Autumn is upon us far too quickly but most of you will have enjoyed the race season, be pleased with your race performances and looking forward to resting and relaxing – maybe treating your long-suffering partner to a specially planned (or cooked!) meal, booking romantic weekends away, working your way through the list of neglected household chores (storing up more training and racing time for next season) and spending quality time with those important people who get neglected.
Some of you may be tapering in preparation for your main race of the season? Others may not be so pleased with performances this season and may benefit from a boost in motivation by taking on another challenge to try and beat that PB or boasting work colleague (we all have them!) before the season is over! Or, will you be beating your self up, getting more earache from friends & family, not addressing that recurring soreness in your foot and not having that much needed break?
Whatever level you race at a break should be a priority at some point in the year, same as within every week, and every training cycle. You should be reviewing your season of training and racing so far and learning from the experiences.
Reviewing the season
What were YOUR goals and which ones did you achieve?
Why, what went well?
Which ones didn’t you achieve?
Why, what didn’t go so well?
What have you learnt that you can take into your next race and next season?
Answering the above questions and acting on them will help improve your performances on any remaining races this season and also prepare you better for next season. Being able to quantify goals is really important, so that you can be critical about what went wrong – and right! – about them. You can explain away issues or point to holes in your training, or work commitments that have caused issues. Or if things went well, then how you can build on what you’ve been doing!
Autumn and winter planning
Most of you will be looking at dates for next year already and decided from your race experiences this season what distances work best for you and no doubt already entered popular events that fill up quickly for 2014. But how many of you have thought about making time to plan your autumn and winter training? When you ‘eventually’ enter your R & R period you need to sit down and plan how you are going to spend your time over the coming months.
What areas do you need to work on?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Most of us need to spend more time in the saddle, so why not schedule in some mountain biking in with friends or enter an off road duathlon. Cyclocross is also great fun through the winter and races are no more than an hour long, so great to fit in with family stuff. These events can be great motivators over the dark months especially when you beat your ‘traditional’ cycling friends that are always saying ‘triathletes can’t ride bikes’!
If you need to improve your swimming, book in for video analysis or 1-1 session with a coach (hopefully me if you’re local!) and cross-country and off road running events are great to maintain running fitness and strength over the winter.
Top tips to stay motivated over the darker months
Enter some events for fun or simply because they are different to what you normally do, maybe try a new sport? There are plenty of options!
Try a cyclosportive. These are organised bike events where the emphasis is less on time and more on getting around
Help prevent injuries and hit the gym for strength & conditioning (if you don’t have time or access there are plenty of exercises you can do at home that will benefit, do ask me, or someone that you trust)
Get together those Sunday ride buddies that may have been too busy over the summer to ride, ride for coffee and cake!
Make the most of the daylight over the weekends
Take a break to allow your body to recover and motivation rise naturally for the next season
Make time for friends and family!
Above all make sure whatever you do in the next few months is fun. If you’re planning for the new year, the last thing you want to be doing is slogging your guts out and draining yourself mentally, and feeling burnt out when spring comes around and the sunshine is back!