It’s Fall, So What Should I Be Doing?
Get that pumpkin spice latte your special someone asked for. Carve those jack-o-lanterns with the kids. Rake the leaves that have fallen all over your lawn. Check your snow-blower to be sure it’s ready for the upcoming snowstorm. Set the DVR for that next Husker game, hoping and hoping and hoping for a win. Winterize your lawnmower. Put the patio furniture away. Blow out the sprinkler system. Attend the kid’s fall sports games. Go to parent/teacher conferences. Fall gives a whole different set of items for our to-do lists than summer does.
It also presents a whole new season for multisport athletes. Some are coming off their best season yet, super pumped up and wanting to just keep training in preparation for next year’s races that they’ve already strategically chosen and registered! Others are a bit burned out or at least glad for a break from hard training and racing. They’re chillin’ out, not really thinking much about training, but rather involved with the things mentioned in the first paragraph.
So, there’s no one list of what multisport athletes need to be doing right now. It varies. People are different. With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind depending on where you are mentally and physically.
Maybe you’re the “I’m Fried, Give Me A Break” athlete right now.
Walk away from structured training, but stay active in some fresh new ways. This was me one year ago. I was toast. Last year I’d trained for Duathlon Nationals and ITU Tri Worlds. The two years before that, it was USAT Nationals here in Omaha. I set super high goals for them all. I needed a looooong break and a “fun” season this year. I got just that. I’m excited for next year now and have set some new goals for getting back into longer races. Believe me, sometimes the absolute best thing you can do is walk away for a while. If you want to be in this sport for years and years, you have to pace yourself over the long haul. Stay active though, especially the older you are, but engage in fun, different activities.
Or, maybe you’re the “I’ve Never Been More Fired Up” athlete right now.
You finished an awesome season. You made USAT All-American or got on a podium for the first time. You qualified for Nationals or maybe did your first 70.3 or Ironman. You set a PR at a certain distance or finally beat that rival of yours! Or, just maybe, as a good friend of mine just did, you qualified for the big dance in Kona, the Hawaiian Ironman World Championships! My advice to you is to slow down and cool it for a few weeks. You may be ready mentally for next year’s “A” race right now, but believe me, you need a break. Back off on your volume, cutting it from 40-60%. Neither should you do much intensity for a while. Get in some good, base, Zone 2 training and develop that cardio machine a bit more. Put your energy into putting together a training plan for next year, laying out your race schedule and setting some goals for your races. Read a tri book or motivational story.
Finally, you might be the “I’m Somewhere In-Between” athlete right now.
Workout some when you want to. Listen carefully to your body. If you plan a swim, bike, run or resistance workout and don’t feel like doing it, just skip it. No problem. Do a social workout with friends or join a class of some kind. I’ve just finished 5-6 weeks of a total body strengthening class. Wow! A whole new world for me!! I was so sore I could hardly move after the first few classes. It’s SO good for me. I’ve missed a few classes, but it’s OK. I’m committed to getting stronger and I know how that’s going to happen. I’ve set my two big races for next season, labeling them my “B” race and “A” race. They come early in the year – May and June, so that’s good motivation for the dark, cold winter months. I’ll do some running races but not all-out. Emotionally and psychology, I’m feeling good.
Here are five things everyone could be thinking about this fall:
- Staying active. Do something…anything, but keep it low-key and fun.
- Working on your weakness.
- Getting some input. Video your swim stroke or running form and show it to someone in-the-know to get their input.
- Getting some new gear. I know this sport is a financial black-hole, but hey, Christmas is coming!
- Focusing on others. Lots of folks make up your “team.” Spend time with them doing what they like to do.
Now, grab your favorite fall drink, settle down on the couch and watch your favorite, non-sporting event program. Feels good, huh? You can always swim, bike or run tomorrow…or next week…or….