Winter Training Woes

The ‘off season’ of triathlon is defined differently in different parts of the country, and each athlete treats it differently.  For those of us in the North East, we had a pretty rough off season this year in terms of temperature and snowfall.  Much of our training, for those of us who continue to follow stringent training plans twelve months a year, was limited to only what we could do indoors.  Running on the treadmill, setting our bikes up on our indoor trainers, and swimming mindlessly in our local pools was just about all we could accomplish for the better part of the last 3 or 4 months.

Personally, I try to get outdoors as often as i can regardless of the weather conditions, but this year had been more brutal than usual.  Traditionally, so long as the temperature hovers around freezing, I’ll layer up and get out for my runs, but keep my rides indoors.  However, that was not the case for most of this year.  Not only was the weather and road conditions terrible, I battled some achilles tendonitis for the better part of January and February and was strictly limited to swimming and biking.  And I will tell you, it sure got boring.  Filling a 10-15 hour training week with only pool and trainer sessions can be mentally exhausting, but ironman training is not only physical, but also mental.

For the first time, I am training for the 2015 race season with the help of a coach.  I have been self coaching myself for the last four seasons, and must say I am pretty proud of how far I’ve come over those four years…completing two iron-distance triathlons, several half-distance, and countless shorter races.  But, as they say, the first ironman is to prove you can do it, the second is to prove it wasn’t a fluke, and the third is to take at least an hour off your finish time.  Lake Placid 2015 will be my third ironman, so I’m chasing that one hour PR.

Over the past few days, the temperature has slowly been creeping up and with daylight savings time having passed, there are more daylight hours to train after I get home at night.  The outdoor training that is about to come will be the first test of what fitness was gained during those winter sessions on the treadmill and the bike trainer, and they can’t come soon enough.  Now that the weather is improving, all thats left is for some more snow to melt and some minor patchwork on the local roads.

As I get back to the great outdoors this spring, there are only a few things on my mind, and they are the mantras of my coach and of Organic Endurance.  1. Redefine What’s Comfortable 2. Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable and 3. Suffer Now, Celebrate Later.

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