt, but I am noticing that I am enjoying the evening workouts as much as I do the early workouts.  I am getting in two workouts per day right now with each being an hour and they are both enjoyable.  At first the evening workouts were dreaded but as the commute home has become unbearable some days it is an opportunity for me to get away from the world and focus on me.  Some times I come up with solutions to work problems, and other times I am lost in my own thoughts that I barely remember anything from the workout.
  • I cannot stand training with music.  I recently went on a run with headphones and at first I enjoyed it, but after about 2 miles of running I wanted to throw the earbuds and iTunes into the river.  I was no longer able to focus on my footfalls or the rhythym of my breathing and the cadence of my run.  I have vowed to no longer use music as I am truly at peace with the world and my body when I cycle and/or run without any distractions.
  • [caption id="attachment_9108" align="alignright" width="290"]off season training - triathlon - ironman - sufferfest The Sufferfest - Beat Your Own Ass Today To Kick Their Ass Tomorrow.
    Source: The Sufferfest[/caption] The Sufferfest is an invaluable part of my training.  With days getting shorter the rides on the trainer are becoming more important to this off-season training cycle.  Firing up the various videos from The Sufferfest make the hour go by without a blink.  In addition to their normal videos they have introduced much shorter heart pumping videos that are to be used as add-ons.  The Long Scream is a favorite of mine and that is truly a leg and lung crushing workout.
The off-season training is something that I have enjoyed but there is a bit of me that is starting to get fired up about structured training and re-discovering all that Ironman training encompasses.  Pushing my body and my mind to its limits and beyond.  Understanding how one workout compliments the next.  How the recovery shake at the end of each night prep's my body for the next morning's workout.  Why the particular swim drill is aiding my overall ability to swim more efficiently. In the end the science of the body and its limits is something I look forward to.

What Has Your Off-Season Training Taught You?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

Related Stories