Got To Have An Exit Strategy

downloadLittle over a week ago I concluded my 2013 triathlon season at the Amelia Island Olympic triathlon (details here).  While it had a disappointing conclusion, I can honestly say I have had a great first season as an athlete.  I follow allot of aspiring and armature athlete and triathlete blogs and for the past couple of months, one by one, the end of the season has been the focus in numerous posts.  I picked a very late season race to finish my race so I am just now getting to the end of my season.  One thing I noticed in a good deal of these blogs was an occasional sense of loosing control and letting go.  I noticed a fear of letting things go too far, diet and training  wise.  What I realized from reading the tribulations of other bloggers was that I needed an exit strategy, a plan to handle my off season.

The off season is basically, in my opinion a time to recharge and get ready to start training again.  Its a time to loose or loosen the schedule and refocus.  For me the off season provides an opportunity to reconnect with the wife and buy me some much needed points with the wife that can be spent later when training ramps back up.  Of course its also a time to heal and fully recover.  Most of the literature indicates the off season should be unscheduled workouts, with reduced training hours.  But I cannot go completely unscheduled and without goals.  I need those to get me to the start of next seasons training.

To keep me focused and on track I have decided that I will focus on preparing for a half marathon on Thanksgiving.  Thus this will shift my workouts from three bike, swim and run workouts to focusing intensity into my running.  Additionally, during my triathlon training I often do not get much time for weights, so I will ramp up that effort as well, keeping this in the high repetitions range.  While I will have a basic schedule it involves very little of swimming and biking, maybe a high intensity or technique workout each week.

The other part of this plan is to break my weight loss plateau.  I seem to have a very difficult time with weight loss during my triathlon season and currently I sit somewhere between 288-294.  I think with a reduction in long endurance workouts and an increase in high intensity interval training, along with a careful calorie restricted diet, I should be able to slim down a bit more before beginning the next phase of training.  For now I plan to shoot for a flat 280 by January first.  That would be ten pounds in a little over two months.  Should be able to loose more, but I want to keep this goal simple for right now, as the holidays are around the corner.

Key Exit Strategy Components

  1. Running is the focus and should involve a pacing workout, interval workout and long workout.  This will lead to the Atlanta half to be ran on Thanksgiving day!
  2. Reduce biking and swimming to one workout a week.  Might go for a weekend ride, but this is for fun without a training goal.
  3. Two weight sessions a week, sticking to low weight and high reps.  Third session will be cardio/total body Aqua fit class in the middle of the week.
  4. Need to do allot of stretching and foam rolling to heal the hips a bit more.
  5. One Pilates session per week
  6. Careful diet watching calories and making smart food choices, want to get to 280 by end of year.
  7. Start planning next season
  8. Have fun and do not get too focused on numbers, its the off season.

That’s pretty much my exit strategy and what I plan to do to prepare for the next round of training.  In my opinion this is organized and goal driven without the push for volume that my usual training had this year.  This should keep me challenged but allow me to refresh my energy concurrently.  I tried to identify off season goals that could have a slightly different tone and focus and I think I have succeeded pretty well with that.  By the time January rolls around I will be good and ready for some hard and long training sessions.  Til next time.

Do you have an after season exit strategy? Advice for mine? Leave it in the comments please.

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16 comments

  1. That sounds like a recipe for success. I have got to get in the gym again after the wedding and start amping up for next season. Keep it up!

    1. Will be fun to go back to weights for a bit and to focus on mostly running again. Hopefully some of the weight will come off.

  2. Hi, is low weights and high reps better for your muscles/tendons/ligaments? Just wondering because if I’m increasing weights at the gym would this be better or not so good. Thanks! 🙂

    1. First off I am not a trained expert, what I know is from internet searching and other people with initials after their names. So take this with a grain of salt as here is what I understand.

      When you lift high reps/low weight you are forcing more of an endurance reaction as your muscles are having to repeat the motion more frequently. There was an argument about toning at one point in time, but from my understanding this is really about forcing the muscles to enhance their endurance.

      The other method of lifting is high weight and low reps. This is the classic weight lifter scheme designed to increase overall strength. But the trade off is decreased endurance.

      Allot of it is explained here: http://www.builtlean.com/2012/07/19/high-reps-vs-low-reps/

      I am pulling my workout plan from Joe Friel’s Triathlon Training Bible as have relied on that for much of my training. Not sure about benefit on muscles/tendons/ligaments. Can tell from experience that I still feel the stress on those parts, just takes longer, like the last 10 reps of a 30 rep set.

      Not sure if this helped.

      1. Thanks for the information! Yeah it makes sense! I didn’t think for endurance, I thought once there stronger I should be able to run for longer…I know that’s true in a sense but thanks for the info! Much appreciated 🙂

        1. Just did the first workout today, focusing on 20-30 reps with a light to medium weight for 5 sets and I will say it was tough. Hardest thing was dropping my bench press to the bar with no weights so I could focus on getting as many reps as possible. Looked wimpy and felt really light to start with, by the time I was done, felt super heavy.

          From a triathlon/endurance perspective you want to work on not bulking up, but getting the muscle to fire and endure additional weight longer.
          Thanks for the comment.

  3. Strength is always a big focus of my off season as well as a lot of form focus and strength based work in each discipline. I always have big goals for my cycling and swimming each year so I put a lot of time in the pool to hone my swim techniques in order to decrease times and then lots of drills on the bike to boost neuromuscular pathways and better my techniques.
    I’m getting too old to spend a lot of time worrying about my run speed. It ends up causing too many injuries. I find by simply being consistent, remaining uninjured, and being stronger in general I become faster each year….especially over long distance which is what I enjoy racing the most.
    Enjoy the off season….the change in focus is just what the body needs to regroup and be ready for racing when the time comes!

  4. kruzmeister · · Reply

    Sounds like a great plan Chatter and I agree mate, the end of the season, particularly when it is your first can seem like a period of mourning. I think reducing the bike to ‘fun’ rides only is a good move and you will be able to handle the half marathon training no problem. In regards to your diet, may I suggest you have a look at the paleo diet, it tends to strip weight off consistently and will teach your body to burn fat more readily than just carbs. Joe Friel has a good book out on the Paleo Diet for athletes, he suggests a 80% paleo 20% carb ratio, so you’ll have enough energy, but still will be a fat burning machine. Enjoy your off season my friend!

    Oh and btw, I nominated you for the WordPress Family Award – http://meltdowntoironman.com/2013/10/22/wordpress-family-award/

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