This article about your Off Season might be from a little while ago, but all of the habits are still good one!! Check out this article that was originally posted on the Ironman website about 4 habits to pick up on your off season.
This series is presented by Arctic Ease
by Sage Rountree
Whether your off season begins at the finish line on Ali’i Drive or has been in effect for a few months already, this is the time to establish habits that can enhance your recovery for the 2015 race season. Good recovery habits are critical when your training ramps up; now, when things are not as intense, is the time to make them a part of your everyday routine. Here are some worth fostering.
1. Sleep a lot
It’s patently obvious that sleeping more will aid your recovery. But when you’re in the full swing of your busy season, sleep is often the first thing you sacrifice. Take the time in the off season to develop good sleep habits. Go to bed and get up around the same time each day, and shoot for eight to nine hours a night.
2. Eat well
Again, this is an obvious decision—but smart nutrition often gives way to convenience foods when you are in periods of heavy training. Take these steps now to develop good eating patterns.
Expand your repertoire. With less training outside and more free time on your hands, learn some new recipes, new techniques, or new cuisines. Take a cooking class—better still, do it with your family. Mastering these skills now will make them second nature when your season heats up.
Make changes. If you’ve been considering eating vegetarian or vegan, or cutting out gluten, try these changes now, so that you can observe their effects on the body without sabotaging your training quality. Shifting your diet now gives your body time to adapt before big training sessions.
Choose anti-inflammatory foods. Instead of reducing inflammation with NSAIDs, aim to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Emphasize fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, fish and nuts heavy in Omega-3 fatty acids, and avoid saturated fats and processed foods as much as you can.
Eat real food to support workouts. When you’re deep in high-volume training, meals seem to come in wrappers and bar form—and sports drinks replace water. These products certainly have their use, but the off-season is a good time to cut back and to experiment with a homemade granola mix instead of a sports bite, a few bites of dried fruit instead of a gel, or using plain water instead of sports drink. If you botch the snacks and bonk, you won’t have wasted a critical training session, and you will have learned about your physiology.
3. Plan and track
Beyond eating well, you should take the off-season as a time to develop a systematic, sensible progression for next year. Training willy-nilly will get you only so far and it makes recovery difficult. Build a smart plan and your recovery will be consistent.
Build into your plan a consideration of your busy periods at work and the times when family or relationship demands might impact the amount of time you can spend training. You may need to choose races and plot key workouts based on their meshing with your other obligations.
While you’re at it, develop a good system for tracking both your training and your recovery. Make notes about how much you slept, how well you ate, your performance, and your mood. If things start to go wrong, you’ll have a log showing how your training and recovery were connected through the off season.
4. Connect with loved ones
The more you can connect with the people who matter to you, the more supportive they’ll be of your in-season training commitments. Remember that there is a life outside of triathlon. Live it.