During the two minutes per day I have to myself I have been thinking about what I did this year that made me faster and where can I make improvements.
The most obvious thing to do is keep on training so that I don't lose to much over the winter, but being consistent is only a small piece of the puzzle. I came up with a few additional goals for the off season that will hopefully improve my overall times next year. Some of my goals may apply to other triathletes and then again, they may not. You decide what works and get it done.
The first thing I want to do is lose about 15 pounds. I lost about 20 ponds this year and I could really feel it on the bike and during my run. I wasn't fat at the beginning of the season but I didn't look like I could finish a half iron man. I am almost as lean as I would like to be now but extra lost lbs will make a big difference. The hardest part of losing weight right now is finding the time to train with all the responsibilities that come with having a new business. For example, I wanted to go run today in the afternoon but stuff came up and I felt guilty about trying to break away for a 45 minute run. I need to work on taking time for myself once in awhile. I don't really need to change my diet at this point I just need to make sure that I burn more calories that I take in. Mark put it best when he said, "during the season I eat to train and during the off season I train to eat".
Second, I need to improve my power to weight ratio. If I increase my strength and lose the 15 pounds I think I can lose, I will be much faster than this past year. This is another challenge because I need to fit this into my routine. Most of the articles I have looked at (yes I can read) say that you should do at least two days of strength training each week. My plan is to cut my run back two days a week to leave time to put in about 45 minutes of intense weight training. I am not power lifting here. I am going to work on putting up 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps. This activity will also aid in my weight lose because strength training will burn fat for a longer period of time after the work out compared to running or other cardiovascular activities. I am not suggesting that you stop your cardio, but to cut it back two days a week and add in 45 minutes of strength training at the gym. I have been using a program I found online that is used by Craig Alexander that includes 12 exercises that takes me about 45 minutes to get through.
Last but not least, I will continue to work on my swim, bike and run technique. I saw my biggest gain this year in the water. I got a small tip during a pool workout one day and shaved a huge block of time off of my swim. My plan this year is to learn more and practice the things that will make me more efficient. I am not looking forward to putting my bike on the trainer but that is a great time to work on some drills to improve your peddling technique. As far as the treadmill is concerned, I am not a big fan. I plan on putting in some good temp runs with the occasional semi speed work out. I will take advantage of every day the temperature gets above 35 and go outside and run. I think most of my running injuries have come from the treadmill.
That is my basic plan for the colder months that can help keep all of us inside and out of the snow. Please comment with any of your thoughts. Keep up the hard work and train smart.