Oh Motivation. . .where are you??
It's November. The days are getting shorter, I haven't seen the sun in nearly a week, I have two full bags of Halloween candy left over from a poor trick-or-treat turn out, and all I want to do is sit on the couch and binge watch A Good Place. . .while polishing off what's left of the Reeses peanut butter cups.
Unfortunately, for most Type A overachieving triathletes, there's often some guilt associated with honoring your body's desire to be less active. Here's the thing. . .it's only fair that, following an intense season of "swim, bike, run, race, repeat," you give your mind and body a chance to exhale. In fact, it might be the smartest thing you can do to set yourself up for a successful 2019! I strongly encourage all my athletes to take two to three weeks off after their last race of the season. Completely off. I know, blasphemy. . .and it's not easy. But now is the perfect time to let those niggles repair, pay attention to your loved ones, make your favorite homemade soup, and get excited for 2019! In essence, we're pressing the reset button, and your body (along with your family and friends) will thank you.
Spend this time in the recliner setting season goals, planning your race calendar, and registering for races (more about that in my next blog). Allow yourself to get caught up on all those back issues of Triathlete magazine that are sitting on the floor next to your trainer. Better yet, go to Indian Ladder Farms and sink your teeth into one of their soft, warm, sugary cider doughnuts. Have two! It's going to be okay.
You'll know when it's time to get moving, and so will the folks around you. I remember once, after a long day at work, my middle child bravely telling me that I should go for a run. Ironically, twenty years later, he's an athletic counselor and soon to be a licensed psychologist. Most of us just feel better when we're moving. We eat better, we're less anxious, we have more energy, we're better able to focus, we sleep more soundly. . .and we're nicer people.
To help get you through the dark days ahead, and bridge the gap between recovery and structure, here's a few suggestions to help you find your mojo and get you moving:
- Get outside and do something active every day. Fresh air, sunlight and physical activity will help activate neurochemicals, such as endorphins and endocannabinoids, which elevate our mood.
- Try something new. . .and leave the Garmin at home. It's healthy to challenge the brain and body with new movement patterns. Slow things down with some vinyasa/yin yoga. Learn to tap dance. Lace up your ice skates. Go for a walk in the woods!
- Find a buddy to sweat with. We tend to be more socially isolated during the winter months. Make a point of doing at least one workout a week with someone who makes you smile. It will hold you accountable and keep your competitive juices flowing.
- Fuel your body with nourishing foods. When we eat like crap we feel like crap. It's time to remove the Halloween candy from the house. Bring it to the office. . .it will disappear in no time! When you nourish your body with wholesome foods you're more likely to follow that up with other healthy behaviors. But don't fret over gaining a few pounds during the winter months, especially if you raced ultra lean last season. Our body requires an essential amount of fat for energy production and hormone regulation.
- Focus on your limiters. Take advantage of extra time and local opportunities to hone in on the things that may be holding your performance back. Register for a class at Excel Aquatics to improve your swim technique. Start a focused strength and conditioning program. Get a running gait analysis.
As for me, I'll be working on waking up my lazy glutes and increasing hip mobility this winter. . .but I'll also be patient with my temporary lack of mojo. I want to be biting at the bit to see my first block of workouts in TrainingPeaks this January, and I want that excitement to carry me through to September. What will YOU be doing?