Blog posts tagged with 'offseason'

Offseason Improvements - Triathlon Training

The North America triathlon offseason starts with the last Ironman of the year, Ironman Arizona, and ends with the kickoff of Oceanside 70.3 at the beginning of April. Of course, there are races you can go to around the world such as in Australia and New Zealand yet most athletes in North America are trying to recover after a long racing season. There are some athletes who take this offseason and relish in the time away from training. Others keep the motor running to come into the season without losing too much fitness; each method is up to the individual as far as how they want to spend their time and how their body reacts to inactivity versus continuous motion. One thing that we should all agree upon is if you want to keep improving on your Ironman journey to reach your goals, the offseason should be used to improve on inefficiencies in your training and racing.

At the end of the racing season, you need to evaluate your performance, coaches, consultants, nutrition, hydration, gear, technology, organizational skills, balance and determine where you could improve to shave precious time off your racing. This is what any athlete in any sport does when they have a little time off so that they can get themselves into a better position the next year. Lionel Messi does not sit on his couch when the soccer season is over; the free time that he has is spent improving on his already dominant game. In order to keep improving, you cannot rest on your laurels, even if you are one of the best in the world. Serena Williams, as she gets older, knows she has to train and compete smarter, not harder, so her offseason is spent working on new ways to get better which usually involves boosting her weaknesses.

In my ‘offseason’, I do like to keep the motor running. Exercise and training have always been a part of my life and it rolls on after Ironman Arizona is complete. Yes, it does not make sense to go for long tedious rides a week or two after the last race of the season yet I do continue to move the blood and swim, bike, run and strength train when the season comes to a close. It also is a habit to use my recovery tools like my Recovery Pump boots; when I go home to Ohio for the holidays, I always pack them and use at night when hanging with the family. I go to the local pool and run on the treadmill to keep the blood pumping.

For the offseason of 2016-2017, my goal was to keep strengthening my hamstring, which was a nagging problem in the 2016 racing year, and improve my running off the bike. As women racers continue to improve, you have to be that much stronger in all three disciplines. If the race directors will continue to launch the women so close to the pro and age group men, you have to become that much better to overcome all of these obstacles that these types of situations organically create; the reality is, this practice doesn’t look like it is changing anytime soon so you just can’t worry about interference from these conditions and you have to rise above it.

My offseason consisted of more rehab by utilizing muscle activation technique (MAT) to keep strengthening the hamstring region as well as a more intense running program, compliments of Sean Jefferson, to reaching for that elusive three hour marathon in a full Ironman race. It was important to work with Sean in effort to help me design training programs to focus my attention on this deficiency. I have never focused this much on the running aspect of the triathlon and my comfort was growing in this capacity; preparation and training breeds just that, comfort!  

My first race of the year was Ironman New Zealand in early March and I was ready to see if my offseason preparation could translate into race success. As everyone who has raced triathlon knows, nothing ever goes according to plan. My legs were ready and the muscle memory of the run preparation was there but my body just couldn’t deliver that fast run that I was prepared to do. For some reason, I didn’t have that 2nd gear yet these are the highs and lows of racing; not every time out you will have that magical race. The good thing is that the offseason work will not go away; it has been banked and I look forward to using this knowledge and training in future events. Until that time, all you can do is keep working hard, recovering, repeating and ride the waves!


- Meredith Brooks Kessler, @mbkessler

Is There Really an Offseason?

After Kona, Ironman Arizona and Challenge Bahrain, there have understandably been an increasing number of social media posts about how professionals and age groupers are going into their offseason. This is the time where Type A triathletes can ‘let loose’ a little bit and rest their weary bones. Some athletes will gain some extra weight with zero exercise only to start the training process all over again in January or February to work hard to get back into shape. They might indulge a little in sweets, alcohol, and processed foods (gasp!) but it is all justified because it is the offseason. Other athletes will cut down their volume and enjoy the holiday season. Different training regimens work for different people and everyone has their tried and true methods for how they spend their time away from the sport.

Exercise has been a way of life for me since middle school and it is as natural to me as brushing my teeth. After our last race of 2014 at the wonderful Challenge Bahrain, it was back to normal the next week running easy on the treadmill, 'MBK' style swimming in the pool, strength sessions with Kato, biking indoors to move blood and using my Recovery Pump boots for proper healing of swelled muscles. These outlets are second nature to me, especially as my career, and once again, it is a part of my lifestyle whether it is December or June. This is not to say my offseason is better than others - AT ALL; it is just what works for me. There are an abundance of successful athletes who can take months or weeks at a time completely off and jump back on the horse refreshed, which is great and that works for them. For me, the most refreshed I feel is when we continue on a balanced approach to activity, exercise and of course, training - in order to capitalize on weaknesses in the non-racing month(s).

We view the entire year as one continuous progression with small blips being the races. After every event, you want to analyze, make changes to get better, and then continue on that path to achieve your goals in the sport of triathlon. The objective is to be on a constant upward trajectory with improvements in your time and overall racing. Our 'offseason' consists of evaluating all facets of our business whether it is coaching, nutrition, recovery, training regimen etc…and see what needs to be changed in effort to get better. For instance, my transitions are absolutely awful so I intend to work on this piece of my triathlon racing which can only help down the road. Lebron James doesn’t sit around in the offseason (not comparing myself to Lebron at all - just using him as an example); he works on his game to keep getting better and staying relevant. This year he lost a lot of weight since he wouldn’t be banging around in the paint as much. He adapted his game to his new team.

Although we continue to train during the 'offseason', this is not to say that we can continue with the constant pounding all the way through until the 1st race of 2015. One does need to properly recover - the body isn't always bulletproof as we all know! The body does need to rest and reset itself, and it does need to heal before another full season of racing. Recovery Boots will accompany me to Ohio for the holidays, like they do every year. Even though you are sitting around with family and friends, you can still proactively help your body recover through the holiday season. Our first race of 2015 will be in January so there is a small window to capitalize on proper recalibration of the body and mind. Thus, we are going to maximize that window as much as possible and hopefully hit the ground running for another exciting year!

Wishing you and your families a very happy, safe and enriching holiday season!
- Meredith Kessler