Going To The Dogs
November and December of each year is my traditional off season from any sort of regular, planned, and fretted-over athletic events or training. Being in the northern hemisphere, this fits the annual cycle of cooler weather, family requirements, less daylight, year-end work deadlines, and many holidays.
2015 is unique because I have already spent the five weeks since Ironman 70.3 Augusta rehabbing injuries suffered in the last part of the triathlon season. My rehabilitation from lower leg and deltoid muscle strains has forced me to abandon basically all physical activity except easy yoga and walking the dogs. There are definitely lessons to be learned before the 2016 season; and I am exploring them now.
So what is my exact November checklist?
Rest and recovery while staying active: As mentioned above, this is time to stop stressing and start healing. Lots of folks like to cross train with mountain biking, hiking, basketball, whatever. I like to walk Ellie at the park; she likes it too.
Pay attention to others: Endurance athletics is a deeply personal and selfish endeavor. Now is the time to NOT BE THAT GUY. My wife and kids really like this time of year. So does Brook.
Plan your 2016 season: Most of us are goal oriented and are helped along this process by signing up for races. Time to get that done. Sit down with the support team (aka family and coach) and figure out what are the athletic priorities for your upcoming season. Break out the credit card and sign up for one or two “A” races. Now you can brag to your family around the Thanksgiving table about how you are going to qualify for Kona at IM Texas. Sir Syrus (or uncle Bob) will question your sanity.
Get professional help: Every one of us can benefit from the expertise and opinions of others. Besides spending a lot of time with my chiropractor, massage therapist, and PT this fall, I also plan to get a bike fitting from Micah at Georgia CycleSport (it has been two years), join a master’s swimming class (thank you for insisting, Coach BigBad), and have a running stride analysis from Jimbo Woods at Horizon Physical Therapy. Merry Christmas to me, and, hopefully, a happier New Year.
Upgrade equipment and techniques: How many folks go to their A race, buy a hot new pair of running shoes at the expo, and suffer mightily the following day? Now is the time of year to plan, buy, or try new stuff like nutrition protocols, gear, transition set up, et cetera. Blueberry (and your feet) will thank you.
Coaching: Whether you have a coach or you coach yourself, this is the time of year to be coached. Review everything about 2015: equipment, training, races, results, travel, injuries… all of it. What have you learned? What will you do more of or less of? What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can you improve? Do you need help and from who? How will you achieve the goals you have set for 2016 while remaining sane, staying gainfully employed, and, most importantly, loved by your family?
This is a great time of year and I hope you make full use of it. Cheers! And feel free to scratch Galileo on your way out.