As your triathlon season winds down you may be wondering what to do with all your new free time, or where you should go from here. I feel that after several months of intensive training it is imperative to take some time off and recuperate your body, mind, and soul to prevent burnout. However, that doesn't mean setting up camp in front of the tele with a bag of pork rinds and embarking on a Netflix marathon.
While your season is technically over it doesn't mean stop training all together, but rather, stop focused training. As the temperature starts to drop it is a good time to get out your mountain bike and do some trail riding. Not only is your mountain bike lonely, but trail riding will make you a more efficient cyclist as peddling up a sandy hillside takes a lot of fines and hammering on the pedals in a high gear won't cut it. Also, weather that makes for a chili ride at high speeds on a road bike is perfect for the slower speeds of trail riding. When it gets too cold to ride out doors attend some spin classes which are a great way to get a quality work out in a small amount of time.
If you have been wanting to trail run now is the perfect time, go out and take in some nature at a leisurely pace... run just for the fun of it!!! Maybe you could participate in some local fun runs. Roller blade, do some hiking, when snow falls... snowshoe.
Unfortunately there isn't really a substitute for swimming, but, you don't need to do it as frequently as you were during your training, that is of course unless you want to. Just know that there is no need to feel guilty if you decide to sleep in instead of going to the 5:30 masters swim every now and then.
Fall and winter are the perfect time to get back into the weight room and work on deficiencies or imbalances that may have been exposed over the season. Running and cycling are linear activities in which the prime movers (muscles involved) get disproportionately exercised while the stabilizer muscles may get neglected. Now is a good time to incorporate exercises that work your adductors, abductors, shoulders, and back.
Most importantly take pride in your accomplishments over the past season, take care of your self, and don't become a couch potato. Next February, when it is time to start focused training again, you will be healed, rejuvinated, and have the same affection for the sport that you did when you first decided to tri.