When race season comes to an end, a break from your training schedule may be exactly what you need. At the same time, you may be asking, “Now what?” The post-race season is the ideal time to shift your attention to these five activities that are sure to enhance your training but sit on the back burner in the spring and summer.
Take your bike in for a post-season tune up. Your bicycle has been working hard for you over the past six months. Say thank you by dropping it off at the local shop*. A good tune-up will not only will prolong the life of your bike, but also decrease the chance for flats, breakdowns and crashes. Taking good care of your bike is taking good care of yourself, and now is the perfect time!
*Our favorite bike shop: Northwest Tri and Bike (of course!)
Start resistance training. Who has time for weights when long rides and runs are your top priorities? If you have been on the fence about adding resistance training to your workouts, now is a good time to experiment. Substitute a fraction of the time you have been spending in the saddle for time at the gym and experience the benefits of anaerobic training for endurance athletes yourself.
Try yoga. Weights aren’t the only way to enhance your training with something anaerobic. Yoga can help endurance athletes in a myriad of ways including improving dynamic balance (important for running), mastering breathing techniques to lower your heart rate and increase cardiovascular endurance, and learning new approaches to enduring physical discomfort. Incorporating a basic yoga routine post-races and after long workouts can also help reduce inflammation and prevent overuse injuries. The benefits of yoga are virtually endless and you don’t even have to leave home* to try it!
*Our favorite at home yoga videos: Yoga With Adriene (and they are even free!)
Buy new running shoes. If your shoes have been with you since you since the rain turned to sun last spring, they are probably done. Before the financial pressure of the holidays and before you end up with a pesky case of plantar fasciitis from believing you are an exception to the six-month rule, head to the running store* and let the experts fit your feet to a new pair. You can shop stress-free, break your new shoes in slowly and reward your feet with the support they deserve.
*Our favorite spot for the perfect fit and other great running gear: Roadrunner Sports
Get that nagging pain checked out (for free!). What better time to take care of that pain in your knee that you hope will just go away now that you are done racing? Time off is usually not the solution to low-level, persistent pains. Overuse injuries such as tendonitis or joint pain may subside with a reduction in mileage, but until the root cause of the pain is identified (usually a muscle imbalance of some kind), the same pain will rear its ugly head again when you ramp up your training schedule next spring. Treat yourself to a free consult with a physical therapist* and take care of that nagging pain. It won’t get better on its own!
*Visit www.outpatientpt.com to find a clinic near you and schedule a free consultation with a licensed physical therapist.