For most of us the triathlon season is over. The warm temperatures are fading, and we are moving into the dark and rainy season. Only the toughest or insane will gut out a 4 or 6 hour ride in 45 degrees and rain.
Hopefully you had a great year of accomplishment and success! If you did, congratulations! If you did not, there is next year.
It has been my experience that it is close to impossible to push hard and remain competitive for the entire year. We all know people that have pushed hard for a few consecutive years, but then the inevitable sets in. Looks to me if there is not a period of rest or maintenance of a reasonable degree of fitness, your rest will be imposed on you in the form of an injury or burnout. Who wants that?
Your body is an amazing organism that can adapt to most stresses put on it if it is done in a reasonable manner. However, it can only take so much abuse and stress before it starts to break down. Downtime is essential.
Downtime can be your enemy. Packing on a bunch of extra weight and de-conditioning can happen in a flash. Then getting yourself out the door is not so easy. To think next spring you can go from 5 months on the couch to pull off a great race time is unreasonable.
Doing the same routine gets boring eventually. And your body also will adapt to the new norm unless either you push it to new heights of achievement (see how that is a bad idea above) or you need to break it up a bit and do something different. The variety is good for your head and your body.
So, before you settle in and chow down that bag of chips in front of the TV to prepare yourself for the future of Christmas cookies, consider this:
What is a reasonable time per week to spend working out in some form?
What is your weak spot? What can you do to make it better?
What else can you do to stay fit besides the routine of swimming, biking and running?
I think it is reasonable to pick events coming up in the next few months and sign up for them. Most however, will be on foot (ugh). If a marathon or other distance is on your radar in the future, sign up for one. It does not have to be a record breaker. Maybe it would be fun to run a race with your buddies just to run it.
Consider riding dirt events. No traffic and not weather dependent. Riding in the wet is way more comfortable in the woods than on the road.
An event a month will keep your head in the game, your body fit and ready for whatever you may throw at it later.
Make plans! If something is on the calendar, you have a much better probability you will get done what you need to to meet the fitness deadline. Something inside you will click and get you moving.