French Linen

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Training in the off season

I've been getting a lot of questions about what I do in the off season. The best advice I read is that you should do what you feel like doing and so that is my prescribed plan, or lack thereof. After all, the off season is a chance to rejuvenate yourself both physically and mentally.

We've been having an unseasonably warm winter so that has meant many days of feeling like running and biking outdoors. I've been adding distance to my running, taking on a 5 mile hilly loop around my house. When I got a cold recently, I opted for walking rather than running and discovered a whole new perfectly distanced 5K loop from my house.

On December 31, Mike and I decided to do a 10 mile bike loop to the beach and back at our Martha's Vineyard house - a record for the latest bike ride in the year for us. On January 1, we set another record for earliest ride in the year and we were treated to a blue sky, sunny 47 degree day with blue, calm ocean views during our 18 mile ride.

Swimming has continued to be a focus of mine. I joined an adult swim group that my swim coach runs. I choose up to 2 nights a week and I'm sometimes joined by 1-2 others or have the benefit of a private lesson when no one shows up. After a warm up, we typically do technique drills that have definitely been making me a more efficient swimmer. Then, the sets focus on speed and/or endurance. It all seems to be paying off as I keep setting new speed records for myself and felt pretty good after swimming 2100 yards non stop one day (I set out to do one mile which is 1760 yards and was surprised after I looked at my lap watch how much I had miscounted!). My current personal bests are:
25 yards - :21 seconds
50 yards - :47.78 seconds
100 yards - 1:53
450 yards (.25 mile) - 9:58
1800 yards (1 mile) - 45:02

There is one problem with this "do what you feel like" plan - strength training doesn't make the list. So, I've had to force myself to do some of that but it has admittedly not been enough as another piece of advice that I read is that you really should do more of it now since it often gets squeezed out in season. So, I came up with a little game of sorts - I sum the digits in the date and do that many daily push ups and twice as many sit ups. So 1/1/12 = 13 push ups and 26 sit ups and 12/31/12 = 55 push ups and 110 sit ups.

This off season training plan has one big benefit - it's been great at fighting the wintertime blues. Dark early? Who cares, I'm off to the pool. Winter? I'm still in denial with these beach bike rides. And, I've discovered new streets in my neighborhood after living there for 14 years!

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