Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Staying motivated in the off season

A layoff period is recommended during the training year; usually after a major milestone race or when the racing season has come to an end. Its when to restart the training and get back into the groove the daily routine that many of us push off.

For me the layoff period won't happen now until after December 6th; since I'm doing a late season race competing in the North Face endurance run; but usually I would take a few weeks in October/November off and start training again in mid-November to give myself about 12 weeks of a build cycle leading up to the racing season. This year is going to be a challenge; and I may not see much of a layoff period; looking at my calendar and what training program my coach has put together for me.

For those who are trying to get back into a routine; and your finding that life is getting hectic and your pushing that run off one more day. These workouts and suggestions can help you gradually get back into your training habit may it be for running or cycling.

Get some races on the calendar; plan out a few 5K, 10K, and even half marathons early in the year just so that you have some milestone to aim for leading up to either that marathon or triathlon. For cyclists the season can be extended by racing in cyclocross races; which is short in distance and is great for endurance building. Additionally start planning on what you intend on competing in for the up coming year; this provides that little shot of motivation when you start to look at a laid out training plan.

Start with short runs or rides; build up with five to twenty minute bursts of sprints or fast pace to give you that energy boost. Alternate with every sprint or fast run a spin or slow jog for a couple minutes. This will help in building back up a base until it things start to feel more natural again.

Change up the routine by scouting out new trails or routes to run or ride; this adds new excitement maybe allows you to see new neighborhoods or the outdoors that has a little more of the season to show. I would race with a group between blocks doing something called the Santa ride; sprinting from one house to another using the holiday decorations as a marker.

For the more competitive athlete who feels that they need extra motivation to get out; check out the site trainingpeaks; it provides you access to a variety of coaches who have designed training plans that may be suited for you. The cost various; for me I think its around 99.00 to 150.00 dollars for a 12 week training plan. Getting the daily reminders along with money paid out is motivation enough to get back into things.

Find a group to run or ride with. Check out the local bike or running shops; always a bulletin board that have meet ups for rides or runs; find one that suits you.

Schedule the training and group activities on your calendar; that way your more likely to stick with them. Easier said then done? I have found that by scheduling these on my calendar; I have kept up with not skipping a run or ride, its become part of my daily routine. I also will lead a group ride; which makes it less likely to skip since others are then waiting on you.

Again make it fun; get back into the routine slowly if you need to. Find a workout that fits into your schedule that will help you gradually get back into the routine and not leave you feeling slugish.

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