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Triathlete tips

by Brett Nichols, pro triathlete

Brett Nichols has been working at the Landry's Boston store. During his time with us, he earned his elite triathlon license and has competed as a professional ever since. In these Landry's Triathlete Tips, Brett shares what he has learned.

"Put away the Garmin, don't track your stats, and enjoy the outdoors for nature's sake."

Hello, Triathletes –

Congratulations on another season of healthy living and friendly competition!  A few times this year you got up before sunrise and went for a swim, a ride, and a run, and in turn you've said "no" to that bowl of ice cream or that second beer. But now the first snowfall has come and gone, the ice is collecting on your sidewalk, the turkey is carved and everyone's a little drowsy from all the tryptophan. In other words: your season's over. Now is the time for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Sleep in! Eat some more turkey! And have a cookie (or maybe ten). You've earned it!

Step back — and enjoy life!

Now, this may seem counterintuitive to other advice you've heard. There are all kinds of philosophies for the off-season, and different approaches work for different people. But the spirit of the off-season remains the same for everyone: Step back, give your body the time it needs to heal, and enjoy other aspects of your life.

No doubt your four-hour Saturday rides and your 15-mile Sunday runs have taken time and energy away from the friends and family who have been cheering you on all season long. Now's the time to get your energy back, and give it to those who've been supporting you. Moreover, your body will get a much-needed opportunity to heal itself, and you'll squelch inevitable mental burnout, which (if it hasn't hit you yet) will likely set in when the snow starts piling up.

Time off from training:  finding the right balance

Here are a few guiding principles to help you tailor your time off from training:

  • Dial down the discipline and dial up the indulgence (a little). The best way to avoid burnout as you start your next season is to only workout when you want to. No more forcing it.
  • Go for a leisurely winter hike or a casual bike ride with family and friends. Put away the Garmin, don't track your stats, and enjoy the outdoors for nature's sake.
  • Avoid load-bearing activity (like running) to ensure that all your bones and tissue are able to heal from a season of pounding.
  • Don't get carried away. Sure, take a week or two completely off, but stay active and keep your diet mostly healthy.
  • Pay attention to how you feel. If the day comes on the calendar that you planned to restart your training and you're not absolutely dying to get back into it, your "time off" isn't over yet.

Most common training mistakes

How it manifests
  • Virtually no exercise
  • Poor nutrition
  • Lots of staying up late: inadequate sleep
  • Gaining body fat and feeling lousy
How it hurts you
  • Allows for tissue degradation, increasing risk of injury when restarting training
  • Significant losses in aerobic capacity occur, making it more difficult to restart training
How it manifests
  • No break
  • Continued long workouts
  • Continued intense workouts
  • Continued power workouts (strength)
  • High-load focus on swimming, cycling, and running
How it hurts you
  • Results in over-training and chronic fatigue, both physically and mentally

Chart developed in collaboration with Tri-Hard Endurance Coaching.

With any luck, it will be a month into winter and all of those aches and pains you've come to think of as "normal" will be a distant memory. You'll be itching to get back on the bike, likely one that's safely secured to a trainer in your living room. You'll feel re-energized and will be riding hard before you know it.

As folk legend Woody Guthrie always said: "Take it easy, but take it!"

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