A triathlete’s “offseason”

Reflecting on your triathlon season

By WAC Triathlon Coach Julie Vieselmeyer

Tri Season 2021  2This past weekend marked the end of triathlon season in the Pacific Northwest, with Ironman 70.3 Washington and the Beaver Lake Triathlon. Whether or not you had the opportunity to race this summer, the crisp morning air, cooler lake temperatures, and darker evenings are likely making you aware that fall is here and it’s time for a transition to the “offseason.” As a triathlete intent on honing their skills in three sports—not to mention also perfecting their strength training and nutrition—there really is no time off. However, fall is an excellent time to reflect, plan, and do some things differently. Consider the following as you move into this fall season:

1. Reflect on tri season 2021

  • What went well and what didn’t? Consider both your performance in all three sports as well as your training—including schedule, frequency, volume, and intensity. Fall can be a great time to improve a weakness or seize the opportunity to focus more intensely on one area.
  • How’s your health? It’s time to address any injuries and establish a strong body and foundation for training and competing in 2022.
  • How’s your mindset? Be honest about your current motivation to train. It’s normal to feel energized or have some burnout after a race season. Your psychological state should influence your fall plan.

2. Make a plan

Think ahead to next tri season. Picture what you want to accomplish and imagine how it would look and feel. Perhaps you want to go longer or faster (who doesn’t?), or complete on a new race course. Start to create outcome and performance goals. Then, work backwards to establish some process goals; these are the pieces that make it all happen. Along the way, be sure to consider how your goals and overall plan fit in with the rest of your life— including family, work, holidays, travel, and other interests. This framework will help determine weekly and daily plans that ensure you will be on track when race season arrives.

3. Try something new

As a triathlon coach with over 20 years of experience, I can tell you that one of the cornerstones of successful training is repetition. How does something new fit in? It does not mean kickboxing seven days per week in preparation for your next sprint tri; it does mean taking an honest look at how your responses fit with your plan. For example, if you are experiencing some burnout on the bike, you might consider focusing on swimming, running, and strength training, which could include a kickboxing class once a week; and you might pencil in a start date for getting back on your trainer or to spin class by December or January. Something new might include competing in a running event, doing a few sessions with a personal trainer to spice up your strength-training routine, buying gear (with that travel budget you likely haven’t used), or even training in some new locations such as one of the amazing local or state parks in our area. Novelty, physically and psychologically, offers a chance for learning and growth as well as to enhance motivation and pleasure—all of which contribute to a long, healthy participation in our sport.

Finally, as you transition into fall, continue to check in with yourself and see if your transition is having the desired effect—and don’t be afraid to adjust! I’m wishing you a season of recovery, rejuvenation, and preparation for an even better 2022. Happy training!

—Julie Vieselmeyer (aka TriCoachJulie)


—Posted September 20, 2021; JC.

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