Winter is the time of the year when our bodies and minds take a break from the long days of sunshine and outdoor activities. We rest, eat, and revitalize, while thinking about what lies ahead for the spring and summer. For triathletes that means less long days of exercising, longer days sitting on the couch, and the inevitable loss of the previous season’s fitness base. Well for many of us with early season races, the training has already begun. For the rest of you, lacking motivation to get out and resume your training, the time has come to break out the putty knife and pry your butts off the couch!
If you start off slow and easy, this doesn't have to be as painful as you think. Early season training can start with a 3-4 mile run, a 30 minute swim, or just an easy hour bike ride. We train and race hard, so we end the season tired, physically and mentally exhausted, which sticks in our minds, giving us cause to put off getting back out and focusing on our training. By starting off slow and easy, we remind ourselves why we're in this sport to begin with, the simple pleasure of moving through time and space in the water while we swim, and on land when we bike and run. But maybe even that thought isn't enough to move you to head outside, what else motivates us?
Like most competitive people, the possibility of improving on our past athletic performances is a major driving force, so setting new goals and creating training plans to reach those goals, is another good reason to step outside and restart your training. In turn you may find the need to train with other people to help motivate you, and they're probably sitting at home on their own couch, so the sooner you all meet and agree to begin training together, the sooner each of you will begin to see the improvements you're looking for to reach your goals. Still need a reason to head outside?
How about you signed up for a "name your race distance" triathlon that you've never done before, so maybe it's time you started training to build the base you need to actually finish the race and not hate life during it? Whether you race to just finish, race to improve on your previous best placing, or race to set a new PR, early season base building, long easy rides and runs, building an aerobic base, will pay rewards all season, especially if you're moving up in distance. Need more still?
Okay, this is a really good one, but it only comes around every five years, you're aging up into a new age group. Being the young kid in your age group is always a great reason to go out and push your training. You don't have to be shooting for a podium finish to care about aging up; you just have to care enough about representing yourself in your new age group. And if you do happen to improve on your position relative to the rest of the pack? Well that's just the icing on the cake, the reward for putting in the extra effort. Still not convinced it’s time to head outside to train? You're a tough audience, but I've got one more idea.
Who got you involved in the sport of triathlon, who was your mentor? What would they tell you while you sat around and watched every BCS football game with a plate of nachos and a bucket of cervezas parked in front of you? Well if they weren't Bama or LSU alumni, they'd probably wonder how you were going to fit in last year’s SB Tri Club racing gear! So for one last time, put down the remote control, head outdoors and rejoin all your old buds, and restart your training for the New Year!
Happy 2012 everyone, here's to another great year of racing and training in Santa Barbara and beyond. Let's make your hopes and dreams for the New Year ring true.
Fred Maggiore, USAT Coach