Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Welcome to the Pain Cave. Off season blues and short-term objectives.

Yesterday should officially have been the first day of my "off season", but because of illness and my inability to run the Outer Banks Half Marathon on Sunday, I have essentially been in a forced off-season since I competed in Rev.3 SC on October 14th.

I had visions of putting my feet up a little, having a few beers and enjoying the Autumn weather, but instead I have been fighting off a nasty bug; dealing with contractors trying to put our house back together after we had water damage from a blown boiler and generally having a lot of "real" work to do as well.  Ah well, so much for a leisurely few weeks off!  At least my legs should be rested as, other than one eight mile run, a couple of shorter runs and some spinning on the trainer, I have done very little over the past month.

Anyway, it's time to get back on the horse (or, perhaps more accurately, the bike) and start my off-season program.  It's amazing how different I feel when I don't get to do my workouts - definitely a kind of "funk"!  I am going to be self-coached for a while (more on this and my plans for the 2013 season later) and so need to get my act together and plan what I will be doing between now and the New Year.   Conventional wisdom says that "a change is as good as a rest" and that it's good to stay active, but to change things up a little from the daily grind of an intensive training program. Mountain biking instead of the tri bike;  trail running or hiking instead of road work and so on.  While I subscribe to this and intend to keep-up my swim, bike and run or a slightly more casual basis than usual, I also have plans to address two of my key limiters:  core strength and flexibility.

Yes folks, it will be of little surprise to many of you (especially those of you in my age bracket - you know who you are!) but I am not exactly this person.....

...or this one:

...but I intend to do something about it before "real" training starts for next season.  OK, so I'm realistic enough to realise that I'm never going to be able to bend over backwards like that or turn the ladies' heads on the beach, but I sure as heck can try to get myself in better shape and "training ready" to start the 2013 season.  

Along with this, I am determined to lose a little more weight and break the 190 lb barrier (I think that somewhere around 185 is probably a good early season race weight for me).   For some reason I have been able to get down to around 190 (and to generally maintain things there or thereabouts) but I can never quite break through into the 180s.   Now's the time!

So, how am I going to go about things in the off season?   Firstly, and importantly, I will still swim, bike and run, just on a somewhat reduced schedule and with less intensity.  Hopefully I will still be going on my Sunday morning adventures into the NC counytryside with Compass and Fratboy (and, hopefully, Snort?).  I'll still be doing lots of drills at the pool and still running the hills around home.  The big change, however, is that I am going to start a serious program of strength and flexibility work.   For six days a week between now and the New Year I will alternate between a flexibility session and a strength session based primarily on Mark Verstegen's Core Performance series, but with a good measure of TRX and yoga thrown in!  Lots of low weight, high repetition work to start out.

Now I suck at going to the gym and, quite frankly, don't really enjoy the "vibe" at a lot of local establishments, so over the weekend it was time to dust off some of the equipment that I have had in storage and to set-up the "Pain Cave" in my workshop!   Not the prettiest surroundings, but it now looks something like this:

Free weights, weight bench, TRX, Swiss ball and Concept 2 ergometer.   That should do it!

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