the nuts and bolts of your season. You may not be able to afford a year-round coach but you can certainly use one effectively in a week-long
training camp. It can also provide a much-needed mental and physical
boost for those dealing with harsh winter conditions. Spend some time
now researching your options online as every year there are more and
more to camps to choose from. Be mindful of what your preferences
are, be it location, low athlete-to-coach ratio or camp focus.
Goal-setting. Planning and goal-setting are closely intertwined
and happen simultaneously. The selection of races naturally begins to
generate specific objectives. You want to finish your first Ironman 70. 3
in June? Then certain mileage targets need to be laid out. You want
an age-group podium at Kona in October? Then a progression of race
simulation test sets at specific paces are required.
Your goals can be as simple or as complex as you want, but if you
don’t feel fired up and motivated thinking about them, you might be
looking in the wrong direction. Regardless, effective goal setting must
ultimately lead you back to the present moment—the place from which
you begin. An end goal of competing in an Ironman will have many
process goals to get you there, whether it be pacing benchmarks, or a
certain number of miles you want to hit by a certain date.
So what is it you want to accomplish this season, and how are you
going to get there? Could you write it down, or explain it to a friend?
As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.
January training. This is the time of year when anything seems possible and a brand new year lies before you with a fresh, clean slate. Athletes
are dreaming of everything from Kona slots to their first XTERRA finish.
With a period of rest and recovery under your belt, you should also have
energy to spare. Depending on when you plan to start your race season,
however, it may still be wise to control the reins somewhat.
Be sure to keep your volume at no more than 70–85 percent of your
maximum in-season volume. Return to consistent swim, bike and run
training, while still keeping a session or two per week of something fun
and non-triathlon-specific. Training intensity should be at the lower
end of your aerobic threshold and sessions in each sport should be focused on technique and building sport-specific strength. Sets with the
pull buoy and paddles in the pool, big gear work on the bike and hill
repeats on the run are all great workouts to introduce during this time.
You should also begin your core, flexibility and strength training
programs around the start of the new year. If you haven’t tried yoga or
Pilates, this period of reduced training volume is an ideal time to try
something new that can (and should) become a staple in your training
regimen. Additionally, I encourage my athletes to return to their regular
recovery routine in January, which may include ice baths, compression
boots and tights, and regular massage.
If you plan to race in late March or early April—perhaps the Oceanside
70. 3—then now is a good time to begin your swim-bike-run focus (see
February/March Training below). Be careful though—if your goal is to
race consistently throughout the entire summer and into fall, you need to
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