Off season panel discussion

Tuesday, I attended my triathlon clubs year end panel discussion. There were 4 speakers who shared their wisdom with us. The topics included Injury, swimming, fun and yoga. Even though i have been a triathlete for a long time, I learned so much listening to the athletes share their stories.

Here is my interpretation from those conversations.

Injuries 

Injuries are never fun. Most triathletes have type A personalities. They have a hard time staying still and resting even when they know it’s important  to give it time to heal. It often takes longer than you would like it to take. Most Doctors and therapists who are not athletes will simply tell you to stop the activity and rest while it heals.  BUT, we all know that with most multi sport athletes, that will not happen.  It’s important to find a therapist or a physician who is also an athlete.  They will understand that multi sport athletes are not capable of just resting and will recommend alternative activities.

When returning back to activity, it’s important to increase the load gradually.  The usual recommendation is not to increase more than 10% per week.  That’s 10% across all of the disciplines not each disciplines. That means that if you increase your run by 10 percent that week, the bike and the swim remain the same. Yes, it’s gong to take a long time to make some gains this way.  But the gains that you will make will be injury free.

It’s important to know that this injury will heal.  You will be able to return to activity.  You just have to be patient.

Swimming

In the off season, it’s important to keep swimming to strengthen the swimming muscles. Of course, your swim sessions will be different in the off season then they are throughout the different training cycles. First, you have to decide what kind of base that you want to maintain.  For the speaker of this topic, let’s call her Maria, she maintains a 1000 meter base twice a week.  That means she gets in the pool for 30 minutes and knocks out 1000 meters.

Breaking that down, she starts with a short warm up, 200-300 meters.  She follows that up with 400 meters of drills, then steady state swimming and a short cool down. Stretching in the shower, holding 2-3 stretches for a minute each. That’s it.  No speed work, no timed sets.

It’s important to strengthen some key swimming muscles out of the pool as well.  These exercises can be done with a theraband at night while watching TV.  It only takes a few minutes 4-5 nights a week, but the benefits will be worth it.  Maria said she has been doing this for years, since her competitive swimming days and she has never been injured.

If you are not sure where to start, ask your chiropractor, physiotherapist or massage therapist for exercises that are specific for your needs.

Basically working on internal & external rotation as well as lats will go a long way.

I found a cool website that has a post about the Top 6 Shoulder Exercises for External Rotation.  Personally, I would start with the motion without any resistance to start then progress to a very light theraband and increase gradually.

Fun & Rejuvenation

The off season is finally here and it’s time to tend to the things that were neglected while we were busy training.  This could be self care or it could be people.

When we are in the peak of training, there is little time for anything else.  Take this time to nurture friendships.  Go out for dinner, stay up a little later, sleep in till you wake up naturally.

Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.  Enjoy being active for the sake of being active.  Go for a bike ride in non Lycra, where you can sit upright like a wine tour. Enjoy cross country skiing.  Reconnect with things that you love but didn’t make the time, like rowing  or reading a book.

This is also time to work on some of your deficits.  Work on strengthening an area of weakness to make gains the following season.  Personally, I am working on strengthening my glutes, (min, med and max) to help with my hip issue.  Ill also be working on stretching out my tight hams and hip flexors…and work on my lats.  I mean, just general and overall strength and conditioning.

Yoga

Yoga is beneficial to most multi sport athletes.  While we think of yoga as being the Asanas, or the poses that we see in classes, there are actually 8 limbs of yoga.  Check out the explanation from the Yoga Journal.

Breath is energy.  There are great resources out there.  Check out Sage Rountree site and videos. She is an endurance athlete and she understands the athletes needs. There are many more out there.  Take the time to explore and ask your fellow athletes for recommendations. Take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

The thing that I absolutely love about being part of a triathlon club is the wealth of knowledge within it.  I am surrounded by many different athletes with various experiences.  When they come together, amazing things happen.  The energy in the room fills my emotional bucket.

Are you part of a triathlon or running club?  Why did you join in the first place and why do you stay?

We would love to hear from you.  Please send us your voice memo (an app on most smart phone) to trichatlg@gmail.com with your story of your triathlon or running club. Be sure to add Triathlon or Running Club in the subject line .

till next time.

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